By Rick Garrick
THUNDER BAY – Waterwalker Josephine Mandamin’s granddaughter is considering a career in biology after examining specimens with microscopes at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s Summer Health Sciences Camp.
“I was really interested in that because of drawing (the specimens), studying them and researching them,” says Rhiannon Magiskan, a Grade 10 student and Wikwemikong citizen who lives in Fort William First Nation. “I hope to do that when I’m older because that’s what really caught my eye when I was going through the activities.”
Held from July 8-12 at both of NOSM’s Sudbury and Thunder Bay campuses, the camp featured a variety of activities, including cast preparation and removal, CSI techniques, historic and modern medicines, traditional healing ceremonies, examination of a preserved heart and preparation for careers in medicine, nursing and emergency care.
“We did this blood pressure (examination) — we put needles in your fingers and we tested your blood pressure,” Magiskan says. “And we made face masks — that was pretty exciting.”
Magiskan enjoyed meeting and working with the students and staff at the Thunder Bay campus, located at Lakehead University, as well as communicating via online video chats with students and staff at the Sudbury campus, located at Laurentian University.
“It’s different faces and different people,” Magiskan says. “Meeting new faces is always fun.”
Magiskan also enjoyed checking out the university grounds, especially the elevator in the ATAC building.
“There’s windows in the elevator and you can see yourself going up and down,” Magiskan says. “I was so fun here — I love the college, I love the university and I hope to come here when I’m older.”
NOSM’s annual Summer Health Sciences Camps are held to provide Grade 10 and 11 students, including rural, remote, Aboriginal and Francophone students, with an opportunity to learn about the different professions in the healthcare sector, obtain hands-on experience and find a mentor.
Magiskan’s mother, Teresa Trudeau, encouraged her daughter to attend the camp due to her interest in science.
“Rhiannon has a strong interest in physics and science — she’s a fan of Albert Einstein,” says Trudeau, traditional coordinator at Anishnawbe Mushkiki in Thunder Bay. “I know her desire some day is to go to school here.”
Trudeau says the camp’s activities were geared towards her daughter’s interests.
“She is always learning something new,” Trudeau says. “I look forward to seeing her culminating project at the closing event on (July 12). And I’m hoping I’ll be able to bring my mother (Mandamin) there also to see her presentation.”
Magiskan encouraged other youth to apply for next year’s camp.
“The kids are outgoing and you get to meet a lot of new faces,” Magiskan says. “And it’s completely fun.”