A post-secondary education comes with many rewards. It prepares students to not only meet labour market demands in British Columbia, it also sets them up for a lifetime of personal and career success. Their success supports their families and their local communities and can lead to a lifetime of opportunities.
A post-secondary education is one of the most valuable investments an individual can make toward their future.
Meet some of B.C.’s public post-secondary students:
University of Victoria and TRICORP support award winning program for Aboriginal students
The Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE) program provides business skill training in northern B.C. Indigenous communities. Read more.
Malcolm Stewart - Justice Institute of British Columbia and Native Education College
Restless while recovering from an injury, Malcolm learned about the JIBC’s Justice and Public Safety Certificate program for Aboriginal learners. After 20 years in the construction industry – he was ready for a change – so he enrolled. Read more.
Faith Waskewitch - Northern Lights College
Faith Waskewitch is dreaming of owning and operating a restaurant that is a mixture of Aboriginal and Canadian cuisine. Read more.
Louie Thomas Sr. - Camosun College and the Esquimalt Nation Band
Louie Thomas Sr. is enrolled in Camosun College’s automotive service technician program, but he kick started his education by first taking community-based training. Read more.
Evangeline Clifton - Vancouver Island University, North Island College, and the Heiltsuk Tribal Council
Not only is Evangeline working to complete her degree, the wife and mother of five is involved in VIU’s ‘Su’luqwq’a Community Cousins Program. Read more.
Noah Guno - University of Victoria and Haida Nation
Sensing changes in the logging industry, Noah decided to go back to school to focus on multimedia. Noah and Indigenous students like him are benefitting from the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneur, Haida Owned and Operated and Lakes Division Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneur program. Read more.
Angela Hance - University of Northern B.C. and Tsilhqot'in Nation
Angela Hance believes it’s important to stay connected to her community, the Tsilhqot'in Nation. Enrolled in the Tsilhqot'in Language Program her goal is to teach children her language and culture. Read her story.
Jessie Jensen - Justice Institute of British Columbia and Native Education College
Jessie Jensen’s dream is to become a police officer and a training partnership between the Justice Institute of British Columbia and the Native Education College is helping her achieve that goal.Her training has already helped her foil an attempted carjacking and helped her save a life. Read Jessie's story.
Bonnie Price - Tl’azt’en Nation and College of New Caledonia
Aboriginal students are being provided with the skills they need to care for individuals with disabilities who are living in long-term care or in their homes. Read Bonnie's story.
Dixie Jim - Ts'zil Learning Centre and Capilano University
Dixie Jim found a pathway to personal growth and happiness through a training program that was delivered at the Ts'zil Learning Centre. Read her story.Zebang Wei – Simon Fraser University
International student Zebang Wei switched programs from geography to global environmental systems when he discovered that SFU was introducing a bachelor of environment program in January 2015. Today, he is the first person in Canada to graduate with this new degree, which is only offered at SFU. Read his story.Tyler Hwalstad - Selkirk College
Tyler knew from a young age that his future was in the trades, but once he discovered the challenge of working with metal he was hooked. Having completed the Metal Fabricator Foundation Program at Selkirk College, Hwalstad is now working his way through a metal fabrication apprenticeship at Rossland’s Columbia Steel Fabricating & Welding. With an opportunity to build on his training in the community he grew up in, the 21-year-old is excited about a future in his chosen trade. Read his story.
Sherry McCarthy - Vancouver Island University
During her eight years at Vancouver Island University (VIU), Master of Business Administration (MBA) grad Sherry McCarthy learned about business, her heritage – and herself. Sherry’s epic journey at VIU began with adult education upgrades and ended with a MBA degree. Along the way, she also gave birth to two of her three daughters, became a student mentor, and served in a range of VIU Students’ Union and University governance roles. Read her story.
Greg Mckay - Northwest Community College
Starting post-secondary education as an adult learner may seem daunting, but many keen students take on this challenge at Northwest Community College (NWCC) and are rewarded with careers that they love. Read his story.
Larissa Richards – Vancouver Island University
Vancouver Island University (VIU) alumna Larissa Richards is spending her summer back at her alma mater, hard at work in VIU’s Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL). But the University of Victoria (UVic) PhD candidate did get a break from her schedule when she was asked to participate in a six week course at the Copenhagen School of Chemometrics. Read her story.
Banpreet Grewal - Langara College
Banpreet grew up in Ludhiana, Punjab, India, where he became interested in sciences. He always dreamt of studying abroad, and when he learned about the Applied Science for Engineering Program at Langara, he knew he had found the right place. Read his story.
Cameron McDermid - University of British Columbia Okanagan
UBC's Okanagan campus' Undergraduate Student Researcher of the Year is a multi-talented second-year civil engineering student who can now add “published researcher” to his growing list of achievements. In his first year, McDermid juggled a combination of school and research responsibilities holding a Work-Study laboratory position under the supervision of School of Engineering Professors LoЇc Markley and Ali Ahmadi. Read his story.
Paul Antonelli - Thompson Rivers University
Current reclamation research taking place at the historic Ajax-Afton tailings site has earned graduate student Paul Antonelli a $5,000 scholarship. His second field season on the site, he is researching methods for re-establishing vegetation and returning some of the old tailings to a new ecosystem. The results of his research could have impacts across the mining industry. Read his story.
Dr. Susan Burke - University of Northern British Columbia
UNBC’s PhD in Health Sciences was launched in 2012. It is interdisciplinary in nature and directly addresses the needs of health science researchers and professionals in B.C. and beyond.Dr. Susan Burke is the first student to complete the PhD Health Sciences at UNBC. Read her full story.
Jayden Ockenden - Justice Institute of British Columbia
Kamloops native Jayden Ockenden has always wanted a career where he could make a difference in someone’s life. He had initially planned to pursue a career in law enforcement. But spending his summers as a wildland firefighter while he studied at SFU helped him discover his true calling as a firefighter. Read his story.
Chris Taylor - Camosun College
Chris Taylor speaks enthusiastically about his time at Camosun: “It’s a great college, I really like it. I’ve met a lot of friends here and I love to expand my horizons.” As a local Indigenous student from the Beecher Bay band in Sooke, he appreciated the opportunity to learn invaluable skills and advance his career locally. “It’s the comfort of home,” he says. “I wanted to stay around here and Camosun had what I was looking for.” Read his whole story.
Jacqueline Cragg - University of B.C.
Jacquelyn Cragg, ICORD Postdoctoral Fellow has won the Society in Science – Branco Weiss Fellowship (society-in-science.org) for her postdoctoral studies. She joins physicists, biologists, social scientists, and other researchers from around the world in accepting the prestigious award given by ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). She was the only recipient this year from Canada. Read the rest of her story.
Josh Prasad - College of the Rockies
Josh enrolled in the electrical pre-apprenticeship training at College of the Rockies in 2008. Upon graduating, he decided to continue his learning through the apprenticeship program. While enrolled in the apprenticeship program, Josh found work with a variety of local companies performing residential and commercial building in the electrical trade. Read his story.
Benson Shum - Capilano University
For a kid who grew up watching a lot of cartoons, it’s not surprising that Benson Shum (bensonshum.com) (bensonshum.com) first heard about Capilano University’s 2D Animation diploma on television. It was 1997 when the 17-year-old first saw a news profile on the fledgling animation program. He told his parents, “I want to try that out!” Read his story.
Hector Alberto - Camosun College
When he looks back on it, Hector Alberto admits he didn’t see himself working on cars for a living. The 35-year-old just knew that he would at some point have to find something that he could consider a career. Read more about his journey here.
Graeme Joseph - Langara College
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.”
Read more about his journey here.
Melina Laboucan - University of Victoria
A 33-year-old member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, came to UVic’s Indigenous Governance (IGov) master’s program in 2013 with a clear purpose: to develop a solar energy project plan that would tackle Indigenous and environmental issues in her home town of Little Buffalo, Alberta. Read more about her journey here.
Shruthi Narayan - Simon Fraser University
Ask Shruthi Narayan how she feels about graduating from SFU’s new master’s in big data program, and you will get a simple but poignant answer: “It’s like a dream.” Read more about her journey here.
Matthew Boucher - North Island College
NIC Communication Design Diploma student Matthew Boucher is developing skills highly sought after in B.C.’s growing tech industries. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Matthew Boucher spent nearly a decade in masonry before pursuing a career in graphic design. He has completed his first year of the Communication Design diploma at NIC, where he received the Deans Honour Notation of Academic Excellence.
Carol Pesce - Camosun College
After working as a stay-at-home mom to her three boys for several years, Carol Pesce decided she wanted to go back to school. Originally from Italy, Carol Pesce moved to Victoria 10 years ago. Read about her journey here.
Alana Armstrong - Camosun College
Before applying to Camosun College, Alana Armstrong had been working as a Registered Massage Therapist for 16 years when she took time off to care for some family members who had become ill. Read about her journey here.