Tyra Cockney-Goose is the first Inuk, and the only woman this year, to win the prestigious STEAM Horizon award. The national award recognizes outstanding students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, and comes with a $25,000 scholarship.
Cockney-Goose is from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in Canada’s central Arctic. She’s home for the summer from her studies at the University of Victoria (West Coast) where she is working on a mathematics degree.
When she’s done those studies she hopes to eventually return to the North and teach math and science.
“I … want to be a mentor for young Indigenous youth, especially in the North,” she said.
Cockney-Goose said growing up in the North brings unique challenges, but challenges that can be overcome.
“You can really feel like you can’t do anything because you’re small and … you might find that you might not have as much opportunity,” she said.
“I’d like to push youth to push themselves to their limits because even though they’re from a small place they can still achieve great things.”
Cockney-Goose’s application for the scholarship included her award-winning entry in the Canada Science Fair and the Prime Minister’s Science Fair in 2018. She studied sleep deprivation, using herself as the test subject.
“I studied how sleep deprivation affects the overall quality of life, of myself.”
Cockney-Goose said the $25,000 scholarship will mean a lot for her in the coming years.
“It’ll give me a lot more peace of mind as I’m going on to finishing my post-secondary education,” she said.
“I’ll have a lot more financial stability which will really help me focus more on my studies and not having to focus on, ‘How am I going to get tuition and how am I going to pay for everything?'”
Cockney-Goose was one of five winners of this year’s STEAM Horizon award. The organization does not disclose how many applications it receives for the scholarship, but a spokesperson said the organization received entries from every province and territory.
According to a press release from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Cockney-Goose will work this summer as a Climate Change and Environmental Policy Assistant with the IRC’s research division, where she will work on environmental and climate change data analysis.
Written by Walter Strong based on an interview by Wanda McLeod
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Preschool in east-Arctic Canada wins $1M Arctic Inspiration Prize, CBC News
Sweden: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, Radio Sweden
United States: American science foundation awards $500,000 to food security research in Indigenous communities, Eye on the Arctic