Meet the graduates of Spring 2021: Amanda Almond, MA (Community Engagement)

With a lot of support from family, colleagues, mentors, supervisors and friends, Amanda Almond (Métis) rose to the challenge of balancing employment, school and parenting to successfully complete the MACE program. 

Why is community engagement important? 

There is a long and painful history of research conducted on communities that did not benefit, and even harmed communities, including Indigenous peoples. Community-engaged research offers an opportunity to work with communities to explore topics of interest, work together to design the best way to do that, and help ensure the results are shared in an engaging and accessible way.

Can you tell us about your thesis project?

For my thesis project I co-created augmented reality (AR) stories with Knowledge Keeper Dr. Diana Steinhauer (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) and sculptor Stewart Steinhauer (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) to be shared at the sites of Treaty 6 marker sculptures located on University of Alberta campuses. The AR stories were co-created to (re)story Treaty 6 territory- to challenge colonial narratives that privilege settler perspectives, prompt reflection on Indigenous-settler relationships, and build understanding that treaties were about sharing the land. It is also our hope that the AR stories can be a starting place for people who want to respectfully engage further and learn more. You can learn more about this project at

Who made the greatest impact on you during your degree program? Why?

So many people, including Dr. Rob McMahon, Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack, Dr. Diana Steinhauer and Dr. Fay Fletcher. I will also always be indebted to Dr. Maria Mayan. In 2015 I attended a community-based research workshop she was facilitating and afterwards I approached her, told her this was the work I loved, and asked where I could learn more about it. She said “well, we are starting this program…” and that is where I first heard about MACE (Master of Arts in Community of Engagement program) and was able to join the program in its initial year.

Thank you, kinanâskomitin, maarsi and miigwetch to everyone who supported me and guided me along my way. 

What was the greatest lesson you learned in or out of the classroom while completing your graduate degree that you will take with you into the future?

I learned more about arts-based methodologies during the MACE program, including digital storytelling and beading. I’ve always enjoyed making things, so it was fun to learn how to be creative within a research context.  

What is your next step after convocation? 

I am currently working as a project coordinator at UAlberta on a number of projects with Indigenous Nations and communities. The projects include digital literacy, digital storytelling, supporting the wellbeing of Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ youth, dreaming of wellness for Indigenous women in the academy, and the Métis Settlements Life Skills Journey and Experiential Learning for Indigenous Knowledge Collaboration projects here at the School of Public Health.