Hello everyone! My name is Hunter Johnson. I'm a Métis student here at Ontario Tech in my third year of Health Sciences, specializing in Public Health. As a Ridgeback, I have had several opportunities that have benefited my academic and career journey, and I would like to share those experiences with you today.
Continue reading my story to learn more about my experiences at Ontario Tech University.
Indigenous Education and Cultural Services
As an Indigenous student far from home, it is comforting to know that the school has spaces and services available to support the Indigenous student community. These spaces include Mukwa's Den in Shawenjigewining Hall on north campus and Baagwating Indigenous Student Centre at our downtown campus.
Indigenous students can use these safe spaces to study, use medicines and smudge. Ontario Tech also has amazing Indigenous Cultural Advisors available to support you virtually and in person. Our advisors are super informative regarding opportunities for Indigenous students! They send out job postings, career fair details and events that may interest you, which I found very helpful.
At Ontario Tech, I've had many opportunities to get involved with students and our community, and by doing so, I have further developed my leadership skills.
The Ambassador Program at Ontario Tech is fantastic! You'll have so many opportunities to meet and encourage students. Our Ridgeback Orientation held in the summer is a student event full of opportunities to meet incoming students and start forming connections with them.
There are also so many other benefits to participating in the Ambassador Program—be sure to check it out and sign up! Once you become an Ambassador, you're that much closer to meeting the requirements to become a peer leader.
In your first year at Ontario Tech, you will be automatically matched with an upper year student in your faculty who can help support your transition. In your upper years you’ll have the opportunity to pay it forward by joining the program! As a Peer Leader, you'll be matched with a group of first year students so you can help their transition to university go as smoothly as possible. You will be their point of contact and provide them with support, resources and helpful tips so they can succeed.
The first step in becoming a peer mentor is completing the Ambassador Program.
As a Ridgeback Mentor, you'll connect with 2-3 students and your primary objective is to help your mentees reach their goals. During this time, you meet with your mentees one-on-one to discuss future academic and career plans, short and long-term goals, and their interests and hobbies.
So if you're an individual who enjoys school spirit, bringing people up and helping students achieve their fullest potential, I highly recommend becoming a Peer Leader, Ambassador and Ridgeback Mentor!
The Health Sciences program
As a Health Sciences student specializing in Public Health, I've had the opportunity to take multiple exciting courses. These courses cover disease (and the absence of it) as well as the social and economic factors that impact health. Here are a few of my favourite courses:
Many of the courses I've taken encourage me to think critically about an individual's overall health, and consider how social, environmental, financial, cultural and racial differences influence health. Our program focuses on holistic approaches to health prevention and promotion rather than strictly the absence of disease, which is valuable and important to me.
Engineering Outreach, a network member of Actua, breaks barriers by providing youth with STEM learning opportunities. Although it's engineering-focused, you learn about the multiple ways that other STEM backgrounds intertwine with engineering, such as health sciences!
As Engineering Outreach's Indigenous STEM program instructor, I create programs that combine Indigenous perspectives with STEM, while providing Indigenous students with a safe place to learn. I work with school boards, organizations and colleagues to develop and deliver meaningful STEM content that is engaging for Indigenous youth. I also work with non-Indigenous students and colleagues to promote Indigenous education in multiple fields!
Because of my experiences with Engineering Outreach, I was invited to speak at the Actuas 2023 National Conference, where I accepted the Actuas National Instructor Recognition Award for my hard work and dedication to Indigenous STEM education.
When I first started at Ontario Tech, I told myself that I strictly wanted to focus on my studies. However, I've come to realize how vital extracurricular activities are to your overall well-being and academic endeavours. Extracurriculars help you build your soft skills, such as teamwork, communication and problem-solving, which are essential in any field of study. I am so happy I chose Ontario Tech as my school because it has provided me with countless opportunities to get involved, and I am sure you will feel the same too!
Want to learn more about the opportunities for involvement at Ontario Tech?