Haida Gwaii Youth Leader Awarded Full Scholarship To Simon Fraser University

The PSF-supported Scholarship Foundation of the Pacific program empowers young students from Haida Gwaii to become leaders in their community.

Haida Gwaii student and salmon volunteer Riley Dorman was named the 2024 scholarship recipient by the Scholarship Foundation of the Pacific. This public foundation partners with Simon Fraser University (SFU) to financially support promising high school students in Haida Gwaii. Over the last three years, the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) has contributed $20,000 annually to support fundraising efforts.


Riley Dorman with his dog by a salmon sculpture in Haida Gwaii.

Riley Dorman with his dog by a salmon sculpture in Haida Gwaii.


“We are thrilled to have PSF’s support. We award one four-year, fully funded undergraduate degree to Simon Fraser University per year, allowing the students to return without the burden of student loans,” says Beverley Kniffen, Executive Director, The Scholarship Foundation of the Pacific.

“As long-time guests of Langara Fishing Lodge, we encourage sciences and environmental studies to promote a better understanding of Haida Gwaii. We are creating community leaders through education.”

The full-ride scholarship has now supported 21 students. The latest recipient, Riley Dorman, is a dedicated salmon hatchery volunteer who plans to return to Haida Gwaii after his studies to become an elementary school teacher.

Learn more about this year’s awardee below.

Q&A with Riley Dorman, 2024 Scholarship Foundation of the Pacific recipient

What studies do you plan to pursue at SFU?
I have been accepted into the Faculty of Education, and I plan to become an elementary school teacher.

Why did you choose that field of study?
As Master Corporal of the Sandspit Junior Canadian Rangers Patrol, I enjoyed working with youth in a leadership capacity. The work felt both natural and rewarding. A degree in education will allow me to explore my academic interests so that I can then share that knowledge with others. Additionally, since I have always known that I want to live on Haida Gwaii, it has been important to me to pursue a degree that is needed locally.

Can you describe what salmon mean to you?
Since I was about five years old, I would go fishing with my aunt. I found it fascinating that someone could simply throw a string into the water and bring back a 20-pound fish. As a child, I loved helping my grandma and aunt prepare the canner and smoker. Whenever I visited my grandparents, I would ask to help make canned salmon spread for a snack.

Riley Dorman volunteers at the local salmon hatchery.

Riley Dorman volunteers at the local salmon hatchery.


Tell us about your volunteer experience with salmon.
I’ve been volunteering for the Sandspit Salmon Enhancement Society because I want to play a bigger part in my community. This year, I’ve helped rear a group of salmon at the Sandspit Salmon Hatchery since they were just eggs, treating them and caring for them until they hatched. Eventually, I transported them into troughs to give them space to grow.

It feels like I’ve raised these fish since they were nothing more than an orange spec. Now, in a few months, I’ll be releasing them back into the same streams their parents came from. Maybe in the coming years, I’ll harvest the eggs or milt from the fish that I cared for in the past, raising their children and then releasing them back into nature. This whole loop makes me feel more in touch with the ecosystem.

How will this scholarship help you become a leader in your community?
I have been lucky to have had a couple of truly influential leaders in my life, who inspired me to want to do the same for others. I would like to return to Haida Gwaii with the knowledge and skills that will help me contribute positively to the communities that have been so good to me. This scholarship will help me obtain the education that I need to make my goal a reality.


Learn more about the Scholarship Foundation of the Pacific here

Details on PSF’s Stewardship Community Bursaries are available here