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The Critical Link

Telesat scholarship program aims to increase Indigenous diversity in STEM

Female and Male college students

Indigenous peoples have made foundational contributions toward the creation and development of Canada, yet less than two percent currently work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Their innovative spirit is valuable to these fields, so we must find ways to increase their ability to pursue STEM studies and training.

That’s why Telesat is proud to announce that applications are now being accepted for our annual Fellowship for Indigenous Youth program. Just like last year, we will award two Indigenous students with $5,000 scholarships, $15,000 stipends, and up to eight months of paid internships at one of Telesat’s cutting-edge facilities in Alberta, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, or Quebec. The application deadline for this year’s program is 1:00 pm ET, March 26, 2024.

We’re excited to introduce you to last year’s impressive Fellowship winners:

  • Landys Lepine is studying computing science in software at the University of Alberta. Growing up, Lepine didn’t think post-secondary studies would be possible given her family’s financial constraints. That’s why she felt that if the opportunity arose to attend university, it would be her “responsibility to choose a field that challenges me and provides opportunities.” She said that STEM studies captured her interest, and especially the satisfaction gained from successfully solving problems.

In her spare time, Lepine is following a passion in music by writing songs, playing guitar and piano, participating in musical theatre, and volunteering at a local jazz venue.

  • Shaylene Abrey-Webster is studying aerospace engineering at Toronto Metropolitan University. “My decision to pursue this field was influenced by the fact that there are so few Indigenous people in engineering. As engineers, we serve all of society, and there is a strong need for diversity to represent all groups within Canada and North America.”

Abrey-Webster’s passion for this field permeates into her extracurricular activities such as student groups that organize events related to aerospace engineering, as well as her participation in race car design competitions.

Scholarship Partners Canada (SPC), a division of Universities Canada, administers our Fellowship program. They will select a committee of Canadian university representatives and an Indigenous-led application review committee.

In addition to the Fellowship program, Telesat works closely with Indigenous internet service provider (ISP) partners, who help us connect households with internet, telephony and critical government services, as well as cellular mobile services. We facilitate training on the deployment, operations and maintenance of these networks to ensure that our Indigenous partners develop the skill sets required to operate and maintain their satellite community infrastructure. This training creates valued skills and local jobs, and improves the overall quality of service in the community.

Telesat is proud of its Canadian heritage and efforts to connect underserved communities across this country. We believe the Indigenous Fellowship Program and our ongoing training programs have multiple benefits for Indigenous individuals, Canada’s long-term economic growth prospects, and the space industry for the years to come.

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