When Michael Carpenter-Newmark submitted applications to Ivy League schools in the United States, he never dreamed he’d have to pick between so many acceptance letters.
The soon-to-be Pen High graduate and Inuvialuit will be packing his bags and heading to Stanford University in California this fall, and he hopes his story will inspire other Indigenous students to work hard and never limit themselves.
“You can do a lot more if you try to apply yourself and do well,” he said. “Even if (you) don’t think you have a chance, you never know. I never thought I had a chance.”
Stanford, which has one of the lowest acceptance rates at under five per cent, wasn’t the only school Carpenter-Newmark was accepted to.
He also received acceptance letters from Brown and Dartmouth, amongst others.
In Canada, Carpenter-Newmark was accepted to UBC.
Originally from Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, Carpenter-Newmark moved to Penticton when he was only four years old, his parents bringing him and his siblings to the Okanagan for an opportunity at a better education,
“I was able to make a lot of friends, which helped with the transition,” he said, adding he returns north every year to visit family.
And while he’ll be further from family once he moves to California, Carpenter-Newmark said his most recent visit to Stanford had him already making friends.
“It was pretty amazing,” he said. “I met one person who was from Summerland, and that was really unique.”
The welcoming atmosphere, the friends he made in such a short period and the overall feel of the campus had Carpenter-Newmark choose Stanford as his post-secondary school.
“The weather is also pretty similar to here, which is a plus,” he said with a laugh.
Carpenter-Newmark plans to study psychology and computer science, with a dream of one day helping people.
“I want to try and help as many people psychologically as I can through a computer-generated program,” he said.
Carpenter-Newmark said he received a lot of support from an Indigenous program called College Horizons, which helps connect Indigenous students with admission officers from different universities.
“They really encouraged me – the admissions officers and the other students,” he said. “It really gave me a lot of support and empowerment.”
Carpenter-Newmark has also contributed to the community, having recently helped plan the annual 10,000 Tonight event at Pen High in December.