Congratulations to Joe for recently receiving the Pre-Medicine Award for Aboriginal Students from the University of Saskatchewan. This award is valued at $3500 and is based on possessing a strong academic standing. We love to see our former students excelling and working towards their dreams!
Joseph is a member of Yellow Quill First Nation. When he was 18 years old he had the opportunity to volunteer at an orphanage in Mexico. This lead to several extended volunteering periods that lasted the better part of 5 years and developed a passion for helping others. Joseph said, “In 2013, I became a father and I decided it was time to complete my education and follow my dream so I began my journey with Cumberland College.”
Joseph enrolled in the Adult Basic Education program fall of 2014 and graduated with a high school diploma in May 2015. His dedication to his studies contributed to the highest academic standing in his class, the Adult Basic Education Achievement Award and acceptance into Pre-Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Joseph did all of this while raising a young family and commuting one hour daily from his home on Yellow Quill First Nation to Tisdale.
In September 2016 Joseph embarked in his first year of university studies at Cumberland College taking classes on both Tisdale and Melfort campuses. Joseph said, “I chose Cumberland College because of the convenience of starting my first year of University at the U of S without having to move to Saskatoon right away.” Joseph’s plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology and then continue to his ultimate goal of entering the College of Medicine to become a physician. Joseph says, “My career goal is to work with disenfranchised Aboriginal communities or environments where the presence of a doctor from a familiar culture is rarely seen and most required. While I will not turn away any patient, there is a definite need for a strong health strategy among First Nations communities because issues are rapidly increasing due to detrimental health problems.”
Joseph said his experience at Cumberland was positive because of the smaller class sizes and friendly staff. “I believe the relaxed yet professional environment is conducive to increased academic success. The expertise of the advisors and support staff always comes to mind first.” He also credits Cumberland’s scholarship program to helping him and his family throughout the two years there. Joseph received a $2000 Alex Prytula Entrance Scholarship to use toward his university tuition.
“Your choice to finish school is yours to see through to the end. Not only do you need to believe yourself, you also need to be able to humble yourself and be ready to accept change. You are responsible for your endeavours and, as such, you will forever deserve the reward you seek should you choose to accept your own choices,” advises Joseph.
In May 2016, Joseph relocated, with his family, to Saskatoon to begin summer classes and complete the rest of his degree. Today Joe is well into his third year of Physiology and Pharmacology. He and his partner Jocelyn are Peer Mentors in the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program where they facilitate weekly sessions for first year Aboriginal students. Joseph is a shining example of quality students who will continue to make a difference in our province. We are confident that one day Joseph's story will be updated to include the tile of Doctor.
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