For May’s Alumni Highlights series, we spoke with Nicole Callihoo (MPA’14), a graduate of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS). Nicole currently serves as the program director for the National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund in Ottawa, ON. Nicole established the All My Relations Award for students enrolled in the JSGS Master of Public Administration program.
Tell us about the campus when you went to the U of S; how is it different today?
I attended U of S from 2012 to 2014. I don’t think much has changed since I left. The newness of fall always brought me happiness; walking on campus during the first few weeks on a new school year found me content to learn new things a new adventure and a feeling of privilege to be in an academic setting. Walking through the Bowl with the change of the season and leaves bright with color was a great feeling.
What’s one of your favourite memories you had outside of the classroom?
I was involved with the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) and the Indigenous Graduate Students’ Council; very involved on campus. It was great to be part of a community on campus and come together to discuss issues on campus with opportunity to build friendships with other graduate students. I was part of the GSA and the planning of the first GSA awards gala. It was so nice to be a part of the student community on campus.
Overall, how was your U of S experience?
U of S was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot and was provided with so many opportunities as a result of my time in campus. The time is spent at U of S was the most important investment for me.
How did going to the U of S shape your career?
I am currently the program director at the National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund. Obtaining my Masters in Public Administration really boosted my confidence and my career. As the program director, I have the opportunity to build and provide support to First Nation communities in their pursuit of language retention and cultural knowledge. This position at the NIB Trust Fund is very humbling and any opportunity to positively affect our communities drives my passion.
What did you wish you would have known on your first day at the U of S?
I really wanted to meet more Indigenous graduate students.
Check in for monthly Q&As with alumni from all the U of S colleges, as talk about their life after the U of S and how being on this campus shaped their careers. In case you missed any previous features, you can read them here.