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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

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From star student to star employee

Nicole Mastnak

Nicole Mastnak | Class of 2008
Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Nicole gives full marks to UOIT for preparing her to adapt to the constant change that's an integral part of her role as an educator.

"Change and transition are a given in the world of post-secondary education," she says. "Being among the first cohort to attend UOIT, I lived through a lot of shifting sands. This helped me develop the life skill of accepting and managing change, for which I am forever thankful." Nicole also gained invaluable exposure to cultural diversity through her involvement in campus activities and collaboration with peers, professors and mentors.

The skills she acquired led to her dream job – teaching full time at Durham College and participating in student- and employee-focused events. It's obviously a good fit. Her colleagues nominated her last year for the Employee Award of Excellence and she also received an Applause Program Gold Star for her work on the college's Key Performance Indicator Student Satisfaction Survey.

Nicole also volunteers as captain of the Durham College Cares Run for the Cure team. "I believe I have a duty to better the lives of others," she says. "The world of education is full of learners who long to be inspired by knowledge and leadership; that is why I chose a career in this field."

Nicole believes the university experience is a pivotal step in every student's future. She says obtaining good grades is important in post-secondary education. "However, the most crucial thing you can do in your studies is connect with people," she adds. "Your professors, administrative staff, colleagues – these are the memories that not only last a lifetime, but also may lead you to your next step in life."