Two Algoma U Grads to Present at ICQI at University of Illinois

Algoma University - Denise Richer
Denise Richer

Bachelor of Social Work graduates Denise Richer and Bernadette Pizzey will be presenting their individual research projects at the esteemed 11th International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Illinois from May 20th – 24th.

Denise Richer, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is of Métis heritage. As a student, she was employed as a Métis Research Assistant, working with the Métis Advisory Committee, which is comprised of members from the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gaming, Anishinaabe Initiatives Division, and the Bachelor of Social Work program. She will be presenting “The Contemporary Experiences of Métis People in Northern Ontario”, which reveals the preliminary findings of Métis experiences in Bawating, including Métis childhood, way of life, history, family structure, education, politics, language, connection to the land, and their richness of culture.

Her findings will guide a Métis Social Work curriculum that meets Algoma University’s Bachelor of Social Work’s mission to cultivate cross-cultural learning between Aboriginal communities and other communities. Their findings will help future social workers to have a greater understanding of the unique needs of Métis people while expanding their ability to practice anti-oppressive social work. Their findings will also fill the gap in Métis learnings at Algoma U, but also pay respect to Chief Shingwauk’s Métis heritage and his ‘Teaching Wigwam’.

Bernadette Pizzey is from Forestburg, Alberta and is of Métis heritage. She recently presented “Molly’s Story”, a chapter from her book Travelling Truths: Highway Memoirs (2013) at the 2014 National Indigenous Women Conference in Australia. Pizzey will be presenting a poster board titled “Stanley is a Kind Man”, which will examine an Indigenous man’s transformation from being an abuser in an abusive relationship, to a healthy and kind-loving husband, father, and son. His transformation occurs after visiting his local Indigenous Friendship Centre where he is introduced to the “I’m a Kind Man” project.

Dr. Rose Cameron, Assistant Professor in the Social Work program, is pleased to see Social Work alumni using their research skills and methods to advocate for change. “The inspiration to learn about research and how it can be used as a mode of creating social change in the community has been embraced by students in the Bachelor of Social Work Program. I have been their mentor and I am very proud of them. My ability to ‘give-back’ the research skills that I have learned from the University of Toronto has been very rewarding”.

Both Richer and Pizzey graduated from Algoma University in 2014.

About Algoma University
Algoma University offers a wide variety of liberal arts and sciences degree options including programs in Psychology, Computer Science, Social Work, Business Administration, Fine Arts, Community Economic & Social Development, and Biology in Sault Ste. Marie, Brampton, and Timmins. As a partner with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma U is committed to respecting Anishinaabe knowledge and culture. To learn more about Algoma University, visit