Inspiring Success: NIEEF CIBC - Quintin Helm

Indigenous student thrilled with scholarship but disappointed about online learning

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Quintin HelmQuintin Helm is having some mixed reactions about his first year of university life.

The 18-year-old, who lives in the Alberta town of Okotoks, is studying finance at the University of Calgary.

But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Helm, a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, is forced to take all of his classes virtually for now.

Quintin Helm is a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta.

“You hear about how different and fun university can be and I’m just not experiencing that with online classes,” he said.

Though he is not getting the full experience of university life by studying remotely, Helm does like his post-secondary program.

“I am enjoying the classes that I am taking and I somewhat take joy from getting one year closer to starting the rest of my life,” he said.

Helm is also pleased that he is one of the eight recipients this year of the Indigenous Scholarship Program, which is delivered by Indspire, the national organization that raises money and offers various programming for Indigenous people throughout Canada.

A total of $44,000 was offered through the Indigenous Scholarship Program this year. Helm’s share was $2,000.

Funding for the scholarship is via a partnership between Cando’s charitable organization, the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund, and the CIBC.

“This scholarship really meant a lot because it would take more than two months working my minimum wage, part-time job at a carwash to make that much to put towards my education,” Helm said.

He added he did indeed put his scholarship funds towards his schooling.

“I used this money to help pay tuition for my second semester,” he said.

Though he would prefer to be taking classes in person, Helm said there is a small blessing in learning remotely.

“I was planning on staying at home for this first year and that hasn’t changed with online,” he said. “If anything online has saved me a lot of money on transportation to and from the university every day.”

Okotoks is about 50 kilometres south of Calgary.

Helm said it was only natural for him to enroll in the university’s finance program.

“I am taking finance because all my life I have been very good with numbers,” he said. “Math and science have always been my strong suits but I also like the social aspect and reliability of money.”

Helm also believes earning a degree in his program will prove to be beneficial in his adult life.

“I don’t think that I will have a problem finding a job after school and that is a major part of why I chose finance,” he said.

Helm has an inkling of what direction he wants his life to take.

“I am looking for a career as a financial analyst but I haven’t decided if I want to do personal finance or corporate,” he said.

He’s also hoping to land an internship, or possibly even a full-time position in the industry, as early as this summer.

Until then, he’ll continue to seek other opportunities of garnering some financial support.

“I am always hoping for more scholarships and I want my grades to depict that so I am working hard on my studies,” he said.