Feb 10, 2020
Kate Boyer is a first-year College of Arts and Science student in the Gabriel Dumont College program. She is known in her program for her commitment and ambition towards her Métis citizenship. She is culturally, academically and artistically talented with a dedication to life-long learning and strives for excellence in everything that she does.
Boyer will receive an award for academic excellence at this year’s Indigenous Student Achievement Awards on Feb. 6. Indigenous students from across the University of Saskatchewan (USask) will be honoured at a ceremony to recognize their academic excellence, leadership, research endeavours or community engagement.
The award ceremony is part of Indigenous Achievement Week (IAW), which celebrates the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty. The festivities include a public art project, speakers and celebrations in various locations across campus.
We asked Boyer a few questions about her time at USask and what motivates her.
As a first-year student, you seem to have a good academic and social life balance. What has helped you to stay motivated and committed to your studies?
This makes me sound sort of weird I guess but in all honesty, I love learning. It’s not that I love homework or anything (I definitely don’t love that) but I like the challenge. In the olden days, they used to have battles and tests where people proved themselves, but nowadays the equivalent to that is being a student, using your mind to prove yourself. Being a student is like being a modern-day hero. If I ever feel discouraged about school or anything like that I just remember what my dad told me: “love what you do, no matter what always find the fun in it.”
What advice would you give to an Indigenous student just starting university classes?
I’m speaking directly to Métis students here, those of you who are like me and don’t look Indigenous and might feel like outsiders. Basically my philosophy is: If you can’t fit in anywhere then you might as well stand out everywhere. I mean you shouldn’t feel trapped into being what other people expect of you. You should lead by your passions and your inner fire, not the guidelines set out for you.
What plans do you have for the future?
Well, I’m open to whatever the universe has in store for me but what I would love to do is create public spaces that help bring about social solidarity and equality through design. If I can just make life a little better for a lot of people then that counts as a success to me.
Has there been someone in your life who has inspired you to get to where you are today?
Actually I am always inspired by Robin Williams. Though he wasn’t in my life, I share his outlook on the importance of making people laugh or even just smile. I think there is no nobler pursuit than trying to make someone smile. As for someone in my life inspiring me… well, I’m inspired by everyone I meet in a different way. Everyone has a part of them that is totally amazing and admirable and I think we could all better ourselves by looking for that part in everyone.
This year’s IAW theme is Indigenous knowledge systems. How can Indigenous knowledge systems improve the world we live in?
Well, since the world is wholistic (as are most Indigenous knowledge systems) I believe it is very important to use these systems when solving global issues. Because without looking at the full picture it is impossible to see the problem clearly. It would be like continuously filling a pail with water instead of fixing the hole.
The article was first published on news.usask.ca. It is reprinted here with permission
Kate Boyer will receive an award for academic excellence at this year’s Indigenous Student Achievement Awards on Feb. 6. (Photo: Carey Shaw)