Local student earns prestigious scholarship

A student from Midwestern Ontario is one of six Indigenous learners awarded $10,000 toward their education as part of the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship (JWBMS) program.

Queen’s University Computer Engineering student Oliver Kramer is from the Chippewas of Nawash.

“Education and sport allow me to give back, through tutoring and mentoring,” said Kramer. “This provides me the opportunity to share the strong work ethic that is key to my own pursuits. This scholarship will help me further pursue my goals.”

The scholarship program was established in 1995 and is named after notable engineer and extraordinary leader, John Wesley Beaver. Before joining OPG’s predecessor company in 1949 as a junior engineer, Beaver was a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain and Chief of Alderville First Nation. First Nations (status or non-status), Inuit or Métis students are eligible for the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship. In 2021, OPG partnered with Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards Program, to expand the JWBMS to allow for twenty $10,000 scholarships over three years.

“As Minister of Indigenous Affairs, I’d like to congratulate these outstanding students for their work that led them to being the honorary recipients of this year’s John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship program,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs & Minister of Northern Development. “Every time a student is empowered to further their education, we are ensuring that our province stands on sound footing in terms of leadership and prosperity, both economically and socially.”

“As Minister of Energy, I’d like to congratulate the six students receiving the award this year; this is a major accomplishment,” said Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy. “I look forward to seeing all that you accomplish, as you continue to advance your education while serving as a leader in your communities.”

Other scholarships awarded this round were:

-Robyn Gray, a Lambton College Office Administration student from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation;
-Jordon Jensen, a George Brown College Computer Programmer Analyst student from the Chippewas of Rama First Nation;
-William Partridge, a Lambton College Chemical Engineering student from the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte;
-Jordan St. Amand, a University of Western Ontario Civil Engineering student from the Métis Nation of Ontario; and,
-Justin Thompson, a York University – Osgoode Hall Law School Juris Doctor student from the Nipissing First Nation.

“Being a voice for my community and having the ability to advocate is a key focus for me,” said Robyn Gray. “Using the proceeds of this scholarship to help continue my formal education will allow me to serve my community in a role aimed at streamlining processes to increase productivity in a variety of settings.”

“What I’m learning in school is allowing me opportunities to give back to my community,” said Jordon Jensen. “I am working to develop apps aimed at amplifying Indigenous voices and harm reduction. This scholarship allows me to focus on increasing my skills which I can then apply to helping others.”

“Continuing my education has allowed me to join the Lambton College Indigenous Student Centre,” said William Partridge. “This has given me many opportunities for growth, including serving for a time as Indigenous Student Council vice-president. This scholarship allows me to continue to focus on this growth and learning.”

“University has provided me the opportunity to help build community by organizing study sessions with my classmates,” said Jordan St. Amand. “Studying together has allowed us to get through some of the more challenging material, through shared knowledge. This scholarship will allow me to continue to focus on my studies and community-building.”

“My goal is to inspire Indigenous youth in my community and use my education to guide those in need of assistance,” said Justin Thompson. “I want to use my skills to build up my own community and close the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous aspects of society. The John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship provides funding to help me meet those goals.”

“Congratulations to these exemplary students and future leaders on receiving this scholarship,” said Jennifer Tidmarsh, OPG Vice President, Indigenous Relations. “OPG’s Reconciliation Action Plan outlines concrete actions to help build a better future. This scholarship is one of the ways we are putting words into action while also honouring the legacy of a great man and former employee.”

“We are pleased to continue this productive partnership with OPG,” said Mike DeGagné, President and CEO of Indspire. “Not only does the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship remove barriers to Indigenous success, it also creates significant opportunities for Indigenous students who are committed to changing the landscape in Canada through positive action. We commend these students who are working to achieve greater change in their communities.”

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