IYG 2022 – About the Speakers
Civil Engineer, Newfoundland Power
Vice Chair of Indigenous Advisory Committee for Engineers Canada
Sheldon’s career path has been anything but typical. First, Sheldon obtained a Kinesiology degree focusing on the business side of sport and recreation. Returning to Labrador he started working with the provincial government and Nunatsiavut government for roughly 10 years in various capacities when he then decided to shift gears. Through his involvement (as an administrator) of the construction of the Illusuak Cultural Centre in Nain Labrador he became very interested in the geotechnical engineering required for the foundations and decided to return to school to study civil engineering. Six years after relocating his family to St. John’s he completed his engineering degree and began working with the Voisey’s Bay Underground mine project. Sheldon is currently working with Newfoundland Power as Asset Management Lead.
Sheldon is originally from North West River, Labrador and a proud beneficiary of the Nunatsiavut Land Lands Agreement. He is engaged in a number of volunteer committees including the National Engineering and Geoscience Month committee of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador and more recently became involved with the Indigenous Advisory Committee of Engineers Canada. In his spare time, he enjoys golf, hiking/biking with his family and traveling.
4th-year student, Physics and Computational Mathematics
Memorial University, Grenfell Campus
I spent 8 weeks this past summer working as a summer student on a particle physics research project at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. For 8 weeks prior to working at CERN, I worked with Dr. Svetlana Barkanova at Grenfell Campus on a research project in using fully immersive virtual reality (VR) as a part of subatomic physics education. This VR project was a continuation of the work that I did with Dr. Barkanova for 16 weeks during the previous summer (funded by NSERC USRA). In June 2022, I travelled to Hamilton, Ontario for the 2022 Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Congress to do a presentation about my VR work. During the school year, I have worked and will continue to work with Dr. Barkanova on various science outreach events to promote physics and the natural sciences to high-school students and the general public.
I grew up in the small town of York Harbour, which is about a 45-minute drive from Corner Brook where I now study. When I am not studying or working, I enjoy hiking, walking/jogging, cooking (I get the most joy from making homemade pizza or pasta), playing my new Anglo concertina (It is an instrument commonly used in traditional Irish music and looks like a small button accordion. I am a beginner musician), and playing computer games on the computer that I built myself. I am involved in the newly formed Grenfell Campus Physics Society, I love to try new things, and, in addition to math and physics, I like learning about computer science.
My work this summer was made possible by the Canadian Institute of Particle Physics (IPP) with their IPP/CERN Summer Student Program as well as by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) with their Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC USRA).
Don’t hesitate to start a conversation with me through email at email@example.com if you want to know more about my work or anything else I do or have done.
Project Support Lead – St. John’s
Shawna recently graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Memorial University and hails from Nain, Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and Labrador. Shawna brings a unique Indigenous youth perspective and has presented about her experiences at the local, regional, national, and international level. She is an environmental, youth, and equality advocate and loves to be outdoors on the land. Shawna serves on the Youth Advisory Committee for the National Conversations on Gender Equality project with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and the National Inuit Youth Council, and she is a Students on Ice Alumni.
As President of Intuitive Media, Denise is happiest when meeting new people, building relationships, and helping businesses grow through marketing management, digital strategy, advertising, and training.
An award-winning marketer, Denise began her career in media sales, but developed a deeper passion for marketing and communications strategy, spending nearly a decade as a partner in a successful marketing agency before creating Intuitive Media in 2019. To build on her marketing education, Denise successfully completed the Digital & Social Media Program at Memorial University in 2019. Always learning, Denise works hard to stay on top of all the latest trends in all forms of digital marketing.
She’s an active speaker on entrepreneurship and marketing, bridging the gap between education and industry, and working to provide the tools and knowledge owners and managers can put to work in their businesses.
When she’s not working, Denise is an active mother, volunteer and mentor, lending her time and skills to organizations such as Futurpreneur Canada, CHBA-NL, NLCA, and others, in addition to NLOWE, where she currently serves as immediate Past President of the board.
Programming and Lab Instructor
College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University
Lori graduated as part of Memorial’s second class of computer engineering students in 2003. She has worked as an algorithm developer on scientific- and research-based projects as well as research project management, overseeing progress and managing funds for collaborative public-private engineering research projects. She now shares her knowledge and experience as an instructor of programming to first-year engineering students at Memorial and as part of a pilot project to bring programming education to high school students in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dr. John Jeddore
Nova Scotia Health Authority
John Jeddore is Mi’kmaw, from Aosomiajij Miawpukek First Nation (Conne River Reserve), NL
John holds a B.Sc Biochemistry (Memorial), Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology (Memorial), Doctor of Medicine (Memorial), Adult Neurology Residency (Memorial), FRCPC board certification in Adult Neurology and is currently completing an Epilepsy/Electroencephalography Clinical Fellowship at Dalhousie University. He has received the Chip Nardini Award, Indspire First Nations Youth Award, CFPC Indigenous Student Award, Lormier Scholarship Award, Arnold P Gold Foundation Award.
An active community member, he served on the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Youth Council Member, Canadian Federation of Students Indigenous NL student representative, Memorial University Student Union Indigenous Student Representative, Siawitanej Indigenous Student group representative (Memorial), Canadian Federation of Medical Students Indigenous student representative, Canadian Research Impacting Indigenous Groups member (current), Health Accord resident representative (Current), National consensus development of a National Framework on Post-Graduate Epilepsy Education in Canada resident representative (Current), Aboriginal Health Initiative Advisory Board member (Current).
Other interests: Developed a Mi’kmaw language program for social media platforms, guest curated an exhibition on Indigenous presence in NL at The Rooms, assisted in development of Red Ochre, a film for the National Film Board
Creative Strategist & Educational Leader, Kalawikk
Applied Arts Communications Instructor, CAN
Tera McDonald is a communications expert with a commitment to inclusivity. She is a Mi’Kmaw two-spirit from Qalipu First Nation and is the owner of Kalawikk (Gal-a-wikk) a communications firm raising inclusivity standards in design, communications, and education. Tera founded Kalawikk while teaching communications at College of the North Atlantic, balancing an inclusive classroom with entrepreneurial pursuit. Her passion for communications teaching came as the practical outcome of her joint Bachelor of Arts in History and English from Memorial University of Newfoundland where she also entered the Bachelor of Education. Tera later added strategy with her Bachelor of Adult Education in Corporate Training & Facilitation. Now, through Kalawikk, Tera leverages this knowledge and experience to exact greater impact in inclusivity, accessibility, diversity, and equitability standards for businesses and organizations.
Tera’s passion for inclusion has long been her focus as it led her to present at the 31st McGraw-Hill Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference on engaging first year students in discussion by creating a safe learning space early in her education career. She has expanded this work into diversity as the former Vice-Chair of Persistence Theatre Company, a professional theatre group promoting, understanding and embracing the core beliefs of feminism, and is a current board member of Wabanaki Two Spirit Alliance’s Gender Diverse Advocate Group. When not working in community, Tera combines her 17 years of communications knowledge with digital art by way of illustration, branding and marketing materials for clients, or for personal expression. This was a natural step after she completed a diploma in Graphic Design, expanding her inclusive communication strategies to include visuals. Her artwork can be found on Quidi Vidi Artist Series beer cans, on local posters, and on business’ storefronts and webpages. Additionally, Tera was awarded the International Association of Business Communicator’s NL Chapter Pinnacle Award for Creative Design. Her passion for Indigenous empowerment has led her to work with organizations within the Innu Round Table as well as Qalipu First Nation. Currently Tera consults with Empowering Indigenous Women for Stronger Communities to create a community building communications strategy while making time for her inclusive course development and brand strategy clients.
Dr. Hilding Neilson
Department of Physics & Physical Oceanography
About Hilding Neilson
Hilding Neilson is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Physical Oceanography at Memorial University. His research includes numerical and observational studies of stars and exoplanets.
As a Mi’kmaw person, he works to learn, integrate, and share Indigenous knowledges in astronomy and astrophysics while also actively championing anti-colonialism and inclusion in the field of astrophysics.
He earned his BSc in 2003 from St. Mary’s University and PhD in 2009 from the University of Toronto. He has written many scholarly and popular articles and has been featured in the popular media such as the CBC, New Yorker, Science Magazine and others.
Senior Ind. Benefits & Diversity Advisor
Her grandmother was Labrador Inuit. Some heritage is known but the familial connections are lost, as are the traditions. Janice is learning what she can to honor her nan and find a place for herself and her kids. She has a undergrad in Chemistry, a Masters in Engineering and works as Flow Assurance Engineer in Oil and Gas. Her free time is filled with quilting and enjoying her kids. Her first job was as a Native Intern at CEC. They advertised for a 4th year university student, she was 15 and in grade 10.
Brian Pottle, P.Eng
Executive Director, Katinnganiq Makerspace Network
About Brian’s Talk
At a glance, the divide between modern technology and traditional ways of life may seem unbridgeable. From Brian Pottle’s perspective, this is a common misunderstanding of the nature of technology and its effect on traditional modes of living. You will hear how – and why – technology can be used to empower today’s youth to be leaders not only in their own communities, but of this modern technological age, while remaining true to core cultural values.
About Brian Pottle
Brian Pottle grew up in the Inuit communities of Postville and Rigolet on the remote north coast of Labrador, and achieved a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at MUN. After working many years in industry, Brian has pivoted towards the non-profit sector as Executive Director of the Nunavut-based Katinnganiq Makerspace Network. As a father, inventor, and social activist, Brian also divides his time as President of the National Inuit Youth Council, and advocates on national and international stages for all Inuit youth.
IFR Offshore Captain
St. John’s, NL
Allison Rumbolt, grew up in Mary’s Harbour, a small town in southern Labrador. She discovered her love of flying, while spending hours at the local airport where both her parents worked. Rumbolt regularly met pilots flying into the community and remembers a particular helicopter flight, that was arranged by her dad when she was 10 years old. Flying low level on a popular salmon river had her hooked on flying helicopters.
Before graduating high school, with her love for aviation well-known, she was approached by Canadian Helicopters to become a dispatcher in their Goose Bay office, a positions that would eventually land her a full time flying job. Rumbolt logged 1000’s of hours, navigating the skies of Labrador and other parts of Eastern Canada, building time and experience before moving on to a new challenge.
A challenge that has taken Rumbolt nearly 230nm off the coast of Newfoundland, flying in some of the worlds harshest weather conditions. She has been flying the S92 helicopter servicing NL’s offshore oil and gas industry for the past seven years.
At just 33 years old, and the youngest Captain flying the S92 offshore NL, her career has taken her from coast to coast and from the Canadian Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. With many accompaniments to her credit, there is one she is most proud of. “Landing in my hometown of Mary’s Harbour and having dinner with my parents.”
Safety Training Specialist
Qalipu First Nation
Gertie Ryan-Kavanagh is a Training and Competency Specialist with a long and successful career in designing and implementing training programs in both private industry and in public post-secondary environments. Gertie holds a Bachelor of Education (Post-Secondary) and a Master of Education (Leadership Studies) as well as certifications in Human Resource Management and Business Administration. She is currently working with Trades NL developing professional development courses for persons in the construction trades in Newfoundland and Labrador. For 14 years before this, Gertie worked with Husky Energy managing the Atlantic Region’s training and competency assurance processes for offshore installations. Prior to her role at Husky, Gertie worked with the Marine Institute for eight years – first in the capacity of enrollment officer for Transport Canada Marine Certification programs, then finally as Registrar for the remaining few years. Before this, Gertie entered her first non-traditional / male-dominated role in 1990 when she took an administrative/human resources role with the Woodward Group of Companies where she was responsible for the crewing of oil tankers and ensuring that crew members held all required Transport Canada certifications, tickets, and endorsements.
As a proud Mi’kmaq and member of the Qalipu First Nation, Gertie was instrumental in establishing an Employee Resource Group (ERG) in Husky’s Atlantic Region. As Chair of the Indigenous Community Sharing Circle she formed a local committee and planned events surrounding National Indigenous People’s Day and Orange Shirt Day. She also regularly attended departmental team meetings to share cultural information and learnings. One of the most popular initiatives was the introduction of the talking stick at Husky’s meetings. This modification on the traditional practice of talking circles and the use of the talking stick was quickly adopted at all levels of leadership.
Gertie is originally from St. George’s on the west coast of the province. She maintains a property there and visits several times per year where she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She participates as many cultural and community events in St. George’s as often as she can while she is home. She is a strong advocate for sharing cultural information and teachings with those who are, like herself, “still learning”.
Power Electronic Designer
Thomas Seary is a Power Electronic Designer at Solace Power in Mount Pearl. His interest in electronics and programming began at a young age with Lego robots, and continued through school with the MATE ROV competition. He earned his B. Eng. in Electrical Engineering from Memorial University in 2014. After building deep-sea cameras and lights at SubC Imaging for four years, he returned to MUN where he met his wife Hla U May, and graduated with his M. Eng. in 2020.
In his free time, Thomas loves to ride his bicycle, build woodwork projects and create arcade games.
Cloe Stevens participated as a grade 11 student in the WISE NL 2021 Student Summer Employment Program (SSEP), which is a unique opportunity to work in paid summer Science and Engineering Research Assistant positions. Cloe has made the transition from high school and is now a first year student at Memorial University. She hopes to enter the Faculty of Science majoring in Physics with a longer term interest in medical research.
Dr. Barbara Moktthewenkwe Wall
Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Trent University
About Barbara’s Talk – “Indigeneity and STE(A)M: Holding Space”
Our prophecies tell us of the challenging and sacred time in which we now live. We are still here. Our surviving and thriving is based on our ways of knowing and being. There is an urgent need for our voices to be heard, and our Knowledges and scientific wisdom to be shared. This need creates a unique space and place for Indigenous Peoples in STE(A)M.
For a very long time, mainstream society and western science have undervalued Indigenous ways of understanding the world. Gratefully, a slow shift has begun. In some spaces our ways of knowing are acknowledged, valued and sought after. Collaboration of Indigenous Knowledges and western Scientific knowledges is possible and must be led by our people with respect, reciprocity and love.
Barbara will share her academic and professional engineering journeys in relation to creating and holding space for Indigeneity in STE(A)M.
About Barbara Moktthewenkwe Wall
Barbara is a Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabekwe of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma and traditional knowledge holder. She is a committed learner of Anishinaabemowin, incorporating the language into all aspects of her life.
Barbara is a professor in Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies and teaches in the Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences program. She has a diverse educational background, holding a BS in Geological Engineering from Michigan Technological University, MS in Civil Engineering from University of California Berkeley, and PhD in Indigenous Studies from Trent University.
Beyond academia, Barbara is a mother, auntie, daughter, and Grandmother. She has twelve years of experience teaching Grade 6 – 8 mathematics and science using Indigenous pedagogies, and is a Professional Engineer with over ten years experience in consulting engineering.
Executive Director, Renewable Energy
Government of Newfoundland & Labrador
Susan Wilkins is the Executive Director of Renewable Energy with the Department of Industry, Energy and Technology at the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Passionate about economic development and mitigating climate change while positioning Newfoundland and Labrador as a Clean Energy Centre of Excellence, Susan is leading the development of a renewable energy industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In addition to her 20+ years of consulting, project management, policy development, and information technology experience, Susan holds a Masters Certificate in Project Management, and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science, Applied Mathematics from Memorial University.
When she isn’t working, Susan likes to spend time outside with her husband and two teenage boys.