Morgan Longjohn is the recipient of the resiliency award at this year's Indigenous Student Achievement Awards at The University of Saskatchewan (U of S).
The award was given through a nomination process and Longjohn says it was unexpected but made her feel happy.
"It's pretty awesome to be able to a part of the Indigenous (Achievement) Week, at the U of S. I'm grateful and thankful," Longjohn says.
Longjohn is a Plains Cree single mother who has overcome significant challenges in her life including addiction, trauma and homelessness.
She doesn't let it define her or the future goals she has for herself.
"I overcame a lot of issues and obstacles to get where I am today," Longjohn told CTV News.
Longjohn grew up in Prince Albert and started experimenting with drugs at the age of 12 as her mother was a drug user and eventually died from an overdose in 2009.
She left her home and ended up getting pregnant at 16 and describes herself 'losing control' until the age of 18 when she starting getting help for her addictions.
Since then she's gone through many phases of jumping from recovery to relapse.
Having lost many people in her life due to addictions, Longjohn persevered to make a better life for herself and her children.
She got pregnant with her third child, a son, in 2015 who was apprehended at birth. After one year sober he was eventually returned to her.
A year later she joined faith-based recovery program Reformers Unanimous in Prince Albert who gave her the help she needed.
"There's some good people that operate that program and they're very helpful and I'm very glad I know them," Longjohn said, "this is where I need to be."
In 2017 Longjohn started to take one class at U of S, paving her way and slowly working up to full time. She is now in her third year of political studies at the Prince Albert campus.
Cindy Koob, program assistant at the U of S Prince Albert Campus, nominated Longjohn for the award and shares what made her standout.
"You can see some students that overcome what seems to be insurmountable odds, to really excel academically and do well," Koob said, "It was an easy decision to nominate Morgan."
Her goals include getting a master's degree and being a positive role model in her careers aspirations in areas like health care, social services and the justice system.
"I have all my children under one roof today and I'm just succeeding in university and I'm back in my programming. It's really been good."
The Indigenous Student Achievements Awards will be livestreamed on Thursday.