At its ten-year anniversary, the Indigenous student support and youth outreach initiative known as Aboriginal Access to Engineering is adopting a new name:

Indigenous Futures in Engineering logo

The Aboriginal Access to Engineering initiative began ten years ago with a single desk in the student services office at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and just four identified Indigenous students across the faculty.

“If you have 0.3% of all engineers identifying as Indigenous,” says Melanie Howard, the director InEng since late 2012, “the chances of Indigenous kids finding themselves on a path to this profession without a concerted effort to attract and support them is very slim.”

The program has grown remarkably through its decade-plus in operation, thanks in no small part to the generous support of Queen’s Engineering alumni as well as funding opportunities such as NSERC’s PromoScience program.

Today it encompasses both student support for Indigenous students at Queen’s Engineering and youth outreach to Indigenous communities in Southern Ontario. In 2021 it launched the faculty’s newest youth outreach program, Black Youth in STEM. It also inspired the expansion of its innovative student support method to encompass undergraduate Indigenous students in all STEM degree programs across the entire campus through a new student service banner, STEM: Indigenous Academics (STEM:InA).

All the while, close to 45 identified Indigenous students have been enrolled each year in engineering at Queen’s over the last five years, and 48 students have graduated from engineering programs to date.

All the details...

(Re-)introducing: Indigenous Futures in Engineering — articulates the purpose and intention of the new name and speaks to its connection with Indigenous professionals, members of the initiative’s Circle of Advisors which includes representation from the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, and alumni of Queen’s InEng services.

InEng nurtures a supportive culture for Indigenous students of engineering at Queen’s — highlights the unique method of student support that aims to engage and uplift Indigenous engineering students academically, culturally, and socially while at Queen’s.


Community-based youth outreach inspires future Indigenous engineers — focuses exclusively on InEng’s external-facing work presenting workshops to Indigenous youth in First Nations communities in Southern Ontario and incorporating STEM concepts which complement curricular goals developed by teachers of Indigenous youth.


InEng connects Indigenous students with resources on campus, across Canada, and internationally — provides a snapshot of the InEng student support philosophy in action, featuring collaborations unique to Indigenous engineering students who participate annually in a NASA-sponsored rocket launch competition, and community-building as members of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.


STEM:InA provides Indigenous student services to all undergraduate STEM-focused programs at Queen’s — looks at the initiative’s newest endeavor, STEM: Indigenous Academics, an expansion of the InEng method of student support to include Indigenous students enrolled in every STEM-based degree program in the Faculties of Health Sciences, and Arts & Science, as well as the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.