About the Program

The Program

The I-STEAM Pathways Environmental Education and Research Program for Indigenous undergraduate students is an experiential learning program. 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.

The program provides opportunities for Indigenous undergraduate students to participate in post-secondary environmental research and education, explore career possibilities in environment-related fields, and provides a pathway to graduate studies in environmentally-related disciplines.

The 2024 Summer Internship program began on May 1st, 2024 and we were delighted to welcome a new cohort of 18 excited students!

Applications for the 2025 summer internship program will open in December 2024.

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.


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.

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.

Watch the video of the 2022 program here.  See the 2022 Indigenous interns’ poster presentations here.

The program relies on the generosity of public and private donors to support Indigenous interns and scale up the program.  Learn more about how you can support the program, or contact us directly.

Community Engagement

Our program development process and approach was supported by Paul First Nation Industrial Relations Corporation (PFN IRC) represented by Raymond Cardinal, environmental assessment and risk management expert who served as Indigenous Expert and liaison person on their behalf, and the support and blessing of the late Elder Lloyd Saulteaux. All have our deep gratitude.

The Team

Situated within the Indigenous Initiatives program at the University of Alberta, the cross-disciplinary I-STEAM Pathways program is Indigenous Co- led by researchers and experts from across the University of Alberta,  and housed in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. The team comprises:

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