WARMAN, SK – The Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA), Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network (SFNEDN) and Great Plains College were proud to award the second SREDA Indigenous Economic Development Scholarship (SIEDS) to Melvina Aubichon at a luncheon on February 22.
The SIEDS scholarship was created in 2018 to recognize leaders in the Indigenous community by offering a scholarship to an Indigenous student who is actively enrolled in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Community Economic Development. The program is offered by Cape Breton University and hosted at Great Plains College Warman Campus.
“We must build a more inclusive economy, and one way to help achieve that goal is to ensure the next generation of Indigenous leaders get involved in economic development-related careers in the Saskatoon Region,” said Alex Fallon, President and CEO of SREDA. “The SREDA Indigenous Economic Development Scholarship helps current students to become future leaders and we’re proud to be a part of this initiative with Great Plains College and SFNEDN.”
This year’s recipient, Melvina Aubichton of English River First Nation, has been involved in Indigenous economic development since a very young age helping her father run his businesses. After a short time working at a northern mine site, she returned to school to pursue her passion for administration and economic development – first with a Business Administration diploma from Saskatchewan Polytechnic followed by a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan and her current enrolment in the MBA program.
Throughout her career she has held positions with Saskatoon Tribal Council, advising First Nations individuals on career development and labour force participation, she has participated as a board member to the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (a national economic and community development advisory organization), and was a part of the founding group for the Saskatchewan First Nation Economic Development Network. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Des Nedhe Development Corporation of English River First Nation.
Upon completion of the MBA in Community Economic Development, Melvina’s goal is to engage more employers and industries in meaningful, long-term employment opportunities for Indigenous people, particularly in northern Saskatchewan.
“We’re honoured to again present this scholarship to a very deserving candidate who is active in her community, is passionate about First Nations economic development, and continues to push herself to grow through higher education opportunities,” said Carrie Voysey, director of development and communications at Great Plains College. “Melvina has already had a great impact on the communities and organizations she’s been involved with, and we look forward to seeing that impact grow as she completes the MBA program.”
Students who qualify for this annual scholarship can receive up to $5,000 toward their education in the MBA in Community Economic Development program in their first or second year of study. SREDA has invested a total of $10,000 to be spread across four academic years. The Government of Saskatchewan has matched this investment, through its Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program, to total $20,000.
“The SFNEDN is pleased to extend our congratulations to Melvina Aubichon, the 2019 recipient of the SREDA Indigenous Economic Development Scholalrship,” said Shaun Soonias, Executive Director of the SFNEDN. “Melvina has contributed for many years and in a number of meaningful ways towards Indigenous economic development in Saskatchewan.”
The MBA in Community Economic Development is offered on alternate weekends over a two-year period at Great Plains College Warman Campus, with the next cohort beginning January 2020. This program allows students to earn an innovative MBA while working, with a focus on strategic leadership, First Nations economic development and public policy.=