In March of 2016, Animikii’s close partner organization, First Nations Technology Council (FNTC), announced its new province-wide initiative to increase Indigenous participation in the technology sector, called Bridging to Technology (Bridging).
This innovative program combines classroom learning with experiential learning opportunities for Indigenous students; it provides students with mentorship opportunities and support during and after completion of the course. The Bridging program also allows students to explore a variety of technology-focused career opportunities.
Animikii has been a proud partner of this program since its inception; we continue to support the program by acting as program advisors for FNTC, and our CEO, Jeff Ward, will also provide mentorship to Bridging students as they advance through their learning (you can read more about Animikii’s involvement with Bridging here). Beyond this in-kind support, Animikii wanted to find a way to directly show its commitment to the Bridging program and to its students; to this end, Animikii has provided both Bridging students in the first cohort with a $250 bursary.
Bursaries for Bridging Students
We know that education and technology are key equalizers in our society and in order to ensure that Indigenous youth have the opportunity to explore technology as a career, organizations like ours need to support Indigenous students. That’s why Animikii decided to provide bursaries to the first Bridging to Technology students.
It’s important for us as an Indigenous technology company to ensure that Indigenous youth continue to engage with technology in positive ways; it’s about supporting their goals and opening up opportunities for youth in our Communities - but in a practical sense for Animikii, it’s also about growing the pipeline of talented Indigenous designers and developers who might one day choose to work with us.
On October 3rd, 2016, the first Bridging to Technology cohort began its first classes in the program. That same day, Animikii notified both students in this first cohort that they had received a $250 bursary from Animikii to be used for any cost of living or cost of studying expenses they incurred in relation to the Bridging program.
Animikii hopes the symbol of investment shows these Bridging students that Animikii is behind them and here to support them as they expand their technological education.
Meet the Students
There are two students studying in this first Bridging cohort: Lydia Prince and Gabe Archie.
Lydia Prince identifies as Dak’elh/Cree; her family is from Binche Keyoh and she grew up in Fort St. James, BC. Lydia has a background in graphic design; she graduated with her Bachelor’s of Design degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary and has worked as a freelance graphic designer. Through the Bridging to Technology program, Lydia hopes to gain the coding and web development skills she feels like she needs to remain competitive as a graphic designer, but also to explore the opportunities available in the programming space. In her future career, Lydia hopes to use her skills to help youth in more remote, Indigenous Communities harness technology as a way of feeling more connected to communities across Canada and around the world.
Gabe Archie is Tsq'escenemc from Canim Lake, BC. He has always been interested in computers and looks forward to building up his network of Indigenous technologists in the Bridging program. He’s excited to meet, not only his new cohort-mates, but also instructors and mentors from the technology industry. Gabe has a background in filmmaking and has two certificates in filmmaking, one from New York Digital Film Academy and another from Capilano University. In his future career he hopes to explore programming and potentially work on app development - especially for projects like Indigenous language revitalization applications.
Article published October 18, 2016.