U of T news
  • Follow U of T News

Convocation 2014: future physician plans to give back to community

UTSC student helped found the Indigenous Students Association

Tyler Tabobondung mentored aboriginal youth while completing his undergraduate degree (photo by Ken Jones)

Tyler Tabobondung, a member of the Wasauksing First Nation who was raised in Toronto, believes his city upbringing has made him “a mediator between two different worlds.”

At the University of Toronto Scarborough, he, along with his twin brother, used that skill to help found the campus’s Indigenous Students Association. Its members helped raise awareness of aboriginal culture and tradition on campus.

Tabobondung also volunteered at Eastview Public School as part of a UTSC student life program to mentor aboriginal youth. He helped students with homework and served as a role model, too.

“A lot of people assume that the First Nations are part of history, but I want to prove that we continue to thrive as a culture,” he said. “We have changed people’s ideas of what our people are and can be.”

Now, as he graduates with an honours Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience and mental health, Tabobondung will take his role as mediator to a new setting: McMaster University’s medical school.

“When I got my acceptance, my heart just dropped. I couldn’t even believe it,” he said.

As a medical student, Tabobondung will be able combine his passion for science and his love for his people by becoming a physician who can use his skills to improve First Nations health and well-being.

“Science is so rewarding, I just love it,” said Tabobondung. “Curiosity has been part of me ever since I was really young—my mother says I was always asking ‘why?’

“With my people, there are a lot of disparities between what they have and what others have, and I want to correct those wrongs and help improve their health and well-being so we can change and prosper.”