Footprints

For many First Nation, Metis, and Inuit students, their journeys into any of the five faculty programs is unique, multi-faceted, and reflective of both our individual and collective experiences. The Indigenous Health Initiatives Program honours each student's journey and the histories, perspectives, and contributions each student carries.  

Footprints: See Yourself Here, is a way of recognizing and honouring the journeys of some of the Indigenous students in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Their profiles and stories reflect their strength, pride, resilience, and incalculable gifts they bring into the program and, as they complete their programs, the health care system broadly and to Indigenous Health specifically. If you are a prospective student, we hope you see part of your journey reflected in the journey of those who come before you and that you see yourself here. 


Brittany Schroeder, 1st Year
MD Program, University of Alberta

My name is Brittany Schroeder, I am a proud Métis woman and descendant of Marie Parenteau and Gabrielle Riguedell from Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. I was born and raised in unceded Syilx/Okanagan Territory (also known as Vernon, BC). I am a member of Métis Nation BC, my local Vernon and District Métis Association (VDMA) and Kelowna Métis Community. I am a first-year medical student from the University of Alberta. As a visitor to the Treaty 6 territory, I feel a sense of belonging because of the Indigenous Health Initiatives Program (IHIP), and their commitment to promoting interest, advocacy, and education in Indigenous health at the University of Alberta. I hope to support and mentor future students starting their own journey on the path to medicine as IHIP has done for me.

To read all her footprint.


Greg ZoBell, 1st Year
Dentistry Program, University of Alberta

My name is Greg ZoBell and I am a member of the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation near Shell Lake, Saskatchewan of the Treaty six territory. I was born in Calgary, but grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I completed two years of education at Lakehead University in a biology-chemistry double major degree and one year at the University of Lethbridge in a biochemistry degree. I am currently in my first year of the dentistry program at the University of Alberta. Several individuals and experiences have led me to pursue a career in dentistry and to be an actively engaged member of the Indigenous community for the University of Alberta Indigenous Health Initiative.

To read all his footprint.


Lauren Cormier, 3rd Year
MD Program, University of Alberta

I graduated from Acadia University in 2016 with a Bachelor  of Science with a Major in Biology and was accepted into the MD Program at the University of Alberta in the fall of 2016. Throughout my undergraduate degree I was always fascinated with the human body and how it worked. When I graduated I knew I wanted a career in health sciences but I wasn’t sure which profession. I’m not really sure what led me to medicine but now that I am here, medical school is so much more  than I could have imagined. The most rewarding part of the MD program is developing well-rounded skills to treat patients not just the illness. I finally understand what people mean when they say the ‘art of medicine’ because it is so much more than treating just the illness. The personal skills you develop in the program not only make you a good doctor but also a better person.  

To read all her footprint.


Nicholas Gibson, 1st Year
MD Program, University of Alberta

Hello, my name is Nicolas Gibson and I am a 1st year Métis medical student from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology at the University of Winnipeg, graduating in June 2018. In my free time, I enjoy golfing, playing beach volleyball, volunteering and landscape drone photography.

I chose to pursue a career in medicine in Grade 11 or 12 after witnessing firsthand the impact a physician can have on someone’s life and reflecting on my own strengths and values. I had the opportunity to shadow a physician for half a day to see what a typical work day looked like and to ask questions about the profession. Although shadowing a physician granted me better insight into this career, my decision was largely influenced by values instilled in me by my faith and my family. The idea of being a part of a profession focused on helping others in their most vulnerable times and guiding people to live more healthier lives seems like the perfect mix of challenge and fulfillment.  

To read all his footprint.


Sean McKenzie, 2nd Year
MD Program, University of Alberta

I am a proud member of the Mid Isle Métis Nation, which resides within the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw and Snaw Naw As First Nations of Vancouver Island.  I did not learn of my Métis heritage until I was an undergraduate student.  My father had just returned from a visit with my grandmother where he learned that she was questioning the truth about our shared family history.  Through research, he discovered that my great-grandmother, who was born shortly after the Northwest Resistance, had hidden our Métis heritage and that I was descended from a long line of Saulteaux and Cree women.  Originally, I didn't understand why she would have done this, but after spending time learning about Métis history and the intergenerational struggles that they endured in western Canada, I came to understand why she had made that difficult choice.  I believe that she made that decision, not out of shame, but in the hopes of giving her family a better life by passing as a "white" Franco Manitoban.  When talking to our local Métis community president, I was told that this was not uncommon.  In fact, she told me that she didn’t learn of her own Métis heritage until she was in her teens.  Her mother, like my great-grandmother, wanted to shield her children from the prejudice that was prevalent at that time. Thankfully, circumstances are slowly beginning to change, but there is still a long way to go.  

To read all his footprint.