Canadian Consulting Engineer

Engineering and architecture firms bestow first B.C. Indigenous student award

June 6, 2022

The fund was established in 2021.

Kennedy Rolston

Photo courtesy RJC Engineers.

Kennedy Rolston, a fourth-year civil engineering student at University of Victoria, is the inaugural recipient of the ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Fund Award, which was established last year by RJC Engineers, AME Group, Gwaii Engineering, Diamond Schmitt, Number Ten Architectural Group and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC).

The fund, which provides an annual award of $5,000 to an Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit or Métis student in British Columbia, aims to bring more Indigenous voices, values, perspectives and ways of knowing, being and doing into the building design and architecture professions. All applicants get an opportunity to make direct connections with industry professionals through a mentorship program.

“Having Indigenous engineers and architects to look up to as role models and mentors makes a huge difference,” says Rolston. “As one of very few women and Indigenous people in my classes, it can be hard to find peers who can relate. I am honoured to receive the ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Award and hope someday I can be a mentor to other Indigenous students pursuing careers in engineering and architecture.”

“On behalf of our partners, I congratulate Kennedy for being the first recipient of our fund,” says Kear Porttris, director of Indigenous relations for QM Environmental and chair of the award’s advisory committee. “We’ve just had our first mentoring session with many of the 2021/2022 applicants and we look forward to building connections in the coming years.”

For more details about the fund, visit


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