Vanessa Smith

Six Nations of the Grand River
McMaster University
Medical Radiation Science

As a young woman from Six Nations who always had a fondness for math and science, Vanessa knew early on that she wanted to work in a health-related field. Though currently in her first year of the Medical Radiation Science Program at McMaster University, it wasn’t a straightforward path to get there.

“I did my first year of post-secondary at Six Nations Polytechnic in the one-year consortium program,” Vanessa said. “After this I applied at McMaster for Medical Radiation Science, but I didn’t get in, so I switched into Indigenous studies. In the Indigenous studies program, I completed my 3rd year before I transferred over to Medical Radiation Science, which is a 4-year program.”

Vanessa demonstrates the kind of resilience and determination needed to achieve your dreams, and proves that even though there may be setbacks, giving up is never an option. Now that she’s in her dream program, Vanessa values every moment – good or bad.

“The best part about being in a health/ science program is being able to implement Indigenous knowledge into the research I am doing,” said Vanessa. “And after I [graduate], I hope to be able to use my knowledge to benefit Indigenous communities.”

Giving back to her community is extremely important to Vanessa and she encourages other Indigenous youth to do the same! “With a technical career, there will be so many opportunities for First Nations students to work along [with] many First Nations communities to help so many things that most First Nations lack, such as adequate housing and fresh drinking water.”

Vanessa’s advice to students considering a post-secondary education is to “make sure you do your research and make sure the school you pick is some place you will enjoy.”


Science is about understanding the truths and facts of our natural laws. This is such a large area that it has been split into many different professions in order to understand it all. From physics to studying the human body, science is the backbone of human civilization and the fuel for all trades and careers.


  • Math 
  • Knowledge  
  • Health
  • Space
  • How everything works

SALARY RANGE: $46,000 – $140,000+ (Average of $87,000)


  • Psychologist
  • Environmental Science
  • Biochemist  
  • Forensic


  • Science, Math, Health, English, History


  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Pre-Med (Bachelors Degree)
  • Pre-Health Sciences
  • Medical Radiation