Learning with Head and Heart


Research Western and Western Student Experience, in partnership with the Indigenous Student Centre, have created a unique summer research program for Indigenous undergraduate students. Rooted in the idea of Respect, as described in Western’s Indigenous Strategic Plan, this program aims to “recogni[ze] the complex and diverse nature of Indigenous Knowledge systems and languages, and the need to foster congruence between Indigenous paradigms and academic worlds.”

The Head & Heart program aims to open space for Indigenous students to use Indigenous Knowledge systems and language within undergraduate summer research projects across a wide variety of academic disciplines. Students will be provided bursaries to complete 14 weeks of research with designated allied and Indigenous faculty members.

Students will also have the opportunity to develop skills and capacity in disciplines they may have not yet experienced in their academic or life journey. They will be given additional support by being placed in small groups, with mentorship provided by designated Indigenous Student Centre staff members. This support is intended to guide students and their supervisors through the process of creating respectful, reciprocal, responsible and relevant research projects.

Application Details and Eligibility

  • Full program details and guidelines (PDF)
  • Applications for 2019 have now closed.
  • This opportunity is open to students who self-identify as Indigenous to Turtle Island (North America)
  • Students must be currently working toward an undergraduate degree and have not yet
  • Students may not have previously held a Head and Heart Fellowship

Value and Term

  • 18 awards of $7,650 will be awarded
  • The expectation of this award is that it is full-time employment, which is considered to be 35 hours/week for a 14-week period
  • Students must be ready to report for work on May 13, 2019 and the 14-week period will terminate August 19, 2019

Requested Materials

  • Students are asked to submit a five-minute video (videos can be emailed directly or uploaded to YouTube/Vimeo, etc. with a link provided by email) that answers the following questions:
    • Who you are and how you describe your belonging to Indigenous community
      (for instance a home community in which you grew up or have strong bonds;
      a community that feels like home; an urban Indigenous community, etc.)
    • What inspires you about learning (please provide an example of a learning
      moment(s) you have experienced in your academic and/or life journey that has
      inspired you in some way)
    • What learning with your Head and your Heart means to you as an Indigenous
      person and student
    • How you think this learning opportunity will enhance your academic journey
    • Any other important information you would like us to know
  • A set of unofficial transcripts from Western should be emailed as a PDF
  • A testimonial or letter of support from your community, an elder, a professor or a
    mentor from Western, or any other organization, should be emailed as a PDF
  • All documents are to be emailed to: Mariam Hayward.
  • If you are unable to provide a video, but still wish to apply, please contact Mariam by email


For questions about this opportunity, please contact Mariam Hayward, Knowledge Transfer and Impact Manager (519-661-2111 ext. 84502)