Nathan, Ponokohkyiaao (Elk Bear) felt a strong connection to ULethbridge long before he applied. The University resides on traditional Blackfoot territory and he is a proud member of the Kainai Nation (Blackfoot); his parents are also ULethbridge graduates. Nathan wasn’t sure what he wanted to study at first, so he enrolled in the Indigenous Student Success Cohort. Eventually, he realized that Indigenous governance and business management (IGBM), offered in the Dhillon School of Business, is the perfect program to develop and showcase his leadership qualities and skills.

What would you say the benefits are of coming to ULethbridge versus larger institutions?

"One benefit is the ability to stand out in the classroom and on campus. I am a member of several student groups and have been a guest speaker at campus events like Open House. It’s easy to ask questions and create a connection with your professors. You also get the chance to know other students and feel like you’re part of a community of people striving to better themselves."

How have your professors affected your education? Have any professors changed the way you view the world or what you want to study?

"I have had several amazing professors during my time at ULethbridge who changed the way I view the world. I wanted to enhance my knowledge and capabilities while gaining an education that would improve my quality of life. I chose to major in IGBM because of some professors who sparked my interest and educated me on crucial topics about my Indigenous culture."

My favourite courses were any Indigenous knowledge-based courses like Introduction to Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Governance and Indigenous Peoples & Law. I enjoy learning about my culture and the current status of the Indigenous population of Canada; one of my favourite professors would definitely have to be Don McIntyre, he's taught me some very crucial information that's changed the way I see the world.

How do you lead new ULethbridge students as a new student mentor?

"I have a cohort (or a group) of students that I communicate with throughout their first year at ULethbridge. Once students accept their offer of admission, I introduce myself and let them know I can answer their questions and direct them to the right supports. I also let them know about important dates, deadlines and resources. I’ve enjoyed being a new student mentor; it allows me to give back to my school community. I’ve also been in their situation. It can be intimidating to start university; you feel like everyone else has it covered and you’re the only one struggling."

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