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Chennoa Tracy: Métis Engineer Thanks GDI For Support

Aug 10, 2018

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By Audrey Arcand and James Oloo

Chennoa Tracy works with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) as an Assistant Engineer, where she is in charge of modifying and creating machine parts, getting quotes for materials from manufacturers, and analyzing stresses in parts that need to be fixed. She graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2018.

Chennoa learned about Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) from her older sister who is an alumnus of the Institute. As a University student, Chennoa came to GDI Training and Employment, and through the Institute’s summer student program, became a funded client of GDI Training and Employment through a partnership with the Saskatchewan Research Council. Regarding her decision to come to the GDI Training and Employment, Chennoa noted that “through my sister’s experience and the obvious benefits of experience and partnership GDI Training and Employment has with the SRC, I knew that GDI would help me further my career.”

“Chennoa made an immediate positive impression upon her team in Industrial Engineering and has been a real asset to SRC in her short time with us. She demonstrated the willingness and interest to learn and apply new engineering analysis skills which is helping our Industrial Engineering group develop niche capabilities,” noted Rebecca Gotto, the Aboriginal Mentorship Program manager at SRC. “Chennoa’s work has helped us to collaboratively, and effectively advance the design and engineering process.”

Her favourite thing about being an engineer is being able “to take a design and its calculations and turn it into something that is tangible and useful.” She continued, “Seeing my work built, installed, and making a project easier or less costly is gratifying.” Chennoa credits her employment counselor, Audrey Arcand, for support and providing her with very helpful information.

Chennoa Tracey was a College of Engineering representative of the Indigenous Students’ Council at the University of Saskatchewan. Her advice to young women who are thinking of careers is engineering is that: “Always seek out opportunities. Do not get discouraged; and always keep trying to find a way to reach your goal.” She encourages other to take opportunities offered by Métis organizations like Gabriel Dumont Institute. “They help keep Métis people connected to our history and with each other like a community should.”

GDI Training and Employment has partnered with the SRC in the latter’s Aboriginal Mentorship Program. The Program aims to connect Aboriginal post-secondary students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines with SRC mentors in the same or similar disciplines to help them take their education and experience to the next level.

The Aboriginal Mentorship Program includes coaching and mentoring throughout the school year to help set students up for success, along with meaningful summer employment and opportunities to help students develop skills and gain work experience that will help them in their studies and future careers. The students are funded through the GDI Training and Employment summer student program.

Through a partnership with the SRC in 2015, GDI Training and Employment funded one Métis student (Thomas Lavergne, an Environmental Engineering student at the University of Saskatchewan) to participate in the Aboriginal Mentorship Program.

In 2016, GDI Training and Employment and SRC signed a three-year MOU to have more Métis students in the STEM disciplines partnered with mentors at the SRC under the Aboriginal Mentorship Program. To date, six GDI Training and Employment-funded clients have participated in the program. Five have graduated with engineering degrees and found employment. The sixth, Alexandre St. Amand (Industrial Systems Engineering student) has just started the program.

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