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Ontario Power Generation awards scholarships to Indigenous students

Annual John Wesley Beaver Scholarship awards $10,000 to each recipient
OPG scholarship winners
(l-r) Tiffany Plain, Brittney Pigeau, Desiree Boulter (OPG supplied photo)

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has named three Indigenous scholarship recipients as part of this year's class of the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship Program.

The three Indigenous students, including two with Northern Ontario ties, each received $10,000 scholarship awards from OPG.

The John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship is named after one of the most notable engineers in Ontario Power Generation (OPG) history. Established in 1995, the award is administered by OPG's Indigenous Circle, a resource and networking group for Indigenous employees.

This year's awards went to:

Bruce Mines' Desiree Boulter, an Algoma University biology student and a member of the Red Rock Indian Band. Her future goals involve educating and inspiring people on the subject of sustainable living.

Brittney Pigeau from North Bay, and a member of Marten Falls First Nation, is into environmental studies at Carleton University, a field where she sees her future career.

Tiffany Plain, a member of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia, is at Lambton College studying chemical production and power engineering technology at Lambton College. Upon graduating, she would like to become a nuclear operator.

First Nations (status or non-status), Inuit or Métis students are eligible for the John Wesley Beaver Scholarship.

"This award will allow me to prioritize my academic success," said Boulter in an OPG news release. "It also boosted my confidence and made me feel supported – both of which help me better handle school-related challenges."

"Receiving this scholarship has significantly assisted in meeting school-related expenses, allowing me to live close to school to complete my studies," said Pigeau in a statement. "I would highly encourage other students to apply for this award."

"Receiving this scholarship has allowed me to focus exclusively on my studies while I complete my education, by reducing the financial burden," said Plain. "I'm very grateful to OPG for taking steps to increase Indigenous representation in their workforce and for building relationships with Indigenous communities."

John Wesley Beaver, who died in 1980, was a fighter pilot during the Second World War and served as chief of Alderville First Nation in the early 1950s. He joined Ontario Hydro in 1949 as a junior engineer and quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the operations engineer for northeastern Ontario.

"OPG has a strong track record in developing and maintaining mutually beneficial working relationships with Indigenous communities throughout Ontario, and we have committed, through the Reconciliation Action Plan, to doing more," said Heather Ferguson, senior vice-president of business development strategy and corporate affairs. "Helping these very deserving students achieve their educational goals is just the kind of concrete action we pledged to undertake to help build a better future."

"I commend OPG for supporting these accomplished students as we work to build relationships with indigenous communities and advance reconciliation through concrete action," said provincial Energy Minister Todd Smith.