Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Phoenix Clark, I am from Chawathil First Nation, and I am a student at Hope Secondary School in a small town of Hope, BC. I help my mom with cultural and recreational activities for youth, while also participating in cultural activities by drumming alongside my family. I am still working on my singing voice. I grew up with long hair and had it for 16 years. It became a part of who I am today. Even though I cut 8 inches off this spring following the death of my uncle, I still honour the life lessons it gave me; the ability to recognize the truth, to endure the hurt, and to respect others.

Education was always a major part of my life. My mom is an early education teacher, and I am so grateful to have a mom to teach me sign-language and to enjoy math as I do now. I grew up with an endless curiosity and imagination. I was curious about how the world works, down to a physical (molecular) level. Driven by inventions made by superheroes and the works of science fiction in novels and movies. From Ironman’s suit of armor to the Flash’s ability go beyond the speed of light by a multiple of 13 trillion.

Nowadays, I am interested in the stories of Nicolas Tesla, Shuji Nakamura, and Isaac Newton where their ambitions helped lead society to where it is now. Their stories feel a lot like mine, where a question becomes reality. Where a dare becomes the future. Where ambition prevails and a better world takes its place. I believe in myself to the point where failure is not an option but an experiment. An experiment to learn from mistakes and to push forward.

Q: Why do you want to participate in the Shad program/ What are you most looking forward to?

Shad! Combining STEAM with entrepreneurship in one program! It felt amazing because it relates to my dream of making my own startup tech company like Google or Facebook. Something with an application of science and innovation. I am inspired by big thinkers like Steve Jobs, and how he started in a garage and then worked his way up into a company like Apple. I have big dreams when it comes to innovation and when it comes to my discipline, I look towards my long-term vision. Shad offers a starting point. A place for me to see what is possible while also gaining experience.

Q: What motivates or sparks your curiosity in STEAM and/or entrepreneurship?   

I find it fascinating how creativity and technological proficiency can come together to solve problems in the real world and bring about constructive change. The chance to investigate cutting-edge technology, unearth novel scientific findings, and create inventive solutions to challenging issues is of interesting to me and motivates me to seek out new information and experiences. 

Q: How do you envision your future?

I see myself attending university, preferably Waterloo as my first choice, doing a co-op program in Mathematical Physics. It offers such a great opportunity to earn a degree while also gaining work experience in the field of Physics, it does not seem real! After my post-secondary education and (hopefully) work experience in Mathematical Physics, Mechatronics/Software Engineering, I want to start projects that can propel me forward into the field of science, AI, and technology. I have the same attitude regarding Physics. If making my own project is too difficult, I would then apply to be a part of NASA, CSA, or SpaceX, where I can use my mathematical skills to strike through collective problems to lift humanity higher in the Kardashev scale in terms of accessibility and space travel. I also find energy to be really cool!

Later, when I feel satisfied with my work and what I accomplished, my plans are to give back to the community, specifically to underfunded schools by providing kids with opportunities just like this one. I also want to write non-fiction novels based on my own experiences where I can change any stigmas on science so I can provide a pathway for success to other Indigenous kids like me. Then in my ‘free time’ I want to write horror stories that can be turned into movies, like much of Stephen King’s work. As a lifelong learner, there will always be something new for me to learn. On this road to self-discovery there’s always new adventures and opportunities that can enrich my growth.

Want to meet the other Indigenous Scholars? Read their stories

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