Five nursing students attending Nunavut Arctic College were awarded the Queen Elizabeth II scholarships on April 27. Angaluaaq Friesen, Vayda Kaviok, Ryan Buenaventura, Talia Grant and Bukola Dimeji were this year’s recipients. The $3,000 scholarship will go towards aiding their studies.

These five students earned the highest grade point averages in the second, third and fourth years of the Nunavut Arctic College’s nursing program.

Kaviok, originally a mental health worker, said she got into nursing to help address Nunavut’s nursing shortage – an issue still impacting the territory.

The awards were presented by Nunavut education minister Pamela Gross and Nunavut health minister John Main.

“It’s really an honour to be here today presenting these awards to you. We are so proud of you of the work you do as students and are really appreciative of the contribution you will make,” said Main.

Main emphasized how reliant Nunavut’s healthcare system is on nurses, having to staff 25 remote communities across the territory and advocated more Nunavummiut take part in the nursing program.

“As the department of health, we are very grateful for the role Nunavut Arctic College has played in providing training for Nunavummiut,” said Main to the students at a luncheon at the Aqsarniit, “this program that you’re enrolled in supports the success and integration of students such as yourself into registered nursing positions across the territory.”

Gross commended the students on making through with high grades during the Covid-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted schooling in the territory with students having to work from home several times throughout the year.

“I know it’s probably not the easiest time to go back to school during the circumstances of the pandemic, but we’re very proud you’ve achieved so many things working through some of the hardest times many people have faced,” said Gross, I applaud you all and your classmates for working together and working to achieve the highest success possible.”

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