The I-STEAM Pathways Environmental Education Program for Indigenous Students at the University of Alberta is an experiential learning program providing opportunities for Indigenous undergraduate students to participate in post-secondary environmental research and education. As a cross-disciplinary program it enables First Nations, Métis and Inuit students to gain research experience in a variety of environmental fields including science, environmental engineering, environmental law and policy.
Applications for the 2023 summer internship program open 12 December 2022.
Successful applicants become part of a fully-paid Summer Internship cohort that works closely with leading environmental experts and researchers from the University of Alberta. Every student participates in non-credit interdisciplinary seminars and completes a hands-on research project.
In 2022, 16 Indigenous interns were fully-funded for four Summer months of exciting and innovative research experiences. Their research projects included clean energy transition and remote Indigenous communities, improving monitoring tools to detect mountain pine beetle at low densities in novel habitats and the influence of beaver dams on downstream methylmercury delivery in the Dehcho, Northwest Territories.
The 2020 inaugural Internship program saw 13 Indigenous students enrolled into 11 research projects 10-16 weeks in duration, under the supervision of 11 of the University’s top researchers. The projects spanned a wide range of subject matter from Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology Professor Debra Davidson’s work on monitoring the social and environmental impacts of resource extraction in the North, to Engineering Professor Michael Lipsett’s development of amphibious robots to conduct environmental monitoring, and Earth and Atmospheric Science Professor Tara McGee’s investigation of the impacts of wildfire smoke on Indigenous communities.
The following year saw 54 applications received, and 20 Indigenous students enrolled in 19 research projects, again covering a wide range of subject matter, from pollinator bees to effect of tree host and population phase on dispersal of mountain pine beetles and developing air quality monitoring devices for remote and reserve communities.
Our program development process and approach included engagement with Paul First Nation Industrial Relations Corporation (PFN IRC) represented by Raymond Cardinal, subject matter expert who served as Indigenous Expert and liaison person on their behalf.
The multi-disciplinary I-STEAM Pathways team comprises Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and experts from three University of Alberta Faculties:
- Dr. Makere Stewart-Harawira, Indigenous, Environmental and Global Studies, Faculty of Education
- Jessica Vandenberghe, Industry Professor – Indigenous Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
- Dr. Greg Goss, Professor, Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science