Laurier's positive and inclusive environment, upheld by a community of mentorship and support, leads to successful alumnus. Indigenous alumni share their courageous journey to finding a home away from home at Laurier.
Alicia Sayers is an Ojibwe, Odawa and Potowatomi from Garden River First Nation and an advocate for her community, youth, mental health as well as chronic and invisible illnesses. Alicia values her family and cultural teachings along with her intersectional perspective that continues to guide her life. These interests and values have encouraged an education and career path focused on relationships, issues management and other creative opportunities.
Alicia graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011 with honours in journalism and specializations in media studies and public relations. As a public relations professional currently working in the energy sector at Hydro One, Alicia focuses on media relations as well as social media. Hydro One is a publicly traded company that has approximately 8,600 employees serving nearly 1.4 million customers across Ontario. She supports several internal and employee-led initiatives, such as the Indigenous Network Circle and prior to this, held positions in Indigenous Relations as well as Community Relations and Transmission & Distribution Planning.
Her dad was a proud sheet metal worker, which gave Alicia insight into unions and what it provides to employers and employees. As a represented employee with the Society of United Professionals, Alicia took the opportunity to become more involved and serves as a union delegate and union representative on Hydro One’s Diversity Committee. More recently, Alicia completed a certificate in public relations through Ryerson University and has also served as a board member with the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, a Toronto-based organization offering services for Indigenous Peoples.
Originally from the East Coast, Ann Marie is a First Nation Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian. Relocating from Nova Scotia to Wilfrid Laurier University in September 2016 to complete her graduate studies in Community Psychology, Ann Marie found value in making connections with the Indigenous Student Centre.
Being completely new to this land, she credits the Indigenous Student Centre and staff for fostering a positive and inclusive environment that is influential for both her spiritual and academic life. Welcoming her with open arms, the Centre made it easy for Ann Marie to participate in cultural events that have helped her stay grounded. Knowing that there are people who care and are willing to support Ann Marie while away from home has provided her with the benefit of relieving the stress of coming to a new unknown place.
Ann Marie has received much nurturing by working in the medicine garden where she is connected to the land. She is continually learning how to navigate the two roads of Indigeneity and academia, while maintaining mutual respectful relationships in the centre and on campus. Ann Marie is grateful to the people who work at the Indigenous Student Centre for making her feel so welcome.
Originally from Wallaceburg, Ontario, Daniel Kennedy is Oneida from Oneida Nations of the Thames on his father’s side and Blackfoot from Piikani Nation on his mother’s side. Dan came to Laurier’s Waterloo campus for his undergraduate studies in 2008 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2013.
Dan credits his success at Laurier to the Indigenous Student Centre for helping guide him during his time at Laurier, and to Sociology Professor Richard Christy who mentored him throughout his undergraduate degree. Dan is currently working at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, working at the Institute of Indigenous Learning as the Aboriginal Community Outreach and Transitions Advisor. His continuing hard work and dedication to the Indigenous community aligns with his passion for education and his determination of helping light the spark for other Indigenous students to see the success and future a postsecondary education can offer.
Recently, Dan became the youngest recipient of the Ontario Native Education Counselling Association (ONECA)’s Counsellor of the Year Award. The award is given annually to a member of ONECA, for their contributions and work with Indigenous students across the province, from the elementary to postsecondary level. Dan looks towards returning to Laurier to pursue a Master of Social Work degree and coming ‘home’ to be a Golden Hawk once again.
Are you an Indigenous alumni looking to stay connected? Fill out our form and let us know! There are many opportunities to stay involved: We look forward to hearing from you!
Are you an Indigenous alumni looking to stay connected? Fill out our form and let us know! There are many opportunities to stay involved:
We look forward to hearing from you!
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