“Getting an education is about self-improvement,” says Rhode Thomas. “But through volunteering, I get to help my community, and I get a different kind of self-fulfillment. I feel like everything I have done at Trent has helped my leadership skills a lot, specifically pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. But I was always surrounded by a team giving me advice, helping me through challenges, and opening doors for my future.”
Rhode Thomas, a fourth-year Business Administration student from Six Nations of the Grand River, specializing in Niigaaniiwin, has taken advantage of many opportunities and supports available to him at Trent, fueling his personal and professional passions.
Mr. Thomas secured funding from the Trillium Foundation to launch a research project aimed at providing support for Indigenous students to improve student retention and graduation. The project is currently focused on understanding the experience of Indigenous students at universities by engaging with other student groups at schools across the province. He is looking to identify where support for Indigenous university students exists or is lacking, and then using that information to develop a provincial strategy for student groups to better help Indigenous students at their schools.
Mr. Thomas also recently received the Business Student Leadership Prize from the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce for his volunteer work with the Trent University Native Association (TUNA) as a former president, the Trent Central Student Association, and as a Youth Advisory Committee member with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.