Aboriginal People in ICT: Chatawna Nicholas

 Chatawna Nicholas

Chatawna Nicholas

Chatawna Nicholas had been living in Japan when she had to return to New Brunswick unexpectedly due to family obligations. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do when she returned home but after she heard about JEDI’s ICT orientation course she decided to sign up. When her instructor introduced her to HTML and CSS, it was love at “Hello World”, her first bit of computer programming. Now Chatawna has graduated from JEDI’s Mobile Application Development course and is able to program in the latest technology for both the Apple and Android platforms.

“Programming humbles me and gets me excited about the world,” said Chatawna. “It opens things up for me. JEDI has made me focus my career path. It was like magic when I wrote my first program. This program and what I’ve experienced has come to some kind of a pinnacle in my life. This program is helping me to go over the other side. I’m really thankful for this program.”

JEDI, in conjunction with the Collège Communautaire de Nouveau-Brunswick, created a 57 week Mobile Application Development (MAD) program. The cutting-edge curriculum was created based on industry needs and also includes a cultural component designed specifically for Aboriginal students.

The 16 Aboriginal graduates from JEDI’s MAD program came from several First Nation communities around New Brunswick. Chatawna is from Tobique First Nation and started studying the MAD program in Miramichi and finished it off with the Fredericton class.

Chatawna feels ready to join an ICT company.

“It (the MAD program) gave me a good overview of computer language and because of being in this program I’ve made contacts in the IT industry and in the business world around Fredericton,” said Chatawna. “I love the programming. I’m leaning more towards the design aspect of it. I like how a simple idea can be carried out through programming. I think it’s really exciting.”

At some point in the future, Chatawna would like to start her own business. She wants to develop her own style and find her own way with her company.

“I want to take what I’ve learned and create my own company. Eventually, I want to go into the Asian market. I want to take some of my ideas back to Japan as they will only work there. I really just want to make a difference in this world. If I can do this with what I’ve learned and my knowledge, I’m happy to do that.”

Chatawna’s advice for those thinking about going into ICT is this, “Stay focused as best you can. Only do it if you love it. Everyone has times when they are doubting, but just keep plugging along and going forward. Every experience you have is something that you can gain from.”

JEDI wishes Chatawna the best of luck with her future plans and congratulations on successfully completing the Mobile Application Development Course.