teevi picture edit

Being a Jane Glassco Northern Fellow has its advantages, and so does being an alumna.

From February 21-24, 2020 I had the opportunity of travelling to Yellowknife for my first alumni gathering of Jane Glassco Northern Fellows. I was part of the second cohort and completed the fellowship in October 2015. There have been five cohorts since the program began, with the current cohort starting the program earlier this year.

The Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship is for young Northerners between the ages of 25-35. It’s for those who have a keen interest in using public policy and activism as an effective means for change in the North. The 18-month fellowship trains Fellows through its access to leading edge speakers and mentors, who use their expertise to introduce cohorts to tools and knowledge they can use in their careers.

Each Fellow is responsible for writing an individual paper on a specific policy or policies they want changed. My paper was entitled Why We Need a Canadian Arctic University, and looked specifically at Ilisimatusarfik, or the University of Greenland, where I interviewed founders, a founding student, professors, and students to see how they started their very own circumpolar university.

During my fellowship we also had a group paper, Integrating Traditional Practices into Inuit Mental Wellness Programs. Additional components of the fellowship include traditional knowledge modules led by Elders. My cohort spent time in Yellowknife, Toronto (The Gordon Foundation headquarters), Whitehorse and Iqaluit.

This Fellowship allows you to have an extensive network of not only Northerners (Fellows and alumni), but also experts, academics and The Gordon Foundation to draw from. As an alumna, you have an annual fund that you can use to build upon your professional experience or for training purposes.

The picture above shows a Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship alumni panel speaking to the current fellows about our experience during and after their Fellowship – mainly the opportunities that opened up after the program.


Second cohort alumni in attendance for this year’s gathering. Back left to right: myself, Itoah Scott-Enns of Yellowknife, Nina Larsson of Yellowknife and in front Mitchell White, originally from Nunatsiavut and currently living in Ottawa.

On Saturday February 22 after the Fellows and alumni panel discussions, we had the option of either dog sledding or learning how to bead. I chose dog sledding since I don’t quite have patience for beading yet!


After the dog sledding we went to this nearby cabin, where the owner of the dogs and cabin told us stories about his family’s traditional lifestyle of dog sledding. I did not know that First Nations also had dog teams!

On Sunday February 23, the last alumni day was spent at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Auditorium in Yellowknife. During the day we shared experiences in our professional lives and also did a workshop with a life coach, who also offered her time to us (one-on-one) after this gathering.