Hannah Thomas is a 22-year-old community member of Six Nations of the Grand River. She has been a client at GREAT since she was in high school, and has accessed many programs that were available to her.
In the summer of 2017, Hannah registered for the Youth Job Connection program offered through Employment Ontario. This program assisted Hannah in creating her first resume and cover letter, preparing for an interview, and ultimately landing her first summer job with Porter Law Office as an administrative assistant.
“GREAT helped me get ready to enter the workforce and provide me with experience that I can build upon."
In 2019 Hannah decided to attend Brock University to study Psychology. During her undergrad, she felt as though she did not belong in psychology research as an Indigenous student as she had very little representation. Despite those feelings, Hannah persevered and realized that she had to make a place for herself and be confident that she was there for a reason. Hannah shared that GREAT helped build this self-confidence by allowing her to try different fields during her summer employment and making her feel secure when needing to make choices about her journey later on.
Although GREAT did not pay for Hannah’s post-secondary education, we were able to help her gain experience and remove barriers to summer employment along the way. During her undergrad years, Hannah continued to seek summer employment through GREAT’s student job board while also receiving Student/Employment Transition Supports so that she could purchase the necessary items needed while she was employed and a student.
“GREAT helped me transition into my employment by providing me with funds to purchase professional work attire. This allowed me to focus more on starting a new job and my new routine rather than how I was going to present myself professionally, which in turn, helped my confidence.”
GREAT was beyond proud to hear that Hannah has recently graduated from her Psychology program at Brock University. She received an undergraduate research award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which allows her to continue her work on her undergraduate thesis. Hannah is currently researching the development of children’s associative memory and is excited to continue this work into the summer. After the summer, Hannah will return to Brock University to work within academia as a Research Lab Manager.
Over the next 5 years, Hannah sees herself attending graduate school to continue her studies and hopes to give back to her community by doing community-based research that is meaningful and impactful.
We asked Hannah what advice she would give to potential clients who are unsure of their career path or next steps…
“If I were going to give advice, I would emphasize that life is not a race. I wish I had taken more time to reflect, try new things, and give myself grace throughout my undergrad degree. Also, it is important to remember that there are supports available and that there is no shame in reaching out.”