Six university students from Prince Rupert were awarded the Irving K Barber Aboriginal Student Scholarships for 2017. The scholarship funds students across B.C. who are in their undergrad, trades or apprenticeships, masters or doctoral studies or earning their teaching degree.
“Having Barber foundation support me through my PhD has made my life so much easier and taken so much stress off the whole experience of working on a PhD,” said Jessie King, who is working on her dissertation at UNBC. “It gave me that freedom that I was still able to go to school, but also have a family and not have to make those hard financial choices and sacrifices.”
Jessie King, whose traditional name is Hadiksm Gaax of Gitxaała, Tsimshian, was first awarded the scholarship in 2012. The Rupertite has been granted funds for the last five years as she pursues her PhD in health sciences.
King’s work looks at how “current identity theory doesn’t really reflect the First Nations experience of identity because we have so many factors that come into play,” King said. “You have the legal factor of identity, which is the only one that exists in the world. There is no other country that actually determines the identity for a group of people.”
The award, she said, makes a huge difference.
“Every time I go to an Indigenous community gathering, I’m always telling people to apply for it and get their name in there. It’s neat because I see more and more names that I recognize being sponsored,” King said.
Before Irving K. Barber passed away several years ago, he visited UNBC campus, where King thanked him personally for the support.
“When I look over that list it’s so nice to see familiar names and see how well everyone is doing and how far Barber’s legacy goes,” King said.
Out of one hundred students, four undergraduates and two masters students from Prince Rupert received awards for 2017. They include Kristen Helin at the BC Institute of Technology, Judy Carlick-Pearson at Royal Roads University, Aaron Grant at the University of Northern BC (UNBC), Jaime Stephens at Vancouver Island University, Spencer Greening at UNBC and Jessie King at UNBC.