Inspiring Success: NIEEF CIBC - Alexis Duke

Duke has hopes of earning university degree after getting business administration diploma

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Alexis Duke
Alexis Duke is facing numerous challenges.

But Duke, a 26-year-old member of Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan, continues to move forward with her education.

Duke is in her second and final year of the business administration program at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, located in Regina.

Besides being in the home stretch of earning her diploma, Duke also received some welcome news recently.

It was announced that she is one of the eight recipients this year of the Indigenous Scholarship Program, offered through Indspire.

Duke was awarded $2,000.

“It helps a lot because I’m a single mom,” she said.

Indspire is the national organization that raises money and delivers various programs for Indigenous people throughout Canada.

A total of $44,000 was available through the Indigenous Scholarship Program this year.

Funding for the scholarship program was made available through a partnership between the CIBC and Cando’s charitable organization, the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund.

Duke was pleased to hear she was a scholarship recipient, adding any financial assistance is welcome.

“I have car payments and I have other payments,” she said. “And I don’t have a lot of support.”

Duke is forging ahead with her post-secondary career during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created additional obstacles.

Unlike the majority of other post-secondary schools which have only offered virtual classes during the 2020-21 year, the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies remained open and offered in-person classes during September and portions of October.

After that, however, Duke and other students at the school have been forced to continue their courses online.

“I’d rather be taking classes in person,” Duke said. “It helps me focus better. At home I have a four-year-old that continually wants my attention.”

Duke added she has to manage her time effectively, such as doing parts of her schoolwork when her son is napping.

Duke said she was waiting to hear the news from an announcement that was expected in late January on whether her school would be reopening for the rest of the semester.

Her preference would be to sit in a classroom while learning as opposed to doing so at home.

“I’m hoping I do get to go back,” she said.

Duke is also planning to return to school in the fall. She would continue to live in her hometown though as she is hoping to attend the University of Regina to continue her business administration studies.

If she does get accepted into the university program, Duke would require two more years of education in order to earn a business administration degree.

Duke is not quite sure what type of job her schooling will lead to.

But she is especially enjoying her accounting and human resources courses as well as her marketing class.

Duke added if she does enroll at the University of Regina, she could potentially decide to major in accounting.