The Lethbridge College community offers its congratulations to Tristen Brown, a 2018 graduate of the Civil Engineering Technology program, who was named one of 166 winners of the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship earlier this month. The scholarships, only 55 of which are given in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), are valued at $50,000 a year for three years, and are awarded to graduate students in Canada who demonstrate leadership skills, research potential and academic excellence in their studies.
The scholarship will support Brown as he completes his Ph.D. program in Civil Engineering at Lakehead University, where he earned a master’s degree in 2022 and his bachelor’s degree in 2020. All of his education after leaving the college has focused on wind and structural engineering, and his current doctoral research is focused on innovative solutions to modular homes for Indigenous communities throughout Canada.
“This scholarship will help me push my research topic to many communities throughout Canada by implementing a strategic housing solution,” says Brown. “This can be completed by travelling and communicating to many of the communities throughout Canada that are in need of a housing solution. The work can then be published in many significant publications and conferences to further distribute our research strategies.”
Brown, who grew up in Edson, Alta., says coming to the college helped prepare him for the work he is doing now. “Lethbridge College prepared me for many obstacles, such as scheduling my school, free time and social life,” says Brown. “It has prepared me for many educational hurdles, not only in schooling but in life as well. My time there taught me how to learn by completing hands-on training throughout my educational journey. And lastly, the college prepared me to get out of my comfort zone and interact with many people that I can consider friends.”
Brown says he remains connected to a close group of friends he met during the first week of the first year when the class was assigned to pick a group of people to complete the first assignment of a course. “The bonding in everyone was phenomenal and has continued to grow,” he says. He credits many people with helping to make a difference in his academic journey – friends within and outside of his post-secondary programs – as well as his parents, sister, grandparents, and partner, in addition to his academic instructors and colleagues in the engineering industry.
“Tristen was a great student and a pleasure to have in the classroom,” recalls Doug May, Civil Engineering Technology instructor. “He was always motivated to excel in his studies and to include his classmates to create a team-learning environment.”
Brown says he is thankful for his First Nation community of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation for supporting his academic career and acknowledges all of the Indigenous communities and peoples who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. He says he is also grateful for the traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders who are still with us today and for those who have gone before us.
The Government of Canada launched the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program in 2008 to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health.