Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University

Sidney Seymour

The first time Sidney Seymour heard the word “engineering”, he was already studying for a second career.  He started off as an auto mechanic, and then went back to school to become a teacher. While he was substitute teaching, he learned about engineering from a man who worked for the ENGAP program at University of Manitoba. “He explained to me what engineering was about,” says Sidney.  “It was all the courses I loved – math, physics, chemistry.”

Sidney decided to go to school with ENGAP.  It took him a bit longer than usual to finish his degree, but he did it!

Sidney went to work for a company called Ininew Project Management.  It is a First-Nations owned company that does projects for other First Nations. One of the most important projects that Sidney has done is a water treatment plant.

“It was a community that Health Canada said had unsafe drinking water.  I got to work in an Aboriginal community on a project that affects many people’s lives. It was the first time there was safe running water in people’s homes.”

This kind of project is one of the reasons Sidney thinks it is important for young Indigenous people to consider engineering and science as a career choice. “We have to be able to design, construct and plan our own communities,” he says. “People with engineering backgrounds give us the skills we need to do this type of job.  But if our own people don’t have these skills we have to rely on non-Indigenous people who don’t understand the communities.”

Sidney adds “In high school, you’re never actually thinking about what you need, just what you can get by with. But Education is the only way you’re going to develop your potential and find your dreams.”

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

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