Janine Gladue on verge of obtaining a major educational achievement
By Sam Laskaris
She’s almost there.
Janine Gladue, a 32-year-old member of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, is close to finishing off all the requirements necessary to earn her university degree.
Gladue is in her final year of studies of the four-year business management program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). She’s expected to graduate in May of this year.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Gladue, one of seven children that her mother had. “I’ll be the first one in my family to get a university degree.”
And for the second year in a row, Gladue is part of another prestigious group. She’s one of eight recipients of the Indigenous Scholarship Program.
The program is a joint initiative between the CIBC and the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund, which is Cando’s charitable organization.
The Indigenous Scholarship Program is a four-year venture, which was launched in 2019 and continues until 2022.
Each year Indigenous post-secondary students from across Canada are invited to apply for the scholarship money. A total of $44,000 is awarded each year.
Eight recipients split a share of the funding available, being awarded scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.
For the second straight year, the amount that Gladue was awarded was $5,000.
“I was shocked and felt overwhelmed by the generosity I received,” she said.
The fact she will soon be a university graduate proves just how far Gladue has come in recent years.
She had dropped out of high school when she was 16. At the time she was in Grade 10.
After she left school Gladue worked in the food industry and also held down other jobs such as providing childcare and doing manual labour.
But she was looking for a change. And that change involved upgrading her education by returning to the classroom.
“That was a goal to go back and finish high school,” she said.
After completing the requirements to earn her high school equivalency program, Gladue was then able to seek admittance into NAIT’s business administration program.
Gladue lives in the municipality of Sputinow. But she didn’t have to move to Edmonton, about 260 kilometres away, in order to attend NAIT.
That’s because her NAIT business administration program was offered through the Portage College campus in Cold Lake, which is located about an hour’s drive from her home.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there were moments when Gladue was taking her courses remotely.
“I prefer in-person classes because I don't spend much time online interacting with people and I struggle with picking up on social cues that are often missed in online classes,” she said. “I found that I misunderstood people and certain situations. It's easier to understand my classmates when we are face to face. There's more personal interaction and I can be easily distracted at home.”
Gladue is planning to continue being a student after earning her university degree this year.
“I'm interested in pursuing my education further by obtaining a diploma in Business Administration Accounting,” she said.