By: Mercedes Stemm, Program Assistant, Indigenous Health in Medicine, Dalhousie BSc in Neuroscience/Indigenous Studies Student
Kwe’! This year, the IHIM and PLANS program had the incredible opportunity of creating a mentorship program for our Indigenous and African Nova Scotian/Canadian students interested in Medicine. This semester, I had the opportunity to interview one of the mentees from the program.
“My name is Hannah Harquail, and I am a second year Medical Sciences student here at Dalhousie University. Ever since I was young, I was fascinated in the medical field and dreamed of working in health care. In high school, I decided that I wanted to become a physician, and I am currently working towards that goal. Therefore, I am interested in attending medical school after university. However, if I cannot attend medical school immediately following university, I plan on working in research, as that is another discipline that I am interested in.
Currently, I am living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but I am originally from a small village called Charlo, New Brunswick. Throughout my life, I always lived off-reserve and am not associated with any Indigenous communities; however, my family helped me stay connected with my culture, as well as various activities/events held by nearby Indigenous communities and groups for off-reserve Aboriginal persons like myself. At university, I am supported by the Indigenous Student Centre and Indigenous academic advisors that work to help Indigenous students at Dalhousie University succeed.”
Why were you interested in participating in the mentorship program?
“I was interested in participating in the mentorship program to connect with a mature student in my program who understood many of the academic and personal struggles as a pre-med student and could provide me with some tips and advice to both succeed in the program and make the most of my degree.”
How has the mentorship program impacted you so far? Do you think it is beneficial and worth your time?
“Although I have only participated in the mentorship program for a few months, I definitely think it is beneficial and worth my time. From just a couple of meetings, I was able to connect with my mentor, and gain valuable advice and information about research, studying, stress, etc. Additionally, I have received an abundance of support and encouragement from my mentor, which motivates me to do well in the course, work hard to achieve my dream career, and makes the program worthwhile.”
What are your takeaways from the mentorship program and how will it impact your future studies?
“At this point throughout the mentorship, I have many takeaways that will positively impact my future studies. Firstly, I obtained helpful information that will help me in the medical school application process and different opportunities I have as an Indigenous student at Dalhousie by attending workshops held by the program personnel. Additionally, I gained communication skills, and advice on getting involved in research here at Dalhousie as an Indigenous, undergraduate student. These takeaways will help me reach both my academic and personal goals as a student and will enhance my undergraduate experience substantially.”
What are your thoughts on Dal creating this program?
“I am thrilled that Dalhousie decided to create this program. It has the potential to help many students connect with their culture, as well as learn about many opportunities and information relative to Indigenous Medical Sciences students.”