When Graeme, a member of the Gitxsan Nation, was younger, he struggled in high school and didn’t believe he’d ever make it to university. His family and aunt, Shirley Joseph, believed otherwise. She was the Aboriginal Coordinator for Langara at the time, and encouraged him to enroll at Vancouver Community College and then Langara to begin his post-secondary studies. At the College, Graeme discovered his career path. Supported by his family, peers, and instructors, he developed the skills and confidence he needed to complete his studies at Langara and UBC.
Initially considering a career in criminology, Graeme was turned on to anthropology and archeology by Langara faculty who helped to guide his interests: “I always liked to imagine what it would have been like to live among our ancestors, and anthropology and archaeology provided me with a way of exploring and honouring Gitxsan history.”
“Like so many Aboriginal students, I really struggled in school and was not academically ready for university study. The smaller classes, student community, and my family all supported me while at the college. Were it not for Langara, I never would have been able to attend UBC, graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and begin my career in higher education. Langara played a really important role in my success within university and in my career.”
Graeme has never forgotten about the incredible support he received. For the past decade, he has built his career on helping others by strengthening the services and supports available for Aboriginal students. Among his list of achievements is the UBC-Langara Aboriginal Transfer program, which builds upon the college transfer system by enabling Aboriginal students to benefit from the college experience and go on to complete a degree in their chosen area of study.
Learn more about B.C. post-secondary student success stories.