New engineering fellowship at Queen’s to support Black, Indigenous advancement

Kingstonist file photo

Queen’s University is one of six in Ontario that have partnered to create a new academic fellowship. Its aim is to expand the pathways for Indigenous and Black students pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering to prepare for careers as professors and industry researchers.

Announced Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowships address what Queen’s has described as an urgent need to encourage and support the pursuit of graduate studies by under-represented groups.

“This lack of representation has hindered enrollment of Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) and Black graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs,” Queen’s University said in a statement.

The partnership also includes the engineering faculties at McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, Western University and the engineering and math Faculties at the University of Waterloo. Each partner university will tailor the program structure and features to their institutions.

“The partner universities share a belief that greater diversity is needed among academic leaders in engineering and technology to properly reflect all populations and to ensure a full range of thought and problem-solving approaches,” Queen’s said.

Queen’s also intends for the project to create a pipeline of students who will increase diversity in Canadian technology industries as they enter the workforce with graduate degrees from STEM programs.

“It is our hope the IBET PhD project will change the academic landscape within the next five to 10 years by increasing the number of Indigenous and Black engineering professors teaching and researching in universities across Ontario,” said said Kevin Deluzio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Queen’s.

“Ensuring Indigenous and Black people are represented in our PhD programs, and later our faculties, is a key first step to changing the face of engineering education in Ontario – and graduating more diverse leaders into the profession in the near future,” he added.

Recipients will receive $25,000 a year for four years as they pursue doctorate degrees and specialized engineering research. Interested Canadian students can apply for the IBET Momentum Fellowships directly with each university as part of their application process.

Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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