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Mentor FAQs

VJKF Student looking through a microscope with professor looking on. In the background are three other mentors and a student working.Who we are:

The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation Program addresses the under-representation of First Nations, M├ętis, and Inuit students at Canadian universities. One of the factors contributing to this is the lack of academic role models for these students. The Foundation addresses this by offering scholarships to Indigenous students in grades 11 and 12 to spend a week at a Canadian university interacting and learning with professors and their teams. During their week on campus students have the opportunity to meet role models, learn about the support systems that are available to them on campus, and experience the excitement of doing research. The VJKF Program develops motivated role models who foster the importance of graduating from high school and obtaining a postsecondary education.

2024 Program Delivery:

The VJKF Program will be in-person. 

Who are VJKF Mentors?

Mentors of our program are university professors that work at one of our partner universities and are interested in seeing more Indigenous students studying STEM programs at the post-secondary level. If you are a university professor (or Dean) at a university and are interested in becoming one of our partners, please contact our Program Director, Morgan Laboucan to find out more. 

How large of a group of students could I have? 

At most you could have 3 students. Our goal is to have a 2:1 student, mentor ratio. This allows both the mentor and student the ability to get to know each other, learn and understand the material, ask questions easier, etc. 

Will it be just me working with my group of students or can I have my team participate as well?

Your team is more than welcome to help! Oftentimes our mentors will have 2-10 people helping with their labs, working with the students on their projects, doing a different experiment, etc. 

If you will have a team participating please let our Program Director, Morgan Laboucan know so we can keep track of who to send thank you’s to. 

Class/Lab Content:

We are hoping to engage our students and drive interest in STEM programs at university. We hope professors can share an area of science, technology, engineering or math that will drive students’ interest.

Experiments, projects, field work. If your area of study is better understood by taking a trip to a site in the area, we can have your students fill out a permission form before arriving which could grant permission to take the students off campus to learn about and experience ‘X’.

How many hours do we need to fill?

Students would be in labs/class with mentors on the Monday afternoon (after lunch), then all-day Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning (up until lunch) of their program week. They will have a boxed lunch they will bring with them each day.

What we need from Mentors to get started:

If your university is hosting an in-person program this year and you are not already involved but are wanting to be, please send an email outlining:

  • Your university, Dean, Faculty, Department

  • Area of study

  • Bio on yourself

You can send the email to our Program Director ( or call our office for more information.

Program Video


The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation logo

To increase the number of Indigenous students graduating from pure and applied science, engineering, and mathematics programs in Canada. Charity Registration #822843629 RR 0001

Picture of student in a lab with a microscope behind them.

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