Indigenous accounting student named recipient of national scholarship

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Writer

Ethan CoeEthan Coe admits he wasn’t much of a numbers guy during some of his teen years.

But Coe, who grew up in Wawa, Ont. and is a member of Odanak, an Abenaki First Nation in central Quebec, certainly has a passion for accounting now.

Earlier this year Coe, who is 20, graduated with a business accounting diploma from Sault College, located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

He’s furthering his education now as he’s attending Algoma University for business accounting. Algoma University is also in Sault Ste. Marie, where Coe now lives with his father.

Coe aspires to eventually become a certified accountant.

“At first I wasn’t interested in accounting,” he said. “During high school there was an accounting class that I took and I really enjoyed it.”

Coe’s introduction to accounting was via a Grade 11 course. He also took a Grade 12 accounting class the following year.

And then he moved to Sault Ste. Marie to live with his father Sean and attend Sault College.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coe took all of his college classes online.

“It was much more easier for me,” he said. “I just find it better (to learn remotely).”

Coe added it did take some time for him to adjust to remote learning.

“I have had to rework how to learn and maintain focus during this time but have persevered throughout and maintained a good GPA,” he said.

Though he had the option to attend in-person classes at Algoma this year, Coe opted to continue with virtual learning.

His academic efforts have been rewarded as he was chosen as one of the six recipients this year for a National Indigenous Economic Education Foundation (NIEEF) scholarship.

Each winner received a $3,000 prize.

The scholarships were presented by the foundation, which is the charitable arm of Cando, the national organization which promotes economic development in Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

The scholarships were available to students with Indigenous ancestry that are currently enrolled full-time at a post-secondary school in the country.

Also, scholarship applicants must be studying in a certain field, including business administration/economics, business finance, business management, natural resources or community economic development.

Coe said his scholarship money will go towards his tuition and the purchasing of books. His tuition fees are about $3,000 per semester. And it cost him about $600 (U.S.) to buy the required textbooks he needed for his first semester this academic year.

Coe added his Algoma University textbooks are all online and have to be purchased through an American website.

Coe also has some advice for those students who are seeking financial assistance at the post-secondary levels.

“I heard in high school that a lot of scholarships went unclaimed and I didn’t believe it,” he said.

Besides his NIEFF scholarship, Coe received three others this year.

“There’s a lot of scholarships that do go untouched,” he said. “There’s multiple websites you can go to and find different scholarships. And the school has been a big help as well in finding them.”

Besides becoming a certified accountant, Coe is also thinking of teaching his passion to others.

“I’m interested in teaching students how to do basic accounting,” he said.