Last year, Nicole Cardinal, a 40-year-old married mother of two achieved a dream, transferring into the third year of the University of British Columbia’s First Nations studies program. She was one of 12 Indigenous students who broke educational barriers through a three-year pilot project devised by Langara College and UBC.
That pilot project later turned into a permanent arrangement. “This is the start of building something, and it was started by this group of students,” Langara president Lane Trotter said at the signing ceremony formalizing the Aboriginal Transfer Partnership (ABT), which provides mentorship and financial aid to Aboriginal students.
It could have been a rocky road for Cardinal, but she had great advisers.
When she enrolled in Langara College’s First Nations studies program in 2009, she hadn’t attended a class since graduating from Vancouver Technical Secondary School in 1994. Cardinal had worked in sales and travelled, then had her first child in her early 30s. That’s when she decided to go back to school. “I worked and played throughout my 20s, but I couldn’t just live from paycheque to paycheque anymore,” Cardinal says.
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