Welcome to Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Queen's University

Matthew Dunn

Matthew Dunn

From a young age Matt Dunn loved the stars and dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

But unlike most youngsters, he actually focused on studying one of the hardest parts on the road to becoming one.

“When I was in grade 9 I read a NASA pamphlet that described what an aerospace engineer does,” he shared.

Matt was hooked, and although he didn’t end up on the moon – yet – he found what he liked, and, just as important, what he was good at.

While he was running towards his dream, as he also joined the track team at the University of Saskatchewan.

“I was lucky in that my high school classes got me ready me for first-year engineering,” he said.

“I had established good study habits growing up and had taken a grade 12 calculus class, which helped with first-year engineering classes."

Not one to be called a slacker, Matt also starting to compete in skeleton and bobsleigh, and the travel required for that made it difficult in his studies.

“I made the tough decision to retire from sports so that I could finish my master’s,” he admitted.

Matt’s intense studies brought him from his old job as a Mine Maintenance Engineer for PotashCorp, a potash mining company in Saskatchewan, to his current one as Indigenous Peoples Initiatives Coordinator for the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.

“I work with a number of people to help Indigenous students' success in the college,” he said.

“I develop partnerships with Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, as well as start projects that incorporate Indigenous culture and traditional ways of knowing into engineering research and teaching.”

He has found his dream job.

“Getting to come to work every day and help to develop projects that will lead to more Indigenous students becoming successful professional engineers is extremely gratifying,” he said.

Bass guitar relaxes him, as well as hanging on the beach on land owned by he and his wife - on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River.

Matt will also be sharing his love for sports as he heads to the North American Indigenous Games in Saskatoon in July as Athletics (track and field) head coach of the Saskatchewan entry.

His words of wisdom are to “find your community so you’ll have that peer support. This could be at your university’s Indigenous student centre, it could be a sports team, or it could be an extra-curricular activity such as playing music or volunteering at a community organization,” he said.

“The things that you accomplish in your life are greatly influenced by your closest friends, so make sure that you surround yourself with good people.”

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Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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