Ashlyn Quesnelle (1)
Ashlyn Quesnelle receiving the Historical Society
of Ottawa Award. Click here for larger picture.

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen Ashlyn Quesnelle is enjoying great success in her studies and in the pursuit of her career. Ashlyn is from Midland and her entire family have always resided there. She graduated from McMaster University in 2009 with a degree in History and Peace Studies. She later went back to school in Ottawa to pursue an advanced diploma in Applied Museum Studies from Algonquin College, where she recently graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

In the summer of 2016, Ashlyn was the chosen one of 30 Indigenous students from across Canada to participate in a pilot program called Indigenous Youth Summer Employment Opportunity (IYSEO) that was spearheaded by the Federal Government and the Assembly of First Nations. She was appointed to an internship position within the Deputy Minister’s Office at Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. The program was an intensive 10-week introduction to the federal public service. Students were placed across the various ministries with the goal of providing meaningful work experience for young Indigenous employees.

It was at the IYSEO where Ashlyn met Gina Wilson. Ms. Wilson is the highest ranking Indigenous Woman in the Federal government. Ms. Wilson was the Associate Deputy Minister of Public Safety and had recently been appointed Deputy Minister of the Status of Women. She was also instrumental in the success of the IYSEO program. Due to the tremendous success of the pilot program, it has not only continued this year but has ballooned to include nearly 120 students. As a graduate, Ashlyn is no longer eligible but has volunteered to remain active with this year’s cohort as an alumnus or mentor.

On April 10, 2017, Ashlyn was one of the five women to receive the 2017 Norton Rose Fulbright LLP Famous 5 Ottawa Mentorship Award. The award’s goal is to provide a platform for young women to engage in public speaking by drafting an introduction for the guest speakers in the Nation Builder series event. The Nation Builder series event is hosted by the Famous 5 Foundation. The goal of the event is to celebrate women’s successes and inspire them to become Nation Builders in the legacy of the Famous 5. Winning this award was especially sweet for Ashlyn because she had the opportunity to provide the introduction to her mentor Ms. Wilson.

Ashlyn also won a Historical Society of Ottawa Award for contributing to the research, preservation and presentation of Ottawa’s local history. This was awarded in most part due to her participation in developing the City of Ottawa Archives’ Canada 150 exhibition. “It was important that a greater representation and cultural understanding of Indigenous histories within the City of Ottawa be portrayed,” Ashlyn said. “I worked closely with members of the Algonquin community in order to share their perspectives and history, which has arguably been lost or forgotten within the City of Ottawa,” she added.

Ashlyn has been offered a full-time permanent position at Canadian Heritage which will start on May 29. Canadian Heritage has created a new position for Ashlyn as a PM-03 Policy Officer. This is extremely rare and she is very excited about the opportunity. Ashlyn thinks she will love the job and feels it will be an absolute perfect fit for her.

Posted: May 29, 2017