Guelph, Ont., grad student’s work helps Indigenous students feel welcome on campus

Danielle Nowosad says she didn’t always feel welcome while studying science in Manitoba


Danielle Nowosad wants people to feel welcome to share experiences with her.


Nowosad said she didn’t always experience that when she started studying science in her undergrad days in Manitoba. Now, the University of Guelph, Ont., grad student has worked to ensure new Indigenous students feel comfortable when they arrive on campus, and that communities where she does in-field research feel like she’s accessible and willing to collaborate.


Nowosad, who is Red River Métis and a grad student who researches Arctic freshwater ecology, lead the development of an Indigenous undergraduate orientation package for students in the College of Biological Science at the University of Guelph. It will be available through the Indigenous Student Services office and it helps students learn about opportunities and Indigenous-specific cultural and learning experiences in and around campus.


“We needed to find a way to get this information to them as soon as they start so there’s a higher chance of them being supported and actually finishing a program,” Nowosad said. “I really hope that it’ll help students have an easier time with post-secondary.”


She said that when she started her undergraduate degree at the University of Winnipeg, there were people who told her she wasn’t smart enough to be in science.


“Thankfully, I did find my professor in a different department that said, ‘No, you do have value and you deserve to be here,'” she said.


“And that’s sort of when I committed myself to actually learning science, of engaging with it properly rather than just skating through my undergrad and just trying to get out as quickly as I could.”


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