When she was in grade 10, Amayra Wilson found herself traveling 184 km from her home community, Peguis First Nation, to start a new life.
“It is hard not being around your own people. I had my mom but it is like I don’t have my sibling, my father, my grandfathers, my close friends,” shares Wilson.
As challenging as it was to move and get comfortable in a new community and new school, Wilson almost made it look easy.
The 17 year old is focused, optimistic and extremely driven.
“My mom is a really big part of it. She really motivates me and pushes me to do better and definitely my friends back home. They are super smart and they don’t have the opportunities to come here, live here and go to school here.”
At the encouragement of one of the Pembina Trails Indigenous Student Success teachers, Wilson wrote a moving essay and applied for the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Program. The foundation aims to increasing the number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students graduating from science and engineering programs in Canada. Wilson’s journey and work ethic stood out among a sea of applicants and she was awarded an all expenses paid opportunity of a lifetime to spend a week at the University of Ottawa.
“I said, this better be legit because my mom made a Facebook post about it. It is out there. It got five shares and the Chief liked it. This better be legit. The person on the other line said yes, this is legit. You are fully funded and going to Ottawa,” she recounts with a smile.
In May, Wilson will be traveling to the University of Ottawa where she will be working alongside Dr. Paul Mayer in the Department of Chemistry. An experience she has earned, an experience she hopes will help shape her bright future.
On behalf of our Board of Trustees and Senior Administration, we would like to congratulate Amayra Wilson.