It took Kaella-Marie Earle years to reconnect with her Indigenous roots, thanks to teachers who helped her understand her own history and traditions.
As a chemical engineering student and activist, she hopes to encourage other young Indigenous people to overcome and help knock down the same barriers she has faced, to make things easier for future Indigenous students.
As far as she is aware, Kaella is Laurentian’s only engineering student who self-identifies as Indigenous. “You get a lot of (Indigenous) people who don’t think they can survive in something like the science and engineering fields because they think they have no connection,” she said.
She has helped break down barriers for others by organizing camps for Indigenous people and allies, to learn about their culture, and by speaking out about contributions Indigenous people have made to the fields of science and engineering, and the potential to tackle issues like climate change.
Kaella-Marie said she was lucky to have extraordinary professors at Laurentian, who have helped her achieve so much already.
“I feel very strongly that Kaella will make immense positive contributions to the world throughout her life. She is an excellent example of a young Indigenous woman excelling at Laurentian University,” said Dr. Jesse Popp, who taught Kaella in her third-year Indigenous Peoples: Ecology, Science, and Technology biology course.
After she graduates next year Kaella said she plans to apply to law school, so she can help represent Indigenous communities when they negotiate with mining and forestry companies.
We look forward to seeing what she’ll achieve in the years to come!