By Aiman Altaf
Finding STEM opportunities can often be difficult, so we have compiled a list of internships, mentorship programs, jobs, and general organizations to help Indigenous youth in high school or university find STEM opportunities.
The International Aboriginal Youth Internships (IAYI) Initiative
The initiative offers a wide variety of internships that allow you to gain experience in many different sectors, including STEM, law, and environment. There are many different countries you can travel to as part of the program and the focus is on international development. Internships last a minimum of 3 months, and in order to qualify, you must be a Canadian youth between the ages of 18 and 35 and have a secondary school diploma or equivalent certification.
The Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada)
This is a one-week long, intensive workshop that helps train undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral students, and community fellows, in topics including genomics, bioinformatics, and Indegenous and decolonial bioethics. This residential program has all expenses paid for.
To learn more, visit: https://indigenoussts.com/sing-canada/
Research Affiliate Program
The Government of Canada allows you to conduct research associated with the government, which allows you to gain experience with a federal department or agency. The research is conducted through the Research Affiliate Program, and you get paid as if it were a part-time job.
MentorStep (see below under Mentorship)
Indigenous Student Employment Opportunity with Government of Canada
The Government of Canada has several part-time jobs available, which are excellent opportunities for support, training, and networking. You can see their offerings at: https://emploisfp-psjobs.cfp-psc.gc.ca/srs-sre/page01.htm?poster=1&lang=en
IMPulse Mentorship Program
Developed for Indigenous high school students, this program provides students with mentors from the University of British Columbia to help them better transition from secondary school to university. STEM Fellowship is one of the collaborators assisting to run this program. You can fill out the registration form on their website to receive a mentor.
This organization is specifically for Indigenous women and girls at the University of Saskatchewan and regional high schools in the Saskatoon Tribal Council, who are interested in “science, technology, engineering, math and related business, health, and environmental studies”. Students are paired with mentors and get opportunities for shared learning and summer research internships.
For more information, visit: https://vpresearch.usask.ca/students/undergraduate/mentorstep/mentorstep.php
AISES (see below under Organizations)
IndigeSTEAM (see below under Organizations)
This is an organization that offers many pre-college and college opportunities, and also has an annual Canada National Gathering where Indigenous STEM students and professors can connect. There are many possible ways you could get involved with this organization.
You can become an AISES member to stay connected with opportunities. For more information, visit: https://www.aises.org/membership/caises
Aside from membership, AISES also offers a Full-Circle Mentorship program, where college and professional members are paired one-on-one with an academic and career mentor. For more information, visit https://forms.aises.org/full-circle.
You can apply for scholarships here: https://www.aises.org/students/scholarships
There are many internships available. Some popular ones include:
- BMM Test Labs Internship: you will assist test engineers in Las Vegas, NV, in the field of game development
- Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Internships: positions are available in BPA’s Transmission Services and also BPA’s Fish & Wildlife Program
- USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory Internship: this is a virtual internship for undergraduate students “with a civil, structural, transportation, or mechanical ENGINEERING-focused background”
- Aristocrat/VGT Internship: a summer internship program to prepare for the workplace transition
- For more, visit https://www.aises.org/students/internships
- Some of the pre-college programs offered include science fairs, school programs, and more. For more information, visit https://www.aises.org/students/pre-college.
You can also form a post-secondary AISES chapter at your university. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
There are also a variety of college programs offered, including the scholarships, internships, and mentorship opportunities mentioned above, but also many more programs that you can find at https://www.aises.org/students/college.
This organization offers many opportunities for STEM education for Indigenous Youth. It includes Power to Choose, which is a free virtual robotics camp for Southern Alberta residents. All materials for the camp are provided for free. https://www.indigesteam.ca/IndigeSTEAM/power-to-choose_registration.
You can also volunteer to help facilitate the camp, through https://www.indigesteam.ca/IndigeSTEAM/Volunteers.
IndigeSTEAM also offers a program called the Global Association for Indigeneering Alliance (GAIA), which connects youth with STEM professionals who act as mentors. If you are interested in getting a mentor, visit https://www.indigesteam.ca/IndigeSTEAM/Gaia.
To learn more about other opportunities offered by IndigeSTEAM, visit: https://www.indigesteam.ca/