Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University

Randy Herrmann

Sometimes engineers are storytellers.  Take Randy Herrmann.  As Director of ENGAP at the University of Manitoba, part of his job is to go out and tell students and their teachers what engineering is all about.  As he says, he’s gone from “engineering buildings to building engineers.”

Randy chose engineering because he always enjoyed math and science in high school. “Engineering uses both of them.  It is also one of the few areas where the education you receive reflects the job you will be doing.  The things you learn in engineering at university are applicable to your first day of your first job as an engineer.”

Randy worked first for an engineering consulting firm and later as a project manager for Rama First Nation.  He directed the construction of many community buildings like the arena, seniors’ complex, school, strip mall and new band office.  What struck him most in his work with First Nations communities was there were no Indigenous engineers.  He wanted to change that, and so he took a job with the University of Manitoba as director of an engineering access program called ENGAP, which makes it easier for Indigenous students to pursue an post-secondary education in engineering.

Randy says he would like to see “First Nations communities doing better.  This will only happen if there are more engineers to lead the way.” When he goes out to meet students, he encourages them to stay in school and to study math and science – even if they don’t want to be engineers. “Good math skills will help you if you wish to be an artist, hunter, trapper, electrician, doctor, lawyer or engineer.”

“Get the highest level of education you can.  The ability to learn is one of the gifts the Creator gave to everyone.  Use that gift to change your life.  Get an education, then become a role model for other Aboriginal students – tell your story and encourage them to pursue their dreams.”

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

© 2023 Queen's University Indigenous Futures in Engineering. All Rights Reserved.