In a year most likely remembered for its bad news and more bad news, Arviat’s Vayda Kaviok received some most welcome news recently when the US$4,800 scholarship she received from the De Beers Group for the 2019-2020 school year was renewed by the company for her current 2020-2021 school year.
Kaviok, 25, is in the second year of a four-year nursing program after also completing a pre-nursing program in Iqaluit.
She said her interest in nursing was sparked during her time working in mental health.
“I was working as a clerk-interpreter with mental health and that experience made me realize that I really wanted to become a nurse,” said Kaviok.
“I’m really happy I made the decision to come here. It’s a really good program and the instructors are really supportive too.
“I’m not sure where I’ll end up when I finish this program because I want to eventually be specialized in psychiatric nursing.”
Kaviok said she greatly appreciates the scholarship money from the De Beers Group.
She said the money has been very helpful to her because of the high costs associated with just about everything in the North.
“Everyone who lives here knows the high cost of food in our grocery stores, but it’s not just that the scholarship has helped me with.
“It’s helped me a lot with buying stuff I need for my program, like my scrubs and the stethoscope I just bought.
“It also helped me to buy clothing for my little one and to pay for her day care, because day care here (in Iqaluit) is more expensive than in Kivalliq.
“So, the scholarship has helped me in many different ways since I started the program. It’s been very important to me.”
Like just about every student across the country, Kaviok has had her post-secondary experience affected by Covid-19.
Soon after everyone became aware of the pandemic, Kaviok and her fellow nursing students found themselves continuing their program online.
“One time I was actually enrolled in southern courses because they had to cancel one of our clinical courses here. So that meant we had to take two extra courses during the spring term that went until the end of July.
“That was very tough but we’re still going.
“I was able, however, to go home to Arviat for a couple of weeks during the start of Covid to refresh a bit because I wasn’t able to go home for Christmas.
“And I was able to go home for a month after my course was finished for the first year.”
Kaviok said there was a time not that long ago when she didn’t really know where to get started with her life.
She said one thing she does know for sure, if you have a dream or a real passion for something you want to do in your life, go for it!
“It may take a little time to figure things out but, once someone knows what it is that they want to do in life, they should pursue it as best that they can.
“Anyone who has made the decision to go to school should remember to take the time to research scholarships, because there’s many opportunities out there today willing to support the Indigenous population.”
Kaviok is the lone De Beers scholarship recipient from Nunavut, joining 11 from the Northwest Territories and two from Northern Ontario.
The De Beers Group has awarded scholarships totalling US$48,825 to 14 Canadian women enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at universities and colleges in Canada.
The scholarships are awarded as part of the company’s partnership with UN Women and its commitment to stand with women and girls in its host countries.
Seven US$2,175 entrance scholarships will go to new recipients for the 2020-2021 school year, while seven women will receive a second year of funding under the 2019-2020 program.
The awards are administered by Scholarships Canada, which received more than 200 applications for the De Beers Group program this year alone.