Métis student returns to post-secondary studies following lengthy pause
By Sam Laskaris
A decade after beginning her post-secondary career, Brandi Delaine once again finds herself in school pursuing her university degree.
Delaine, who is Metis, had commenced business administration classes at the University of Winnipeg back in 2011.
But after one year of studies, Delaine did not have the financial needs necessary to continue with her program.
“I didn’t qualify for funding or student aid,” she said.
As a result, Delaine entered the workforce. Up until 2017 she was employed working with special needs adults.
But an incident in which she was run over by a truck that year forced her into a lengthy rehabilitation process.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when trying to determine what exactly she wanted to do with her life, Delaine made the decision to return to school.
Since she was in a position to afford to do so, she started taking business administration classes again in January of 2021. And she is now scheduled to graduate from her three-year program in April of 2023.
Besides enjoying her return to school, Delaine is also ecstatic that she is one of the eight recent recipients of the Indigenous Scholarship Program.
The CIBC and the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund, Cando’s charitable organization, teamed up to provide the scholarship program from 2019 through 2022. A total of $44,000 in scholarship money is available each year through this initiative.
Delaine received a $5,000 scholarship.
“That helped me tremendously,” she said. “It meant I didn’t have to look for a full-time job while going to school.”
Delaine does currently have a casual job, however, working eight hours per week, at a Winnipeg warming shelter. She works with homeless people, connecting them with various resources they can take advantage of.
Recipients of the Indigenous Scholarship Program are eligible to receive funding over multiple years. Five of the recent recipients had also received the scholarship a year ago.
Delaine though is a first-time recipient. Not only speaking for herself, but the 28-year-old said all scholarships received by post-secondary students are beneficial.
“It means you can focus on your education and ensuring you can put your best effort forth,” she said.
Though she still has more than a year remaining before she earns her university degree, Delaine knows what she wants to do upon her graduation.
Ideally, she wants to help one of her friends, Dr. Samantha Bray, who is a veterinarian, open her own clinic.
“I would run more of the business side of things,” Delaine said. “I want to do all the behind-the-scenes work. That’s my biggest aspiration.”
Like Delaine, Bray is also Indigenous as she’s a member of Stellat'en First Nation in British Columbia.
Delaine said the duo would ideally like to open a veterinary in Winnipeg that would cater to Indigenous people and their pets.
“That’s the goal I have right now,” Delaine said.