Meet Luke Pambrun, a 19-year-old English major at the University of Calgary and a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. He’s also a recipient of the 2023 Alberta Blue Cross® Indigenous scholarship.
We recently caught up with Luke and asked him about his experience with the Indigenous scholarship program, where he wants to go next and his advice to other potential students.
What inspired you to further your education?
My older brothers really inspired me to go to university by sharing their experiences and knowledge. I would listen to them talk about professors and projects, and be impressed by what they were learning. They really took away the daunting part of education for me, so by the time I was 18, I knew attending university would be filled with great experiences. I also figured if my brothers could make it through, I could as well.
How did you find out about our Indigenous scholarship program?
My mother was scouring scholarships for me online and found this one. She encouraged me to apply, which I am very grateful for. Without her effort, I would never have known about this opportunity.
What has this scholarship meant to you?
This scholarship has given me the resources to focus on my classes instead of worrying over the financial aspect of university. I feel very privileged to have gotten this scholarship and am very impressed with Alberta Blue Cross’s® commitment to fostering education in the Indigenous community. Receiving this scholarship that is centred around the Indigenous student makes me proud to be Métis and assures me there is support in place for students like me.
What do you do to maintain your wellness?
I have recently gotten into bouldering, which I have found is a great physical workout and has a fantastic community built around it. Setting aside time to focus on my hobbies like climbing or reading really goes a long way to keep my energy up and to de-stress from the many less fun parts of attending university.
How do you like to get involved with your community?
I like attending on-school clubs, such as the tea club, which is a fantastic way to meet new students and make new friends. I have never passed up an opportunity to attend concerts and the local theatre. I find the more I engage in these activities, the more I feel immersed in my community. Just actively meeting new people and asking about their stories and interests has given me new passions that I would never have known about if not for my community of friends.
What advice would you give someone who is considering post-secondary education?
I would 100 per cent tell them that post-secondary education is not as hard or as scary as it seems. Sure, there are always assignments due, and you’ll spend long nights studying for a class. But that is only a small part of what education is. It’s a million great experiences under the umbrella of learning. My best advice is that everyone is there to learn and everyone will be willing to help you.
What one thing you wish you could tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to relax. Life has a funny way of putting you where you need to be, so just follow your gut.
Where would you like to go from here?
I have always wanted to be an actor, so I am pursuing roles and auditioning while I go to university. With my education, I believe I can become a better storyteller and use my skills to showcase the unique and courageous Métis identity.
Luke is currently working on a set of Indigenous poems with plans to publish before he gets his degree. He has collected stories from his grandfather, a veteran of the Canadian military, and has been inspired by other Indigenous authors to chronicle his connection to his culture.
To learn more about the Indigenous scholarship program and apply, visit https://www.community.ab.bluecross.ca/programs/indigenous-scholarships.php.