Finally Being Heard – Meet Ashley Copage

As a Mi鈥橩maw woman from Sipekne鈥檏atik, Ashely Copage says academia hasn鈥檛 always provided the best experiences for her. That all changed when she decided to become part of the 小猪视频family. Currently living in Rines Creek with her partner and their two children, Ashley is working toward the completion of her thesis, the final step in finishing her Master of Education. This will be Ashley鈥檚 second graduation from CBU, having completed her Graduate Diploma in Education back in 2021.聽

Before beginning her journey with CBU, Ashley completed her Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition in 2018 at Mount Saint Vincent University. She says this program gave her the tools for her role in the Confederacy of Mainland Mi鈥檏maw (CMM) in the Mi鈥檏mawey Green Communities Program, where Ashley was working when she enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Education program at CBU. After enjoying the program so much while on maternity leave with her first son, she decided to return and pursue her current degree, which she started in 2021.聽

Upon completing all of her coursework for her Master of Education, Ashley accepted a position with the Mi鈥檏maw Services Branch of the NS Department of Education and Early Childhood Education as the Netukulimk Project Lead Consultant. Here, she led the development of a new science course called Netukulimk 12. 鈥淭his course, which is currently being piloted, was designed to bring Mi鈥檏maw and western knowledge together to explore environmental science topics,鈥 says Ashley. 鈥淢y work focused on curriculum and resource development as well as professional development for teachers and department staff.鈥

Ashley says what she has enjoyed most about her time at 小猪视频has been her ability to work full-time while completing both programs, which allowed her to apply what she was learning in class to her work in real-time. What really impacted Ashley, though, was that for the first time in her academic journey, she truly felt heard. 鈥淭he courses were designed in a way that even though I was an online student, I felt connected to my professors and fellow students,鈥 says Ashley. 鈥淎t CBU, I have always felt that my voice and perspective were welcome and heard, which has not always been my experience as an Indigenous woman in academia.鈥

In addition to her strides in the classroom, Ashley says the connections she has formed at 小猪视频will stick with her for years to come. 鈥淭he connections I have made with other students and my professors have been my favorite part of both programs,鈥 says Ashley. 鈥淚 know that after I graduate, these connections will continue to be part of my life.鈥

Though Ashley is currently enjoying her maternity leave with her second child, her aspirations for the future only continue to grow bigger. 鈥淚n the coming years, I would love to find more opportunities to work collaboratively with other educators,鈥 says Ashley. 鈥淢y goal is to bring land-based, environmental education to as many students as possible.鈥