Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University

Kris Frederickson

B.Eng. in Biosystems Engineering - Class of 2002
Favourite thing: 

"The variety, Biosystems Engineers can be found in many different fields of engineering, from nuclear research to agricultural and pharmaceuticals."

More on Kris

Kris Frederickson's parents always gave him the impression that engineers had an important job to do. Since he was also good with math and numbers in high school, engineering was a natural choice for him. Even so, he says his first year was pretty bad, "It wasn't what I expected. I was about ready to quit." His parents convinced him to go back and try it again before deciding to change fields. "It turns out I liked it," Kris explains.

Now in his third year of Biosystems engineering at the University of Manitoba, you only have to hear Kris talk about his co-op placement to know how much he likes it. He is working at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute in Portage La Prairie developing a harvester for sea buckthorn. This shrub has been used for many years by farmers on the prairies in shelter belts - strips of trees planted between fields to block soil erosion from the wind. In other parts of the world the plant's berries and leaves are harvested for their medicinal properties: the oil they produce can be used to treat skin rashes, internal ulcers and radiation burns, it is also very high in vitamin C. Prairie farmers would like to grow the shrub as a commercial crop because it is many, many times more profitable than wheat and other traditional prairie staples. Kris is trying to help them by figuring out how to harvest sea buckthorn leaves without harming the delicate bark. "We're looking at brushing them off somehow," he says.

Although he still has two years to go before he graduates, Kris is already making plans. He would like to work in the area of environmental clean up or environmental impact assessment, and thinks he might apply to a non-profit development agency somewhere in Central America before returning to school for a Masters degree. "The thing about biosystems engineering is that it opens many doors, I could even choose to study medicine if I wanted.

"Kris knows that perseverance has helped him get to this point, and he urges other Indigenous students to stick it out. "Math and science may not be very exciting in high school. But if they knew how exciting it gets after the first elementary stage - Wow! It gets very exciting."


See also:

Action Canada profile, 2004-2005 fellows (Action Canada)

Kris Frederickson on LinkedIn

Kris Frederickson on Twitter


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Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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