The First Recipient of the ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Fund

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June 6, 2022

Victoria, BC, June 6, 2022 - Kennedy Rolston is the inaugural recipient of the ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Fund Award. She is a fourth-year civil engineering student at the University of Victoria.

Established in June 2021 by AME Group, Gwaii Engineering, Diamond Schmitt, Number TEN Architectural Group, AES Engineering, RJC Engineers, and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre; the ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Fund aims to bring more Indigenous voices into architecture and building design, imbuing these industries with Indigenous values, perspectives and ways of knowing, being and doing.

"Being one of very few women, and one of very few Indigenous people in my classes can be incredibly difficult. Some days it can be hard to find peers that can relate. Having Indigenous engineers and architects to look up to as role models and mentors makes a huge difference. Seeing the possibilities of what you can become and how you can make a difference makes it all seem possible,” said Kennedy Rolston. “I am so grateful to see that there are so many companies in the industry that are supporting Indigenous students in pursuing their careers in engineering and architecture. I hope that this award can inspire many more to pursue their passions in the field and remove the financial barriers that many are facing when it comes to pursuing post-secondary education. I am honoured to receive the ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Award, and hope that someday I can be a mentor to other Indigenous students pursuing engineering or architecture."

“On behalf of our fund’s partners, I wish to congratulate Kennedy Rolston for being the first recipient of our fund,” said Kear Porttris, Chair, ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Advisory Committee. “Kennedy is a model of a young Indigenous technical professional with a very exciting career ahead of her. She embodies the hope we have for future Indigenous professionals, and we look forward to her future success.”

“Our group at ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ is building a foundation to create a network of support for future Indigenous engineers and architects,” continued Kear Porttris. “We are creating a mentorship program that provides Indigenous people access to working professionals that provide industry relationships and support pivotal career choices. On the other side, this program creates a network for Indigenous technical professionals to draw from and collaborate together. We’ve just had our first mentoring session with many of the 2021/2022 applicants, and we are looking forward to building connections and facilitating this network in the coming years.”

The ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Fund provides an annual award of $5,000 to an Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit, or Métis architectural or engineering student in British Columbia. To be eligible, students must identify as an Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit, or Métis persons from British Columbia with a desire to pursue a career in the architecture and engineering industry. All applicants are provided with the opportunity to make direct connections with industry professionals through the fund’s mentorship program.

For more on the Fund, please visit our website:

Download the release and image sheet here