Indigenous summer camp alumni now SFU students
By Diane Mar-Nicolle
Alex Krilow and Ian Luckman have each spent past summers attending SFU’s Academic Summer Camp for Aboriginal Students held every July at the Burnaby campus.
This September, both will enter SFU as undergraduates.
The camp is one of several initiatives created by mathematics professor Veselin Jungic in support of Indigenous student success. Amongst Jungic’s innovative teaching methods is the Math Catcher program and the creation of animated films that introduce mathematical concepts through stories that follow Aboriginal storytelling formats.
The camp gives students in Grades 9 – 11 accelerated math and English instruction to prepare them for the coming high school year. The camp also serves as an introduction to the university environment and the services available to Indigenous students at SFU.
Krilow and Luckman each leveraged their camp experience to help them successfully apply for admission to SFU and receive Aboriginal Entrance Awards worth $2,500 each.
Krilow, who is of Metis ancestry, was always interested in pursuing post-secondary education but wasn’t sure which school and program would best fit her.
“Through attending a variety of different workshops and presentations at camp, I learned about so many areas of study that I would have never considered for myself,” she says.
Krilow was also drawn by the support system that SFU offers Indigenous students.
“I was introduced to many staff members who were there to ensure my transition to university would be smooth and was provided with information about the financial aid opportunities SFU offers for Aboriginal undergraduates.”
Jungic is thrilled that the scholarship will enable Krilow and Luckman to attend SFU this fall.
“Alex attended the camp for three years and I’ve always been impressed with her maturity and participation,” he says.
Krilow will begin her degree as a communications major and business minor this fall. Her ultimate goal is to find a career in public relations and social media marketing.
Ian Luckman graduated from Samuel Robertson Technical School in Maple Ridge and is entering the Faculty of Applied Sciences in engineering this fall.
Like Krilow, Luckman first learned about the camp from his high school Aboriginal support teacher. He acknowledges that being on campus for a month made him feel comfortable choosing SFU.
“It won’t be so new and big come September,” he says.
Luckman is of Ojibway ancestry and is excited to meet fellow engineering students who, he hopes, will like science as much as he does.
Jungic predicts Luckman will fit in well in the faculty.
“I remember his unique combination of youthfulness and eagerness in fully grasping whatever the topic of the discussion was," he says. "Ian always had a question."
In addition to academic instruction, camp participants are also treated to athletic, arts and cultural activities.
Jungic estimates more than 125 students have attended the camp since its inauguration in 2014 and he’s hoping that there will be several more future SFU students amongst its participants.