Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University

Cory Jones

Cory Jones
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
Job title: 

Type(s) of Engineering:

Favourite thing: 

“The opportunity to see the country, and to participate in community level projects – helping a community take a project from a vague idea of what they want, to attending a grand opening at the completion of their vision – is extremely fulfilling.”

“My father worked extremely hard all of his life, including time as an ironworker and self-employed general contractor, and he instilled in our family a strong work ethic,” Cory Jones recounted, when asked about his love for engineering. “He gave me the opportunity to work on building things when I was young, and helped me develop an understanding of how things go together in a logical, sensible way. He basically taught me how to be a practical problem solver."

Cory heeded the advice of his parents, including when he was told he wasn’t ready for university.

He instead chose to bolster his standing by picking up additional credits to solidify his university applications, and to mature to a point where he would be more comfortable away from home. That support and advice was key to a successful university career, as Cory would have had a difficult time adjusting, if not for his sister living close by - along with continuous family support.

“In addition to that, the other big challenge once I got there was overcoming my introverted nature and simply making friends,” he said. Normally shy, Cory said his participation in intramural sports in university “helped me to grow as a person immensely.”

Cory currently works at Neegan Burnside Ltd., an Indigenous-owned engineering firm that focuses on “working for First Nation communities and on First Nation projects.”

He has been there since he graduated in 1997, and he has had the opportunity to design a variety of buildings, many of which are in First Nation communities, including recreation centres, water and wastewater treatment plants, and schools. 

To those who are interested in pursuing an engineering degree he gives this advice “The path is hard, but well worth it. No one starts out knowing everything there is to know about math, science and engineering. If it is really what you want, and you work at it, and pay attention in class, you’ll find you can do it."

Cory is an avid hockey and baseball fan, volunteers as a hockey coach in his current hometown of Orangeville, and loves to attend his community powwow with his family each year. “I also like to geocache as a hobby, which gives me an excuse to get out and enjoy the outdoors, and visit places I might not otherwise have had the chance to,” he said.

An interesting tidbit about Cory is he recently helped in the construction of a new elementary school in his community, a project which basically replaced the school he attended until Grade 8.

“The big key to my success has always been my parents and their support, and I continue to rely on them today for their advice and understanding.”

Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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