IMPRESS program logo

The Indigenous Mentorship and Paid Research Experience for Summer Students (IMPRESS) offers Indigenous undergraduate students from McGill or other Quebec post-secondary institutions, a unique experiential learning opportunity to conduct research with a McGill professor, or to work on a project at one of our units — all while being paid! Some of our projects are open to Indigenous undergraduate students nationwide (see Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives projects).

The program aims to strengthen their research skills, boost their career-readiness, and expose them to pathways to graduate school, through activities that help them build their skillsets and connect with peers. Each participating student is paired with an Indigenous graduate student mentor who offers support and guidance throughout their experience.

IMPRESS applications are open!

Student applications for IMPRESS are open, the deadline to apply is March 10th.

The projects

Introducing the IMPRESS 2023 projects! Students indicate their top three choices on the application form and are assigned to a program. Take a moment to explore the projects and pick the ones that interest you the most.

IMPRESS Projects

Are you an Indigenous student studying in Quebec? IMPRESS programs are open to all indigenous undergraduate students studying within the province of Quebec. 


Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Natural Resource Sciences

Professor Murray Humphries, Professor; McGill Northern Research Chair, Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Wildlife, Environment Change, and Local Indigenous Food Systems (WECLIFS) is a McGill-based research initiative focused on the impacts of environmental change on local Indigenous food systems in northern Quebec. WECLIFS and its subprojects emphasize collaborative knowledge co-production approaches with Eeyou Istchee and Nunavik regional organizations, communities, and knowledge holders, as well as provincial and federal organizations with mandates related to wildlife, environment, health, food security, and climate change adaptation and inclusive of northern Quebec. Our approach combines community-based participatory research with studies of climatic and environmental determinants of the distribution, abundance, and health of traditional food and furbearing species. Students will work in close partnership with northern communities to design and implement locally relevant field-based research at the interface of scientific and traditional ecological knowledge.

School of Human Nutrition

Brittany Wenniseri:iostha Jock, Assistant Professor, School of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Students will get experience working on community engagement and mobilization and support data collection and documentation of community engagement activities. Students will gain experience facilitating and organizing meetings and opportunities to join established research teams to understand community health and nutrition of Indigenous peoples. 

Faculty of Arts

School of Information Studies

Dawn McKinnon, Librarian, McGill Library

An internship at the McGill Library will provide students with opportunities to explore academic librarianship by partnering with one of the library’s four main units: User Services, Digital Initiatives, Collection Services, and Rare & Special Collections, Osler, Art and Archives (ROAAr). Over the course of their 8-week internship, students will have the opportunity to learn about and work on projects in one or more of the following areas. Specific projects will be designed to best suit the interests and skills of candidates, along with the availability of librarian supervisors. They may include information literacy and research assistance, Collection Development (resource discovery and collection promotion, including exhibits and displays), user outreach, knowledge synthesis (literature reviews), scholarly communication (copyright, data management and open access), knowledge equity and the Free Knowledge Movement via Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource, exploration of traditional knowledge labelling in order to increase visibility and access to collection materials.

Social Work

Professor Shari Brotman, Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Neurodiverse people and their family caregivers experience considerable social exclusion across the life course. This reality shapes their experiences of aging and results in challenging circumstances, most notably related to inequities in housing and social support. Older people living with ND, their families and service providers are being interviewed (in Montreal and Quebec City) over a three-year period using a methodology which includes narrative storytelling and arts-based lifeline drawings. An IMPRESS student with experience in graphic design and/or animation will help develop infographics, policy briefs and short animation videos to represent the stories of research participants in a form which is accessible to people living with neurodiversity and their careers as well as create one-two page ‘take away’ information for service providers and policy makers that we can distribute and put on our website. They will have an opportunity to learn about doing research with neurodiverse people and participate in team meetings and help us translate our research findings to help the public and service providers understand the experiences of our participants.

Experience in graphic design and/or animation and knowledge of both English and French is an asset.


Professor Wanda Gabriel, Adjunct Professor, School of Social Work

No One Left behind; Sexual Violence Healing a Holistic Approach — This research will be to conduct a literature review of treatment for sex offenders. The goal is to begin developing an Indigenous approach to healing the impacts of sexual violence for the whole family system. We will identify existing treatment methods for sex offenders to determine a base line of modalities. Furthermore, to begin an alternative approach to sexual violence that takes an Indigenous healing approach to the impacts of sexual violence. The IMPRESS Student will participate in a literature review and the establishment of an International Indigenous working group of healing experts to begin examining appropriate healing processes for this problematic.

Additional Training will be provided.

Faculty of Education 

Educational and Counselling Psychology

Professor Dennis Wendt Assistant Professor, Dept. of Educational and Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education

Community-based projects in the Cultural and Indigenous Research in Counselling (CIRC) Psychology lab (CIRC). Utilizing qualitative research methods, students assist with recruiting participants, interviewing participants, data editing and coding, and various logistics. Students would be part of the CIRC lab group, which consists of a highly diverse group of research investigators, graduate students in clinical/counselling psychology, and undergraduate assistants (including several Indigenous associates and trainees). IMPRESS students may be involved in one or more of the following projects:

Study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on substance use and substance use services within Indigenous communities. This project involves interviews and focus groups (or talking circles) with community leaders, clinical staff, and community members/patients in various urban Indigenous organizations and First Nations communities. Students will engage with partners in Kahnawake or an urban organization in Montreal.

Work to understand Indigenous belonging, wellness, and resilience within universities in Quebec. This project (led by a First Nations PhD student) involves intensive interviews and arts-based qualitative methods with a small number of current or former Indigenous higher education students in Quebec.

Explore strengths and challenges in substance use recovery among the LGBTQ+ community in Montreal. This participatory project (led by a queer-identifying PhD student) would involve working closely with a small group of researcher-participants using qualitative methods.

Department of Integrated Studies in Education

Professor Claudia Mitchell, Distinguished James McGill Professor, Faculty of Education, Department of Integrated Studies in Education

"More Than Words" (MTW) is a 4-year research project, funded by Women & Gender Equality Canada that uses art and intergenerational mentoring to empower Indigenous girls, young women and LGBTQ2+ youth to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and support survivors, families, and communities. IMPRESS students will support the development of creative knowledge mobilization materials, and prepare and share resources and updates on the project's website and social media channels. There will be opportunities for involvement in the planning and execution of youth-led indigenous-focused events and initiatives.

Kinesiology and Physical Education

Professor Jordan Koch, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology & Physical Education

Assist with one of two ongoing research projects involving Indigenous sport and physical education. The first project involves collaboration with First Nations hockey teams and requires hands-on learning in kinematics and other biomechanics-oriented research. The second project is a curriculum design collaboration with two First Nations high schools, endeavouring to advance sport and physical education from Indigenous-specific standpoints. Other potential research options include helping to advance graduate student projects about the history of ice hockey and/or lacrosse in Indigenous communities.


Faculty of Engineering

School of Urban Planning

Professor Ahmed El-Geneidy, Professor, School of Urban Planning, Faculty of Engineering

In 2016, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced plans to build the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), a state-of-the-art, fully automated 67-kilometer light-rail network that will fundamentally reshape transport in areas on and off the island of Montreal. When complete, the $6.3 billion project will link numerous suburbs—and Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport —to downtown with frequent, high-speed rail service, that is universally accessible, altering travel and land-use patterns throughout the region. Students will assist in a comprehensive "before, during, and after intervention" collecting multiple waves of built environment data in a 1000-meter area around all future REM stations to understand the current level of accessibility and walkability around the network. Data will be used to monitor changes in the built environment over time and to provide policy recommendations for the REM and other transportation projects in Canada on beneficial practices in the implementation of accessible and walkable public transit stations.

Background in Geography, Environment or Civil Engineering is preferable. Geographic Information System skills are an asset.


Desautels Faculty of Management

Strategy & Organization

Professor Karl Moore, Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management

Assist with researching, writing, and editing a biweekly column for The Globe and Mail, Canada's National Newspaper, authored by Karl Moore and various Indigenous co-authors. IMPRESS students would also have the opportunity to work on a book proposal based on the column.

Confidence in writing and editing an asset.


Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Professor Aparna Nadig PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Research on human development has focused overwhelmingly on monolingual English speakers, despite the fact that globally, and in Quebec, it is more common for individuals to speak more than one language. Students will assist in a research study addressing this lack of representation by studying language development and well-being among language minority youth in Quebec. We add an intersectional and inclusive lens by studying youth who are typically developing, as well as those who are on the autism spectrum. The study is expected to provide insights into language skills which are associated with academic achievement as well as broader life outcomes such as socio-emotional functioning, at the pivotal developmental stage of adolescence.

Students will complete TCPS human research ethics training.


Faculty of Science


Professor Catherine Potvin, Professor, Department of Biology

This project is part of PIVOT, a research initiative that seeks to understand the role that Small and Medium Size Enterprise can play in accelerating the low carbon transition. The field work will take place in the Mont-St-Hilaire Biosphere reserve. In 2022, the PIVOT team reached out to more than 400 enterprises in the Mont Saint-Hilaire region, conducted interviews and led one online and one in-person workshops to discuss greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The data revealed that the region is experiencing impacts from climate change and that many businesses are already acting to address climate change. As a direct result of our work in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, the team is partnering with the SME Domaine de Rouville over the summer of 2023. Domaine de Rouville is a trailer campground and golf course with a summer population of around 6000 people plus daily visitors accounting for 200,000 people per year. The campers and visitors to the Domaine de Rouville come from all parts of Québec with very different socio-economical and cultural background. As such they represent an ideal microcosm to advance in our understanding of the dependency on cars. The student, in close collaboration with the PIVOT team and the Domaine de Rouville will develop and implement a range of activities to discuss alternative modes of transportations with the visitors. These activities will be playful since the Domaine de Rouville is a place of leisure. In addition, the student will carry out interviews to compile a wish list of what people would need to reduce their dependency on cars. The student could remain part of the project throughout summer which would allow doing preliminary analysis of the data and returning to share the results.

Students will receive training in applied interviews including obtaining meaningful free, prior, informed consent.

School of Computer Science

Professor Jin Guo, Assistant Professor School of Computer Science

In this project, we aim to design and implement a tool that supports the discussion of open-source software usability issues. Platforms, such as Github, are designed to acknowledge and support developers in contributing to open-source projects, however, the end-user is not well assisted to report usability issues on those platforms. Built on our previous work with open-source usability, issue tracking systems, and the power dynamics of stakeholder collaboration, we will design a tool considering three main stakeholders, i.e., end-users, designers, and developers. We will propose design options that can effectively engage the end-users to provide informative feedback and suggestions to help developers better prioritize software usability.

Students will take a course on research ethics when they start the project.

Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives  

HBHL projects are open to Indigenous undergraduate students nationwide. The timeline and monetary award for these projects also vary from the standard IMPRESS model. impress [at] (subject: HBHL%20project%20details) (Please contact a member of the IMPRESS team for more details).


Faculty of Science, HBHL sponsored


Professor Jon Sakata, Associate Professor, Biology Department, Faculty of Science  

These projects involve working on the neural basis of vocal learning. Our lab uses songbirds as animal models to test and generate hypotheses about the brain mechanisms that shape vocal learning. The IMPRESS student(s) will receive training in histology, microscopy and behavioural and bioacoustic analyses. 

Additional Training Required: Students will complete online courses WHIMS, Hazardous Waste Management, and Animal Ethics before working in the lab and software training (e.g., MATLAB). 

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, HBHL sponsored

Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health

Christina Wolfson, Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Occupational Health/Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences 

This project aims to examine the quantity and quality of research on the health of Indigenous Veterans in Canada. It will involve conducting an environmental scan of published and grey literature. Research that contrasts the physical or mental health of non-Indigenous and Indigenous Veterans is of particular interest because little population-based Veterans’ research has been done in Canada, and even less research exists on the physical and mental health of Indigenous Veterans. Highlighting the experiences and health outcomes of Indigenous Veterans is vital in providing an inclusive and intersectional perspective of the impact of military service in Canada on the long-term health (and possibly resilience) of all older Veterans. The IMPRESS student will be trained on the methodology of literature searches and how to synthesize the literature and will help prepare a manuscript for publication. 

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Professor Boris Bernhardt, Associate Prof, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a crucial technique for understanding brain anatomy and function. In recent years, the growing availability of open-source analytical tools has been critical in bringing together findings from different types of imaging techniques to pave the way towards a deeper understanding of the human brain. The overall goal of this project is to introduce the IMPRESS student(s) to reproducible and robust open-science practices in neuroimaging. Specifically, the student(s) will have the opportunity to develop new skills by: (1) applying MRI-processing techniques to newly acquired brain-imaging data; (2) understanding and implementing best practices in neuroinformatics tool development, notably through detailed documentation of all the code and procedures used to process this data; and (3) designing new analysis strategies for longitudinal functional and structural data. We seek to implement this codebase within ‘micapipe’—a specialized pipeline developed by our lab for processing multimodal MRI data. This initiation to MRI-data processing, and open-science practices more generally, will prepare the student(s) to carry out future studies in computational neuroscience using established procedures to improve the transparency and reproducibility of new findings. 

Student prerequisites: Programming, or at least computer affinity, is an asset. 


Professor Boris Bernhardt, Associate Prof, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine 

Applying artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to help detect and diagnose disease is a burgeoning area of research in the field of epilepsy. Due to the novelty of AI-epilepsy research, little has been done to rigorously review the existing literature, critically appraise the research methods and combine the findings. Although AI algorithms can be applied to data collected in many different ways, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a widespread technique that represents a major focus. The goal of this project is to conduct a systematic review of AI algorithms used to analyze MRI scans of adult (>=18 years) vs. pediatric (<18 years) epilepsy patients for lesion detection, epilepsy diagnosis, prognosis and other related outcomes. 

The search strategy will be developed prior to student onboarding. It will include keywords derived from scoping search and expertise in the subject field. The IMPRESS student will act as a reviewer for title, abstract and full-text screening. They will also conduct data extraction and participate in data analysis, which is expected to be finished prior to the end of the summer term. Depending on the speed of progress, the student may also have the opportunity to practice their scientific writing skills and contribute to the publication of an article. 

Student prerequisites: Familiarity with data analysis is an asset. 


Professor Brian Chen, Associate Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine  

The IMPRESS student(s) will be involved in a project to uncover the molecules involved in hardwiring a neural circuit. They will receive training in cell and molecular biology, molecular genetics, and cellular and molecular neurobiology. 

Laboratory Safety Training provided 


Cecilia Flores, Professor, Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine  

MicroRNAs are small molecules that repress the expression of genes and their protein products. The regulation of gene and protein expression by microRNAs in the brain represents an emerging link between exposure to drugs of abuse in adolescence and changes in ongoing brain development. In our lab, we use rodents to study whether exposure in adolescence to the main psychoactive compound in cannabis—tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—alters the development of the brain by changing the expression of microRNAs. Our lab studies a microRNA called miR-218 because it controls the expression of genes that play a critical role in the formation of brain connections during adolescence. Most microRNAs, including miR-218, are stable molecules secreted from brain cells into the bloodstream, where they can be measured. 

This project will involve investigating whether observed changes in brain miR-218 can be detected in circulating blood to determine if peripheral miR-218 can be used as a marker for vulnerability to the disruptive effects of cannabis on brain development. Our research team will train the IMPRESS student on laboratory techniques and experimental approaches. The student will: 1) receive training on mouse handling; 2) assist with the collection of brain and blood samples; 3) learn how to pipette and develop other lab skills needed to process samples for microRNA-level assessment; and 4) receive training on and assist with data collection and statistical analysis. The student will learn techniques in molecular biology and become familiar with scientific writing, critical thinking and data analysis. They will also be required to attend our lab meetings and journal clubs. 


Professor Ziv Gan-Or, Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine 

The IMPRESS student will work on a project aimed at discovering genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders. Specifically, they will study a gene called GBA1; mutations in this gene have been reported in different populations with Parkinson's disease and similar disorders at frequencies of 5-30%. The student will perform basic experiments to identify variants of this gene and will help with analyzing the results. 

Student Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of genetics is preferred 


Professor Jean-Francois Poulin, Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine  

This project will look at whether the interaction of retinoic acid (RA) and interferons (IFN) contributes to cell death in a particular subset of dopamine (DA) neurons that express the protein ALDH1A1, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of RA. These neurons are located in the brain region most affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD), the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). Increasing evidence from mouse models of PD and human post-mortem analyses show that this cell subset is especially vulnerable to neurodegeneration. The IMPRESS student will investigate this molecular pathway in SH-SY5Y cells, which can be differentiated into DA neurons. More precisely, the student will treat SH-SY5Y cells with different regimens of RA and IFN, as well as a combination of both treatments, and will evaluate the extent of resulting cell death. Since there is currently no treatment to stop or slow the progression of PD—the second most common neurodegenerative disorder with an estimated 10 million individuals affected worldwide—understanding the molecular pathways underlying the loss of DA neurons is critical to discovering disease-modifying therapies. 

Students will receive training in laboratory safety 


Professor Blake Richards, Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery + School of Computer Science

This research project will involve helping a graduate student with their research on incorporating Indigenous knowledge into artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The IMPRESS student will help the graduate student to build 3D simulations for training AI systems that are shaped by Indigenous stories and practices. They will also help train AI models in this environment. The work will involve both the use of a software suite for creating Unity-based simulations and some computer programming.

Student prerequisite: Some knowledge of programming would be ideal, particularly in Python.


Professor Stuart Trenholm, Assistant Professor, Montreal Neurological Institute 

Mice are a leading model in visual neuroscience, but we still know little about how their visual system processes the world. The IMPRESS student(s) will learn to handle mice, train them to perform visual discrimination tasks, and conduct experiments to study their visual perception. Experiments will utilize operant reward chambers with touchscreen visual displays. 

Additional training will be provided including an online animal-use course, an in-person mouse-handling course and some other general workplace-safety courses (eg. WHMIS) 

Department of Physiology

Professor Arjun Krishnaswamy, Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences 

This project will involve training mice to detect visual stimuli in virtual reality to obtain behavioural measures of visual attention. The IMPRESS student(s) will work with a graduate student and a postdoctoral fellow, as well as other undergraduates, to train a cohort of mice, collect data and, if time permits, analyze the data in matlab. The student(s) will be exposed to techniques such as: (1) Programming in matlab; (2) Working with laboratory animals; (3) 3D-printing; (4) Simple electronics; and (5) Genetics. The student(s) will also be exposed to concepts such as: (1) Statistics; (2) Neural Circuits; (3) Visual Function; and (4) Psychophics. 

Training is provided in Laboratory Safety; Basic Animal Handling 

Student prerequisites: Knowledge of basic biology and basic math is helpful for the proposed studies. 

Department of Psychiatry

Professor Srividya N. Iyer, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry 

Integrated Youth Services (IYS) have emerged as an international movement for addressing the priorities of youth mental health. However, the failure to consider the context of colonization and assimilation has led to youth programs and services in Canada that do not adequately meet the needs of Indigenous youth. ACCESS Open Minds (AOM) is a pan-Canadian youth mental health research network aimed at improving access to mental-health services for youth ages 11-25. The network includes six Indigenous community partners and an Indigenous Council that inform the implementation of AOM services. Youth mental health programming centred on First Nation or Inuit wellness models incorporate Indigenous communities’ culture and healing programs guided by Elders/Traditional healers. IYS have the potential to address the persistent inequities in the mental health outcomes of Indigenous youth while aligning with Indigenous Peoples’ calls for self-determination. This project aims to: (1) combine “wise practices” and recommendations for developing, implementing and evaluating a transformation of youth mental health services in Indigenous contexts across Canada; and (2) identify various barriers and facilitators to developing, implementing and evaluating services in these contexts. The IMPRESS student will help develop a narrative case study for each AOM site through document analysis (e.g., policy presentations, community-level reports, community reflections and peer literature) and photo elicitation interviews with youth and key community stakeholders. They will also assist with semi-structured interviews with members of AOM, Elders, Indigenous researchers and service providers to understand: (1) how to adapt wise practices to support youth services in Indigenous contexts; and (2) the role of learning health systems in Indigenous service contexts. 

Training provided in Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAPTM) principles 


Professor Martin Lepage, James McGill Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences 

This project involves investigating the feasibility and acceptance of 360-degree virtual-reality (VR) technology and potentially launching a co-designed intervention program integrating natural landscapes, heritage sites and cultural activities. Central to the project is the idea that there are potential therapeutic applications in making these environments available virtually during hospitalization. These include improving the relationship between a patient and their care providers and decreasing distress associated with being away from one’s community. We would like to inform and consult with Indigenous individuals who have been using psychiatric services in Montreal. Study participants would have the opportunity to address any challenges they experienced during psychiatric care, aspects they would wish to change and how they want those changes to happen. They would also be invited to discuss if/how 360-degree VR could help in their clinical processes, overall well-being and engagement with services. The aim is for this to be an Indigenous and patient co-created project. It will involve conducting mixed-methods participatory research during advisory focus groups. The IMPRESS student will work with the team to develop participant recruitment strategies, collect data and learn to analyze that data, should time allow. They will learn about participatory qualitative research and 360 VR technology. They will also attend research meetings with lab members. The research team will support and encourage the student to prepare a poster or oral presentation on their research. 

Students will receive training in research with human participants (e.g., confidentiality, research integrity, etc.) 


Professor Rachel Rabin, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry 

his project will use a previously collected data set to compare cognitive function (e.g., memory performance) and brain structure (e.g., gray matter volume of the hippocampus) between aging adults (>50 years old) who use cannabis and those with no history of cannabis use. Following the relaxation of cannabis laws in Canada and the United States, rates of cannabis use have increased, and older adults (50 years and older) represent the fastest growing population of cannabis users. A desire to manage age-related diseases and their side effects may, in part, contribute to the increase in cannabis use among people in this age group. Studies in adolescents and adults demonstrate that cannabis use is associated with cognitive impairment, particularly with respect to memory. Changes that occur with normal aging—such as cognitive decline, hippocampal atrophy, slower metabolism and the onset of various disorders—may alter how cannabis interacts with the brain and may render aging adults particularly sensitive to the cognitive and neurodegenerative effects of cannabis use. The IMPRESS student will be responsible for extracting, analyzing and interpreting data. For motivated students, preparation of a manuscript would also be a possibility. Findings from this study will help inform aging adults about the consequences of cannabis use on cognitive and brain outcomes. 


Professor Geneviève Sauvé, Assistant Professor and Researcher, Douglas Research Center, Department of Psychiatry 

It is estimated that 70–90% of people living with severe mental illness (SMI; e.g., psychosis) are unemployed, despite most of them having the desire and capacity to work. This under-representation in the labour market persists despite evidence-based employment-support programs. Given the central role of work in the recovery process, our team has developed a new psychosocial intervention based on our prior research—called ‘Minds@Work’—which aims at improving job tenure for people living with SMI. People from Indigenous communities reportedly face similar challenges regarding employment and mental illness. While specialized programs are available across Canada (e.g., Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy), people belonging to Indigenous communities still experience high rates of inequities in income, mental health services and unemployment rates. The aim of this project is to develop partnerships with interested Indigenous communities and collaboratively develop a culturally-competent and safe adaptation of ‘Minds@Work’ that will benefit them and honor their culture and philosophies. The IMPRESS student(s) will be involved in a qualitative participatory approach to research and will help prepare, moderate and analyze focus groups to investigate potential predictors of employment (e.g., cognitive capacities, cognitive biases). They will also help conduct a systematic search of the literature and meta-analysis aimed at combining knowledge about existing interventions and their efficacy using a logic model methodology. The study will follow guidelines from the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador’s Research Protocol, and the data will belong and be accessible to community partners as per the First Nations Principles of OCAP. 

All required training will be provided by the Principal Investigator (e.g., good practices in documentation). 

Are you a McGill Graduate Student Interested in IMPRESS? Become a mentor!

All McGill graduate students, including master’s and PhD students, as well as students completing a professional degree (e.g., MDCM, BCL/JD), are eligible to mentor IMPRESS students. Indigenous graduate students are encouraged to apply. 

IMPRESS mentors offer support and guidance to their mentee throughout the program. Mentors are expected to meet with their IMPRESS mentee regularly to discuss academic and professional opportunities, their own professional journeys, and to help their mentee navigate their relationship with their IMPRESS project host. Mentors will be required to meet with their IMPRESS mentee for two hours a week. Mentors and mentees have the freedom to schedule their meetings at their convenience.  Mentors are also encouraged to participate in some of our IMPRESS social and cultural activities. All non-Indigenous mentors will be asked to take part in two cultural competency training sessions to prepare them for the program.

IMPRESS mentors are awarded $650 for their participation in IMPRESS.  

IMPRESS undergraduate students on campus

IMPRESS 2022 wrapped up with success!

Over an eight-week period this past June and July, IMPRESS 2022 participants were paired with a professor or a professional from a McGill unit. The McGill Reporter writes about the success of IMPRESS and how students benefitted from their experience with our program. Stay tuned for IMPRESS 2023!

How it works

IMPRESS takes place over an eight-week period (June -July), 20 hours per week:

  • 15 hours in a research setting
  • 5 hours in professional development, and leadership training, as well as attending a variety of social engagements and cultural activities.


  • Indigenous undergraduate students in Quebec: All Indigenous undergraduate students enrolled at a post-secondary institution in Quebec are eligible to participate in IMPRESS. Students who have graduated in May 2023 are also eligible.
  • Out-of-province Indigenous undergraduate students: Projects listed in collaboration with Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives are open to out-of-province Indigenous undergraduate students (i.e., enrolled in an undergraduate program at a Canadian post-secondary institution outside of Quebec).

Activities might include:

  • Meeting with your host professor/professional for training and direction
  • Connecting with your graduate student mentor for advice or guidance
  • Reading literature and undertaking other research activities
  • Learning interview techniques
  • Carrying out lab work, attending lab meetings, or events specific to your professor’s area of work
  • Attending professional and leadership development workshops, events, and social and cultural activities
  • Journaling about your experience


What can I get from IMPRESS?

  • Gain hands-on research experience
  • Boost your overall career-readiness through professional skills training
  • Build professional networks
  • Increase your insight into pathways toward graduate studies
  • Make strong connections and build community with Indigenous graduate mentors and IMPRESS peers
  • Help newly admitted students get acquainted with McGill
  • Receive a letter of recommendation for your time as an IMPRESS intern

You will also receive a $5,000 stipend for your participation in the program.

Please note that the eligibility, monetary award, and time commitment for all Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives projects vary from the standard model. For more details, please contact a member of our team at: impress [at]



  • Please contact impress [at] for more information on the program.
  • Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations for any part of the application process may contact, impress [at]

Download the postcard

   Cree    English/French    Inuktitut    Mohawk


Will I be paid?

Yes! Each participating IMPRESS intern receives a $5,000 stipend for their work.


Will I receive credits for participating?

No, however, each intern will receive a letter of recommendation for their time as an intern.


I’m not from Montreal, but I want to participate, is there money for travel and accommodation?

Although each situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, we do not want travel and accommodation to be a barrier to your participation. Please contact impress [at] to discuss your circumstances.


What kind of opportunities are available?

Please follow the link on ‘how to apply’ — each host project is posted there for you to review.


When do I find out if I’m accepted?

All applicants will be contacted by May 15th, 2022 with a decision regarding their candidacy.


How can I sign up to be a host or Indigenous graduate student mentor?

Please contact us at impress [at]


I’m a recently admitted student, am I still eligible?

Yes, absolutely. All Indigenous undergraduate students registered at a post-secondary institution in Quebec are eligible.

Project Host Applications for IMPRESS 2023 are closed

Interested in working with us to provide an experiential learning opportunity for an Indigenous undergraduate student? Stay tuned for IMPRESS 2024!

McGill University is on land that long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst
Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge
and thank the diverse Indigenous people whose footsteps have marked this territory on which
peoples of the world now gather.
Back to top