Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University

Rachael Claus-Buckles

In Rachael’s first job, she got on a plane every week to fly 1200 kilometeres to work.  She was a Mine Engineer at Cameco, working at the MacArthur River Operation in northern Saskatchewan.

When she was in high school, Rachael didn’t even know what engineering was.  Then one day someone from a nearby college came to talk to her class. “I was sitting in the back of the class,” said Rachael. “And I remember thinking engineering?  What’s that?  He really opened a door for me.”

She chose to study at Queen’s University and loved it, even though being at university was a big shock at first.  “Mom and Dad weren’t there to ask what I was doing.  I had to manage my time and decide when to study on my own.”

She also had to decide what program to study.  After two and a half years of Mechanical Engineering, she switched to Mining. A professor in mining gave her a reference, which led to a summer job with Cameco and then full-time work when she graduated.

Rachael later switched jobs in order to stay closer to her family in Calgary, and now works as a mechanical engineer.

Rachael hopes that other Indigenous students will follow her into engineering. “Through numbers and engineering, Native kids can compete on a world stage.  But I encourage kids to stay in school in general, even if they don’t study engineering.  School brings the world closer and exposes you to different people.  At university, you become an ambassador for your community.”

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

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