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Inuit Graduate Student First Aboriginal to Tackle Accounting Program

An Inuit student is the first aboriginal to ever enroll in a competitive accounting program at the University of Toronto.

Not only is Laura Arngna’naaq the first aboriginal student to ever enroll in the Masters in Management and Professional Accounting (MMPA) program at the University of Toronto, she’s also now featured on the cover of program brochures, reported

The 22-year-old Inuit received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Trent University and wants to become a chartered accountant, which is the equivalent to a certified public accountant in the United States, and work in one of the big four accounting firms—Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, or KMPG.

A tough road lay ahead though. First, she must complete the 27-month MMPA program, then two years at a chartered accounting training office and a qualifying exam, called The Uniform Evaluation (UFE). According to, this final step to becoming a chartered accountant “is a three-day long exam where candidates demonstrate their knowledge of accountancy and mastery of competencies developed during their work experience.”

And while Arngna’naaq has had financial help along the way in the form of scholarships from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Royal Bank of Canada, she still has taken on thousands of dollars of debt to cover the cost of her education. According to the MMPA brochure, the same one she graces the cover of, fees for 2011 domestic entrants of the MMPA program are $27,958, which doesn’t include the approximately $1,500 for books students can expect to dole out.

But Arngna’naaq told that she’s all right with that. “I think it’s worth it. I’ve done my calculations and I think it’s manageable.”

Arngna’naaq doesn’t take credit for her successes in higher education though, she says that credit goes to her parents—Terri Thayer, a teacher and Silas Arngna’naaq, a former Northwest Territories Member of the Legislative Assembly and renewable resources minister. She told that both her parents pushed her to strive for success in school.

This number-minded Inuit has one more goal; she hopes to encourage other Inuit to pursue higher education.