Skookum - Spring 2020

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SU M M ER 2020 | VOL 10


COVID CAREER LAUNCH The UFV Nursing class of 2020 threw their hearts into their work, beginning their professional careers in a pandemic.

“ I’ve come to realize that some of my greatest learning opportunities have also been disguised as some of my greatest challenges.” — Amy Mueller

THE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ISSUE UFV is committed to offering experiential learning opportunities — chances to learn practical, real-world skills — to students in all academic programs. In the pages ahead you’ll find stories about students from the College of Arts collaborating with local partners, computing students gaining practical experience by completing co-op education terms with a local employer who is also an alumnus, nursing alumni who learned outside the curriculum through research and international experiences, a student who developed leadership skills that she applies to her music career, and students who contributed to knowledge about the Stó:lō people through research opportunities offered by UFV’s new Canada Research Chair.

Photo: Darren McDonald

Photo: Darren McDonald



Photo: Greg Laychak

Skookum: good, best, ultimate, first-rate. From the Chinook jargon, a trade dialect that bridged different cultures as it was used by groups of Indigenous people and multi-ethnic newcomers to British Columbia.


Photo: Greg Laychak

Photo: Darren McDonald

10 NURSING IN A PANDEMIC Nurse leader Surjeet Meelu and recent graduate Amy Mueller share their stories as a manager and a brand-new RN during COVID-19.

15 SEEING THE FOREST AND THE TREES UFV’s involvement with the Stave West Leadership Team and the Mission Community Forest makes for interesting experiential learning opportunities for students.


Matt Douma was an athlete with a passion for social justice. But it took two key mentors to help him find his way.


Photo: Greg Laychak

Photo: Jason Franson



UFV’s new Centre for Experiential and Career Education helps students weave career preparation into their undergraduate experience from the start.



Keith Carlson spent 10 years listening to, learning from, and being mentored by Stó:lō knowledge keepers before moving to Saskatchewan. Now he’s back in the Valley as UFV’s Canada Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-Engaged History.

33 LEAD WITH YOUR STRENGTHS Everyone has something they’re passionate about. The UFV Lead program gives students the resources they need to find a leadership style built around their unique strengths and abilities.

44 EN-CHAN-TED BY PHILANTHROPY Adrienne Chan isn’t the kind of donor you have to convince. She believes strongly in the value of education and is eager to help others benefit from it.

DEPARTMENTS & SECTIONS 4 President’s message 6 UFV News



36 Alumni notes 38 Distinguished Alumni 40 Keeping in Touch

GIVING 42 Giving notes

On the cover: Recent Bachelor of Science in Nursing grad Amy Mueller brings her heart to her work as a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Dale Klippenstein. Use courtesy of the Abbotsford Police Department

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Photo: Darren McDonald


t  President Joanne MacLean went on the road to deliver medals to recipients this year when COVID-19 caused Convocation to be postponed. Here, she shares an elbow bump with Lieutenant Governor’s Medalist Tsandlia Van Ry.


Mere months ago, we had no idea of the challenges we would face with the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. But I am a firm believer that times of great challenge hold even greater potential for learning, growth, and transformation. While this current moment does not define UFV, it has certainly shown us what we’re made of. I have witnessed extraordinary leadership, collaboration, flexibility, and kindness, and it has made me prouder than ever to be a part of the UFV community. Faculty and staff have had to rapidly adapt to online teaching and a remote working environment. Students have had to face uncertainty they never imagined in their pursuit of higher education. We have all found new and creative ways to learn and connect while waiting for that much anticipated time when we can gather in person again. Our people are what makes UFV the exceptional university it is, one where we all work together to engage learners, transform lives, and build community. We take pride in preparing our students to be global citizens and contribute to our increasingly complex world. Take Amy Mueller, a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, for example. In a time of great uncertainty, she is using the skills and experiences she

gained as a student at UFV to be a part of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 response. Surjeet Meelu graduated from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in 2000 and is now a leader in management at Lions Gate Hospital. She and her team have worked endless hours in collaboration with physician colleagues to create strategies for working with COVID-19 patients in both the emergency room and intensive care unit. Matt Douma faced roadblocks and setbacks on his journey to becoming a Registered Nurse, but with the support of important mentors at UFV, he thrived. Today, Matt is a respected nurse educator who has refined a life-saving technique since adopted by numerous NATO member nations. He is also helping to develop a free open-access course for nurses on caring for COVID-19 patients and has authored guidelines on how to perform CPR on someone who may have the illness. Thank you to the people of the Fraser Valley for continuing to support and encourage our students. You are partners in their successes. Through generous donations, more than $100,000 has been raised for the Student Emergency Fund to help students who have felt the negative economic impact of the pandemic.

As a proud member of this community, I want to emphasize that all of us at UFV are also here for you. We have been finding ways to support the community now and will continue to look for ways to build community beyond this crisis. I encourage us all to celebrate how far we’ve come over these last few months. But I’d like to remind us all that it is imperative we simultaneously look to our future. We have learned so much about ourselves and the world, and it is a perfect time to use this knowledge and awareness to inform our long-term planning. UFV’s integrated strategic planning process, led by our Provost and VP Academic James Mandigo, is a vital step in our evolution as a university and a community. These are uncertain times. Yet with challenges comes opportunities. I look forward to seizing the opportunity to make UFV the best learning institution it can be. I hope you will join me on this journey.

Joanne MacLean, PhD — UFV President & Vice-Chancellor SUMMER 2020  5


Photo: Greg Laychak

Dr. James Mandigo joined UFV in Fall 2019 as Provost and Vice-President, Academic. The Provost is ultimately responsible for setting overall academic priorities in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and the quality of the university’s educational programming. The Provost also oversees the recruitment and retention of outstanding and

diverse faculty and staff. Mandigo holds a PhD from the University of Alberta in Physical Education and Recreation, a Master of Arts in Child and Development Studies from Laurentian University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from Wilfrid Laurier University. He joins UFV from Brock University, where he most recently held the position

of Vice-Provost for Enrolment Management and International. His deep and varied postsecondary background includes roles as full professor, associate dean, and dean. He was also a visiting scholar at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, a visiting associate professor at UBC, and associate faculty member at the University of Toronto.


UFV’s newest building was formally opened this year with a ceremony grounded in Stó:lŌ cultural traditions. Building K, the former Phoenix restaurant and Finnegan’s pub that UFV purchased from the Esposito family in 2018, has been transformed into a classroom and lab complex after a major renovation. A total of 10 classrooms, two drop-in student labs, and one meeting room have shifted into the renovated and renewed Building K, bringing students, staff, and faculty from multiple departments into new spaces. At the opening ceremony, following Stó:lŌ protocols, witnesses were called to observe the ceremony and share their insights about the

Although they didn’t get to enjoy the traditional Convocation ceremony in June, our academic medalists were recognized by UFV. The Governor General’s Gold Medal went to Kelly Ridder, who earned a Master of Social Work. The Governor General’s Silver Medal was received by Shanna Yaroshuk, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care. The Governor General’s Bronze Medal was earned by Shelby Klassen of the Agriculture Technology diploma program. And the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal was won by Tsandlia Van Ry of the Bachelor of Education program.


Photo: Darren McDonald


new building and the work that went into the transformation. Witnesses included carver Rocky LaRock, UFV President Joanne MacLean, UFV janitorial coordinator and Haida Nation member

James White, SUS President Tripat Sandhu, associate director of building systems Sheldon Marche (who is Qualipu from the Mi’kmaq in Newfoundland), and Provost James Mandigo.

BUILDING RENEWAL BRINGS CAMPUS IMPROVEMENTS phases to reduce the impact to faculty, staff, and students. In addition to significantly improving the appearance and lifespan of these key buildings, this renewal will provide more consistent heating and cooling management, accommodate digital infrastructure upgrades for current and future technology requirements, improve energy efficiency, and address ongoing moisture issues.

Photo: Greg Laychak

The University of the Fraser Valley’s Abbotsford Campus Building Renewal Project is bringing substantial improvements and upgrades to Building A-East and Building D. The renewal project will result in a dramatically improved external appearance and exterior walls that are better insulated, waterresistant, sturdy, and longlasting. The project will be accomplished in staggered


Photo: Darren McDonald

Every spring, UFV celebrates the achievements of its faculty and staff by conferring excellence awards in a number of categories. UFV is proud to recognize the following excellence awards recipients: • Faculty Service Excellence: Gerry Palmer, Business • Leadership: Kyle Baillie, Director of Student Life and Development and Leah Whitehouse (pictured above), Culinary Cafeteria Cashier. • Research Excellence: Robert Harding, Social Work and Human Services • Staff Excellence: Al Tuchscherer (BA ’99), women’s basketball coach • Teaching Excellence, Joanna Sheppard, Kinesiology • Teamwork: The 2019 PD Day planning committee (Mark Pearson, Wendy Gracey, Ruby Ord, Navneet Sidhu, Karen Giebelhaus, Gayle Ramsden, Brittany Grewal, Michelle Johnson, and Leah Lyon).

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UFV NEWS ALUMNI RESPOND TO COVID-19 CURVEBALL What does a true entrepreneur do when the market throws a giant curveball? Adjust. Alex McAulay (BBA ’08) and Joel Primus are seasoned entrepreneurs who have teamed up to launch several businesses. Their latest? Kosan, a travel wear company they founded in 2017. The problem? Not many people are buying travel wear when international travel has slowed to a trickle. That didn’t sit well with McAulay and Primus (who also attended UFV). They decided to


“pivot” their business and start making protective masks for the consumer market. “There were several reasons we decided to pivot our business into protective masks. Our hunch was that masks would become an essential travel and everyday item, so we started to develop these products with a long-term view. As the COVID-19 crisis progressed we realized there was an immediate need now for both masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) and we wanted to be part of that solution. Not only would this help keep Kosan alive, but it could help keep people protected, so we converted our supply chain immediately and haven’t slept much since!”

If you’ve been to the UFV Careers home page lately, you might have seen some familiar faces. As part of a larger campaign to increase local and national awareness of UFV as an employer, Human Resources at UFV turned to our own employees to tell the UFV story.

Human Resources has launched a new web presence and marketing campaign that asks the question ‘career or lifestyle — why not both?’ And the stars of the show are actual UFV employees (three of whom are also alumni), including Satwinder Bains, Shirley Hardman, Derek Ward-Hall (BBA ’17), Joel Feenstra (Cert Electrical ’03), Arun Varghese (CIS ’19), and Joanna Sheppard. Each tells a unique story about how UFV allows them to pursue both a fulfilling career and personal passions. Looking for a new career? Check out

UFV LAUNCHES HEALTH AND SOCIAL INNOVATION HUB UFV has teamed up with community partners in the health sector to launch a centre for community-focused research on health-related topics. The Community Health and Social Innovation Hub (CHASI Hub) will act as a physical and virtual knowledge centre, bringing UFV researchers and


Photo: Greg Laychak

UFV received funding from the Government of Canada for research aimed at mitigating the spread of contagious diseases like COVID-19, particularly amongst international travelers. A team led by Dr. Cindy Jardine, UFV’s Canada Research Chair in Health and Community, is conducting research on the health information needs and gaps faced by families visiting friends and relatives in their countries of origin. “Containing an emerging disease, such as COVID-19 depends on stopping the spread of the disease to other areas

Photo: Darren McDonald

students together with health and social service professionals. Joining UFV as community partners are Fraser Health, the First Nations Health Authority, and the Divisions of Family Practice of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission, which represent family physicians in those locations. Professor Martha Dow of UFV has been appointed as Director of the Health and Social Innovation Hub.

around the world,” she notes. “People who travel back to their countries of origin to visit friends and relatives are often at a higher risk of getting a disease and then spreading it to others. A better understanding of these travelers’ knowledge, risk perceptions, information needs, barriers to pre-travel care and advice, and access to protective measures will help us better develop strategies to

keep travelers healthy.” The UFV grant, valued at $273,978 over two years, is part of a federal government investment of nearly $27 million supporting 47 research teams across Canada whose focus will be on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and the outbreak of other infectious diseases.

LOST FEAST DRAWS PARALLELS WITH SPECIES IN PERIL TODAY dish, and they ate it to death.” There were also passenger pigeons, once so plentiful that the North American sky was full of them. The last of the species perished in captivity in 1914 after overhunting diminished the wild population. The tourtiere we enjoy today as a meat pie was originally stuffed with pigeon. The passenger pigeon was also a dinner staple in other forms, such as roasted with vegetables.

Newman, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment at UFV, sees parallels between

food extinctions of the past and species in peril today. And her current research focuses on mitigating species loss.

Photo: Darren McDonald

If you could go back in time, what would you do? Food expert Dr. Lenore Newman would travel to ancient Rome and try silphium. It’s an herb that was “loved to death” by the Romans, and it’s not the only vanished victual featured in Lost Feast, Newman’s new book about extinct animals and plants that were once on our dinner tables. “I would have loved to have tried silphium,” she notes. “The Romans used it in almost every

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A new grad and a 20-year alumna on the frontlines of COVID-19 BY ANNE RUSSELL

A TALE OF TWO NURSES This is the story of Surjeet and Amy. 10 SKOOKUM

Photos: Darren McDonald

One’s a veteran with 20 years of experience who now manages teams of nurses and other health-care professionals. The other is just launching her career. Both are UFV Bachelor of Science in Nursing alumni. And both found themselves immersed in the battle against COVID-19.

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Who would have guessed that the nursing class of 2020 would find themselves working in a pandemic in their first few months of practice? Amy Mueller (BSN ’20) and her classmates finished their BSN this past December. “I’ve come to realize that some of my greatest learning opportunities have also been disguised as some of my greatest challenges. Being a newly graduated RN in the face of a pandemic has been no different. June 2020 should be convocation time for me; however, that is currently on pause, as is much of life at the moment!”


A key skill for being a good manager is the ability to adapt to challenges, and to lead your team through them. Given that she is program manager of emergency, intensive care, and acute respiratory services at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, Surjeet Meelu (BSN ’00) has had her skills tested in a big way since early March. Surjeet, who graduated from UFV with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2000, says that the pandemic has stretched her leadership skills and brought them to a whole new level, and credits her teams with rising to the challenge with her. “A leader is only as strong as her team. My primary focus was to respond to the needs of our patients and my teams, and ensure that we were able to support our patients as a system. My teams worked endless hours in collaboration with our physician colleagues to come up with quick strategies to ensure everyone felt comfortable looking after COVID-19 patients in the ER and ICU. And, of course, the respiratory therapy team is at the forefront of respiratory care of these patients.”



Amy is currently casually employed with Fraser Health on an inpatient surgical unit, in addition to working for the Public Health Agency of Canada as part of the federal COVID-19 response. “As a newly graduated RN, I have come to realize discomfort is the norm. At the beginning of 2020, I was filled with excitement, stress, and anxiety as I anticipated starting my new career as an RN. Shortly after I completed some of my first ‘solo’ shifts as an RN, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.” Like many of us, Amy didn’t initially appreciate the gravity of the situation. “Initially, many of us laughed at the memes that filled the Internet and joked about the scarcity of toilet paper. Quickly, we realized the reality of the situation, as new information became available. Within days, life turned upside down. We received daily emails on personal protective equipment requirements, new protocols, screening measures, and a multitude of other things. It was clear the situation was changing faster than anyone was comfortable with. As a new grad, the overall sense of uncertainty felt especially heavy. Not only was I fairly new and questioning well, everything… now I was new and also facing something no one else before me had. While this was an uncomfortable thought, I found comfort in knowing we were navigating uncertain times together.” Knowing that there were real people behind the daily statistics hit Amy hard. “There were a number of tough days as this all began to unfold. The enormity of the situation weighed heavy as we heard the daily updates in B.C., Canada, and across the world. It hit especially hard when I sat back and considered these ‘numbers’ were not numbers at all, but human lives, something I think a lot of people forget.”


The advent of COVID meant big changes for all the areas Surjeet is responsible for. “Within a few days in early March, we changed the layout of our Emergency department to ensure we were able to support a sorting system to triage our patients effectively and efficiently. We wanted to ensure that COVID-suspect and non-COVID patients were not mixed.” And suddenly, wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) became part of their workplace reality. “Our teams ran daily simulations to practise PPE donning and doffing protocols using various scenarios. We adapted our strategies from what we learned in the simulations. We adjusted our nursing staffing model in all program streams to ensure we were able to support COVID-positive, COVID-suspect and non-COVID patients throughout the facility and health authority.”


As a new nurse, Amy turned to experiences she gained through her UFV nursing education to give herself strength and courage. “As I started to embrace the discomfort that permeated life both as a new grad and in the face of the pandemic, I began to draw on courage I had found in other parts of my life. I drew on my experiences throughout nursing school; from being a new nervous student, to completing and succeeding in preceptorship. From travelling to Sierra Leone as part of the UFV Global Health elective to witnessing the challenges but also the resilience of the people there. From overcoming my own personal challenges to succeeding in my goals. At some point I realized, this pandemic was also going to be an experience my future self would look back on and draw strength from.” The Fraser Health Authority called out to nurses to complete ‘upskilling’ in

anticipation of High Acuity and Intensive Care units requiring extra support with a potential increase in patient numbers. “I responded to the call out quicker than my brain actually could comprehend and shortly after found myself completing online modules and learning about an entirely new realm of nursing. A couple of times I stopped myself and wondered what I was doing, diving into uncertainty, in the face of so much uncertainty… But, I wanted to help in whatever way I could to support my peers and colleagues and serve the people of our community.” Just prior to volunteering to upskill, Amy applied to a Government of Canada posting looking to create a nurse inventory for a potential COVID-19 response. She encouraged a close friend to also apply. Now three recent UFV nursing grads are employed with the Public Health Agency of Canada, contributing to our country’s COVID-19 response.


Photo: Darren McDonald

As VCH implemented an Emergency Operations Committee 24/7 so the system could respond to ever-changing demands on a daily basis, health-care leaders like Surjeet worked around the clock to support their teams. “The biggest impact I noticed was adapting to changing information on a daily or hourly basis and keeping the teams informed. Managing change fatigue was key for our frontline teams.” They also had to adjust to a hospital environment where families no longer had the freedom to visit. “Moral and ethical dilemmas around visitation guidelines during the COVID pandemic in ICU has had a significant impact on our team. This is not our norm; our ICU team takes great pride in providing family-centred care. As a manager and a leader, it is my job to keep my teams informed and focused on what is best for our patients and families.” The challenges were numerous and arrived at a rapid pace. With those challenges came debate about how to handle them. “The speed with which the conflict evolved daily among various health-care professionals in the name of changing and conflicting information was incredible. I adapted my strategy to hold daily huddles with our physician colleagues and frontline leaders to stay on the same page and in one unified direction. As a leader, my job was and is to keep my teams calm and focused on the task at hand: care of our patients.”


Amy is still wrapping her head around the fact that she’s launching her nursing career during a pandemic. “If you asked me what I thought I would be doing within the first six months after

Like many children during the COVID-19 pandemic, Callum McDonald of Chilliwack showed his appreciation for health-care workers by placing hearts on the window.

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finishing nursing school, in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined this would be it. I believe the journey of nursing school, and every instructor, classmate, and experience along the way prepared me for what is now reality. To this day my instructors continue to inspire me. I look to them for support and take comfort in knowing they are incredible nurses themselves and while I may not feel ready for the reality of life, they believe I can handle what comes my way.”


As expected, the pandemic has taken its toll mentally and emotionally on Surjeet and her teams. “Managing my own mental health and that of my teams during this tough time has been challenging. My frontline teams came up with strategies to support each other — such as a ‘wall of positivity’ to share appreciation for their work and keep each other motivated to keep showing up.” She is grateful for the resiliency of her team members. “I am in awe of the resiliency I have witnessed in my teams and pleased with my own ability to manage conflict during these tough times. The speed at which I had to make decisions in collaboration with my team and senior leadership every hour was incredible. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to be a part of the teams I lead. I am in awe of how everyone stepped up to this challenging time. My frontline teams are true healthcare heroes. They kept showing up day after day while dealing with their own anxieties and knowing that they could get sick from exposure to COVID-19 at work.”


Surjeet credits her nursing education at UFV and continuing studies afterward with helping her prepare for being a health-care leader during a pandemic. “UFV is by far my favorite educational institution. I like the educational approach to nursing there. UFV prepared me well before I stepped into the nursing workforce. And I have learned so much along the way through practice and further education. The power of learning never ceases to amaze me. I am always learning and growing.” Her entire nursing journey brought her to a place where she was prepared to rise to the challenge of COVID-19. “I think my collective experience in health care has prepared me well to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. An ability to adapt to change, to make quick decisions and respond efficiently is the key. Acknowledging that we don’t know everything and working with whatever information we do have is important. “As a leader, I’ve had to deal with a lot of uncertainty. With uncertainty comes fear of the unknown. Managing conflicting information was challenging but not unmanageable. We figured things out together as a team. We made decisions collaboratively and stuck with them until information changed and we went back to the drawing board again.”


Amy has some advice for those who are struggling. “At this time there is so much uncertainty in the world. If you are feeling especially heavy, please know you are not alone. These are uncertain times. Give yourself grace. When you are questioning if you can keep going, remember you can. Take a deep breath. Believe in yourself.

Be confident in what you know. Embrace challenges. Ask for help. Seek out learning opportunities and always remain as positive as possible. “I am incredibly thankful to be a part of such an incredible profession and I look forward to all that this career has in store for me. A special shout-out to all of my friends, family, classmates, colleagues, instructors and all of the future nurses I will one day work alongside!”


As would be expected, the pandemic affected Surjeet’s family life. “Being a manager means you have two families: one at home and one at work. The needs of both are important and can’t be ignored. This pandemic pushed the priority higher for my work family. My home family didn’t first understand how big the impact was but as social media about the situation began to spread, they realized how much my teams depend on me. Once the reality set in — they were more than supportive. I worked long hours and came home late. No one complained.” A major theme of Surjeet’s experience during the pandemic is gratitude. “I keep reflecting on my experience as a health-care professional, a mother, a daughter and a wife. I feel privileged to be part of a health-care team during this difficult time; I can only imagine how our patients and families are feeling. “As a nurse leader, I feel nothing but a deep sense of gratitude during this pandemic. Health-care teams have stepped up to this challenge without complaining. I have witnessed care, compassion, empathy, resilience and authentic leadership. This crisis has brought us together and we are a strong team.

PLANTING SEEDS UFV students help shape curriculum for a school with environmental focus BY GREG LAYCHAK

Donovan Toews and Michelle Lefebvre are a part of something big. Ecosystem big.

The UFV student duo stand in a forest beside a school playground on a rainy day in north Mission. On the other side of a fence separating Donovan and Michelle from the yard, students run back into the dry shelter of the recently reopened Stave Falls Elementary. Photo: Greg Laychak

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Photo: Greg Laychak

Photo: Greg Laychak

Photo: Greg Laychak

Donovan Toews (above), and Michelle Lefebvre (right) doing fieldwork at Stave Falls Elementary.

Donovan moves to inspect the bramble of his environmental nemesis: the invasive Himalayan Blackberry. Michelle crosses a creek and stops to observe bird signs on a tree. They are at home in this alternative classroom beside the school. “Our future is the education of the younger generations,” says Donovan, a BA student majoring in geography and minoring in communication. “And if we help them understand the importance and role of the environment, as they grow and become more involved in the community,


as they start getting older and start voting and becoming leaders, they will be able to use that knowledge to make real change.” They’re helping create that change by advising the school in its development of an environment-focused curriculum: Donovan by invasive species removal and restoration of native plants, and Michelle through her extensive knowledge of birds. There are countless lessons to be taught in and around those brambles and bird signs. Set in 10 acres of land just south of the Mission Municipal Forest, a reconstructed

Stave Falls Elementary is completing its first full school year after a decade-long dormancy. Re-emerging as a result of community lobbying, the improved site offers a focus on outdoor education, forestry, and Indigenous culture. “Our staff chose to have Michelle and Donovan join us on the first growth planning day we had in September,” says Elena Di Giovanni, principal of Stave Falls. “Everything was foreign and new and really overwhelming: 10 acres of forest, a small staff coming from very different places. And we converged in this

beautiful library and mapped out a plan together.” Di Giovanni and her staff had a long list of immediate needs. The teachers at Stave Falls were placed only a few weeks before classes started and the school was already growing very quickly. “They lucked out that we have these talented UFV senior undergraduate students,” says Dr. Michelle Rhodes, chair of Integrated and General Studies and Environmental Studies at UFV. Rhodes is the university’s representative in the Stave West Leadership Team, a multi-stakeholder group working in Mission, in accordance with the Stave West Master Plan to “advance sustainablymanaged community forestry hand-inhand with safe outdoor recreation” on crown lands west of Stave Lake. The team includes the District of Mission, three First Nations (Kwantlen, Matsqui, and Leq’a:mel), RCMP, BC Conservation Officer Service, Ministry of Forest Lands Natural Resource Development (FLNRD), Mission Public Schools, UFV and BCIT. Using funding from UFV’s Fund for Innovation in Teaching (FIT), Rhodes and Larissa Horne, UFV’s Experiential Education Coordinator, have been developing an inventory of projects in

Photo: Greg Laychak

“ It’s exciting that there’s an opportunity for this in our backyard. The District of Mission and its forestry department want UFV as a partner.”

Mission’s forest lands that can potentially involve UFV students — including invasive species management and bird education at Stave Falls Elementary. “We have one student each semester working on a project inventory,” Rhodes says. “The idea is to have the research students sit down with some of the key stakeholders and ask them: ‘What are your top priorities? What are your projects? What are you seeing as really important?’” Faculty and students take the inventory, gather details on prioritized projects for each stakeholder, and then identify if there are good student learning opportunities associated with those projects. That sweet-spot, where there is synergy between student interests and immediate stakeholder needs, is where the magic happens. Students get credits for experiential learning in a setting that reveals to them how industry works in their field of study. At the same time, some Stave West organizations with scarce resources have their prime concerns addressed. “Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t,” says Rhodes. “Stave Falls Elementary has been a really good case of responding to immediate needs.”

— Michelle Rhodes Dr. Michelle Rhodes is UFV’s representative on the Stave West leadership team and helps facilitate learning opportunities for UFV students. SUMMER 2020  17

Photo: Greg Laychak


The Stave West Leadership Team was born from a vision of the stakeholders to try to find a way to attract families and desired users back into the area, to turn it into an educational space, and begin taking steps towards reconciliation with First Nations. That process has been successful. More policing and security, public education, new campgrounds, and more use by families have deterred some of the worst of the activities, and culminated in the creation of the Stave West Master Plan in 2015. “It will be an ongoing challenge,” says Rhodes. “But thankfully everybody around the table is committed that this has to be a process that’s inclusive, that really balances various types of opportunities.” Educational partners like UFV can play a strong role in discussions around the leadership table. Long-term research is sought for everything from biological and ecological remediation needs to looking at better ways of embracing Indigenous values in signage and outreach. “It’s exciting because there’s an opportunity for this in our backyard,” says Rhodes. “The District of Mission and its forestry department have said this whole time: ‘We want UFV as our partner.’”

UFV students from Graphic and Digital Design (GDD) and Communications recently finished interpretive signage design standards, and 10 UFV faculty members from different disciplines, including geography, biology, communications, graphic design, and history, will be involved in project work with the Stave West area this year. And there’s the Stave Falls Elementary partnership, where Donovan and Michelle have already made an impact. “We’ve had a lot of movement around this in a very short period of time and a bottom-up approach to engagement with the forest,” says Rhodes.

Photo: Greg Laychak

Donovan and Michelle “absolutely address an important need” according to the school’s principal. “Their expertise and depth of knowledge is helping us build our understanding of possibilities and content areas we can teach, as well as giving us the tangibles we need,” says Di Giovanni. Stave Falls staff needed help, and they needed it fast. Without UFV’s involvement, that work would have fallen on teachers who don’t necessarily specialize in those subjects, during a time when they were rebooting an entire educational institution. The Mission Municipal Forest is the oldest continuously operating community-run forest in all of Canada. Within that 10,000 hectares of land is Stave West, a large, 50 kilometer square area that has a great amount of demand placed on it from recreational users. The area includes high-value lakes and the foreshore flats, a scenic waterfront along the west side of the Stave reservoir where dropping water levels expose extensive sandbars and the lake bottom. How do you operate a working forest with visitation increasing to the level of many B.C. provincial parks? And how do you balance all of the stakeholder needs on that land?

With the living inventory UFV is helping create, the list of potential partnerships goes on: the Fraser Valley Mountain Biking Association could ally with students who need environmental assessment experience for new trails; the Back-Country Horsemen of B.C. could team up with GIS students for some of their mapping projects; there’s a strong need for plant identification and cultural use mapping where UFV Indigenous studies students and biology students would both be valuable. Rhodes sees no limit to the potential for educational experience in the community. “The idea behind the project inventory is that we can continue to update it, we can let it breathe as priorities change,” she says. “It gives us a chance to go to our faculty and say ‘These are the District of Mission’s needs,’ and it opens it up to a huge number of projects for our students.” Donovan fell in love with plants years ago when taking a biogeography course at UFV. It was his first real introduction to how vegetation works with the geography of an area and environment, and it quickly turned into a passion. Part of that enthusiasm was the challenge of tackling invasive species. Michelle found her way to these Stave Falls Elementary woods because of her love for beaked and feathered vertebrates.

This UFV senior geography student is an avid birder. Now the two are not just working to help shape the Stave Falls curriculum, but also the outdoor “classroom” itself. Both Michelle’s and Donovan’s specialties directly addressed urgent needs from Stave Falls Elementary. Donovan’s removal-and-restoration plants management plan will act as something of a guided evolution of that learning ecosystem, and it will also provide an ongoing lesson for the students. “I’m making sure they’ve got some clearing spaces so that they can have a group of students standing around with a talking point,” he says. Some areas will also eventually be created for learning about forest habitat, Donovan adds. “It is not only for children to learn, we’re trying to restore it back to its natural state so that they can have the biodiversity of birds and mammals,” he says. “They see a few little birds like the chickadees, but for the most part a lot of the birds have been pushed away.” Michelle’s bird habitat management plan fits naturally alongside Donovan’s project in the interconnected scheme. “A bird can tell you a lot about the environment,” she says. “If it’s full of invasive species, you’re going to get fewer

bird species there than you would in a natural environment.” Michelle is creating a booklet of the most common birds at Stave Falls Elementary. That inventory will help her successors develop a learning curriculum around birds: How to do math with birds, identifying seasons with birds, talking about climate change using bird trends. “Most kids like birds,” she adds. “They know what a robin is, so you start off with those.” And the Stave West mascot is an owl, so there’s already a strong symbolic connection for Michelle to build on. Rhodes’ hope is to have a UFV summer student take both of those plans and turn them into usable lesson plans for the school. That generational handoff is a key part of the program, with needs from the same stakeholder addressed by different faculties over time, building on previous work. “It definitely starts at the roots,” says Donovan. “They have an idea of the end-product, but they need the people to design and implement and start actually building it up from the ground.” That’s why it’s useful to get UFV students involved, he adds, so students can take what they’ve learned at school and actually put it to use. “You’re back out there, you’re with people, you’re being an educator, you’re being a leader in that sense,” Donovan says. “I would not have been able to do anything like that without UFV. You don’t get these sorts of opportunities at larger undergraduate universities.” All of Michelle and Donovan’s efforts are meant to encourage Stave Falls students to become citizen scientists. The hope is they will influence their families and others to grow into active participants of the Stave West environmental and organizational ecosystems. Those planted seedlings are branching out, joining UFV and many others who are part of the great, interwoven stakeholder group of Stave West. “Everything is connected,” Donovan says. SUMMER 2020  19

PASSION IGNITED Matt Douma wasn’t a typical nursing student. He chafed against convention and questioned the rules. He had passions outside of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program, despite being warned by his professors that he wouldn’t have time for volunteer work or extracurricular pursuits. He was at risk of dropping out and almost gave up on his dreams of being a healthcare professional. But meeting two key people at UFV saved him. BY ANNE RUSSELL

Photo: Jason Franson


Rowing coach Liz Chisholm helped Matt focus his energy and pursue athletic excellence. And Adrienne Chan, a professor of social work and human services, introduced him to universitylevel research opportunities. “Two people were key to my academic and personal success: Liz Chisholm and Adrienne Chan,” Matt asserts. “They bolstered my wellness and helped me transition from a rebellious youth to a disciplined young adult. Adrienne was the first person to make me feel smart. She taught me that if I put in the time and effort into a project, I could be successful. Thanks to her, I am as much a research scientist as I am a Registered Nurse now.” Matt’s current career has three streams to it: He provides clinical nursing education to students three times per week, he spends two or three days a week in his own academic pursuits, and he trains nurses and other health-care professionals in emergency life-saving skills, including those relevant to the COVID-19 epidemic. Based in Edmonton at Royal Alexandria Hospital, he also teaches at the University of Alberta, and is involved in research on critical health care skills with collaborators from across the world. His success was not a given. As a young man Matt had energy to burn… and he had to find a conduit for it so he could still his mind and body and focus on his studies. For Matt, that conduit was rowing. He was introduced to the sport after his parents enrolled him at Brentwood College school on Vancouver Island. He had been expelled from school in his hometown of 108 Mile House, and this was a last-ditch effort to correct his course. “I really got turned around there. I learned how to study with the help of mandatory study hall sessions, and also got into rowing.” A few years of working on the periphery of the health care field followed. He was

involved in ski patrol, search and rescue, and occupational health and safety. “I wanted to get into health care, but knew my grades weren’t good enough to put me on the med school track, and I’d seen too many paramedics stuck waiting in hospital hallways for their patient to be admitted. I needed more action than that. So I decided to pursue a career in emergency nursing.” Once he was admitted to UFV’s nursing program he joined the UFV rowing team and was out on the water at Fort Langley most mornings, rowing with his partner under the guidance of Coach Chisholm. “Rowing was a way to tire me out enough so that I could focus on my studies,” Matt says. “It was also essential for my mental health. I needed that outlet.” And when Liz and her husband Tom discovered that Matt was sleeping in his 1987 Honda Civic hatchback in parking lots, they took the unusual step of inviting him to live in their family home for his last semester. “As a coach, one is very mindful of helping people grow and develop as a whole person,” Liz notes. “Matt was going through a very stressful time, rowing at the university level, taking a very demanding and all-encompassing program, and being very involved in a major research project. After I arrived at the boathouse before dawn one morning and found Matt sleeping in his car, I talked it over with my husband and we decided to offer him one of our spare bedrooms for the winter months.” As Liz was Matt’s coach, she was careful to keep a professional distance, and the offer to stay came from her husband Tom. They didn’t see much of Matt as he was busy on all fronts and out much of the day and night, but the security of having somewhere to sleep and look after his basic needs supported his success. “Yeah, it was tough being a student athlete,” Matt recalls. “It was difficult

balancing training in Abbotsford/ Chilliwack, having clinical rotations all over the Fraser Valley and living where I had been in Langley. I was running out of money and I needed to keep rowing in order to maintain my mental health. I was sleeping at the boathouse parking lot in my Honda Civic. Liz and Tom made it possible for me to continue to be well, pay tuition, work in Abbotsford, and do clinical rotations.” Matt was the UFV Cascades’ top male rower from 2004 to 2006, achieving unprecedented results for the team. He and teammate Gareth Newcombe (BKin ’06) became the first Cascades rowers to earn selection to the prestigious Head of the Charles regatta in Boston in 2005, where they finished second to Harvard University in the men’s double. Matt and Gareth also turned in outstanding performances at the Canadian University Rowing Championships, winning the B final in 2004, and qualifying for the A final in 2005. But Matt was more than an athlete. He also had a burning curiosity about the world around him, a strong volunteer ethic and sense of social justice, and interest in social issues that took him beyond the nursing curriculum. So he enrolled in Adrienne Chan’s social work course as an elective outside of his nursing studies. Adrienne supervised Matt in a project examining homelessness in Abbotsford from a health-care perspective. In his research study, Matt detailed the experiences of individuals through 12 in-depth participant interviews and 50 questionnaires with people who shared their challenges and victories with disease, substance misuse, and holistic health within the context of physiological illness and service delivery. “Matt was a very dedicated student in my class,” Adrienne recalls. “He was an outstanding researcher with an inquiring mind. He took his studies seriously.

SUMMER 2020  21

His challenges were to ask ‘why’ and ‘why not’ questions, to attempt to challenge the health care and social systems to change policies and practices for the betterment of clients and patients.” In his graduation year of 2006 Matt was a UFV Scholar Athlete of the Year and he received the Undergraduate Research Excellence award, jointly with another student. While at UFV, Matt was also volunteering at the Salvation Army and doing foot care for homeless individuals. “Matt has a deep sense of health care and its connection to human rights,” Adrienne says. “I really owe my research training to Dr. Adrienne Chan,” Matt says. “She taught me how to formulate a question and answer it in a meaningful way. She was my supervisor through my undergraduate research project surveying and interviewing adult emergency shelter users about how they manage chronic illnesses. With her help, I was able to present this work at the Social Sciences Congress. It was an incredible experience.” In 2006, just after graduation, Matt went to Vietnam on an international program supported by the UFV Research Office, UNICEF, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Association of University and Colleges of Canada (now Universities Canada). He worked with repatriated


sex workers in Vietnam and China to relocate children who had been trafficked. This internship experience gave him an opportunity to collaborate with lawyers and child protection officers on a proposal for domestic violence systems change in Vietnam. “This was a great experience too. I got to do many site visits and meet lots of interesting people, and it inspired me to engage in other overseas volunteer work once I was established in my nursing career.” These other overseas experiences came with pre-trip training in emergency first aid, and one method he learned there — external aortic compression — influenced his future passion for resuscitation science. He used the technique on a man he encountered bleeding out from gunshot wounds in an Edmonton parking lot and was able to keep him alive until the paramedics arrived. Although the man later died, the experience inspired Matt to try to find ways to spread the word about this and other life-saving techniques so that other people have access to them. A recent research paper that he co-authored examines whether “virtual digital assistants” such as Siri and Alexa can help with basic first aid and life support queries. In fact, when asked what advice he would have for the UFV community, his wish was a simple one: “Get first aid training. Everyone can learn to save a life.” Adrienne, his former professor, thinks Matt exemplifies what type of citizen a university graduate should and can be. “The ideal UFV alumnus is an excellent citizen and a role model. Matt’s strong commitment to clinical education, emergency care, and a lifelong commitment to vulnerable and marginalized populations makes him both of these things. He has lived and worked in a socially conscious manner since he was a student at UFV. Moreover, he is a kind, empathetic, skilled and compassionate practitioner.”

MATT DOUMA TODAY From struggling student to multifaceted educator and scholar Matt has worked for Alberta Health Services since he graduated from UFV in 2006. After qualifying as an RN, he earned additional certificates in advanced care, critical care, and emergency nursing. In 2013, he became a nurse educator, training new nurses in a clinical setting. He has a special research interest in resuscitation. He refined a life-saving technique for the leading cause of survivable death on the modern battlefield (proximal external aortic compression) that has been adopted by numerous NATO member nations. He earned a graduate certificate in, and contributed research to, a project on collaborative specialization resuscitation science at the University of Toronto. He earned his Master of Nursing in Health Sciences Leadership from University of Toronto in 2017. He is pursuing a PhD in resuscitative science from University College, Dublin. Through his research he is developing the world’s first set of quality of care indicators for cardiac arrest care with survivors and the families of survivors and non-survivors. He is an assistant adjunct professor of critical care medicine at the University of Alberta and teaches research methods to emergency medicine resident physicians. He is editor of the Canadian Journal of Emergency Nursing. He is part of the Canadian Arrhythmia Network of Highly Qualified Personnel group developing automated surveillance systems for the detection of cardiac arrest. He was named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2019 by Avenue Magazine He is a special advisor to the World Health Organization on reducing death and disability from traumatic injury and sudden cardiac arrest.

Photo: Bob McGregor

Matt Douma with Liz Chisholm in winter 2020 at the UFV Athletics Hall of Fame awards ceremony.

He is the only nurse and youngest scientific advisor to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Resuscitation Advisory Committee. He leads Canadian Nurses Association specialty exam preparation programs in emergency and critical care nursing. He leads an international resuscitation science working group through He is a systematic review team member and guideline author for the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, developing treatment guidelines for the International Olympic Committee in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. He is a long-time volunteer with and founder of an online support group for paramedics and emergency responders with PTSD and suicidal ideation. And, he’s a proud father to three kids under six years of age and partner to Dr. Katherine Smith, an emergency physician. After causing his parents lots of stress as a rebellious teen, he’s happy to report that they recently moved next door to him in Edmonton.

H A LL OF FA MOUS TOGETHER Matt and his mentor, rowing coach Liz Chisholm (who retired from her coaching career in 2019), were inducted into the UFV Athletics Cascades Hall of Fame in January 2020, and enjoyed a brief reunion at the awards reception. Matt was the Cascades’ top male rower from 2004 to 2006, achieving unprecedented results. Liz Chisholm was the founding head coach of the Cascades rowing program, and served in that capacity for 18 seasons, from 2001 through her retirement in the spring of 2019. Under Liz’s direction, UFV rowing was a true grassroots program — an estimated 95 per cent

of her athletes over the years were recruited from the existing student body and had no prior experience with rowing. Yet the Cascades consistently experienced success beyond their modest pedigrees in the sport, turning in strong results over the years at the Western Canadian and Canadian University Rowing Championships. Four former UFV rowers have had stints with Canada’s national development team, and one — Lisa Roman — participated in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first UFV athlete across all sports to compete at an Olympics.

JOINING THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 As Canadian hospitals ramped up to confront the increased pressure on emergency departments and intensive care units, Matt applied his skills and knowledge as a clinical nurse educator to help develop a free open-access course on caring for COVID-19 patients for nurses who are being pulled in from other departments to help. He has also authored some guidelines on how to perform CPR on people who might have COVID-19 and other ways of providing life support during the pandemic.

SUMMER 2020  23

UFV’s Centre for Experiential

Photo: Greg Laychak


and Career Education aims to

Standing at his desk in a large shared office space surrounded by bold blue walls, Paras Kalra is in his element.

help students be career-ready.

His is a world of IT user support, firewall configuration, and storage and backup solutions. “You see all sorts of diverse scenarios,” he says, purposefully mousing over his latest digital riddle. “Every day — I would say every hour — there is a new issue to solve.”


For the 21-year-old UFV student from India, there is no better “classroom” than his third consecutive co-op position at Kerkhoff Technologies Inc. (KTI).




“So we hand off those things young people can do and let them be heroes, figure out new things, and grow with it because that’s how we learned when we were 20 years younger,” Wim says. Wim’s company also funds the Kerkhoff Technologies Annual Leadership Award in Computer Information Systems, a $750 annual award for students. “It’s wonderful to see alumni like Wim supporting UFV,” says Anita Nielsen, Executive Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations at UFV. His company’s hiring, onboarding, and training has become efficient enough that new Kerkhoff employees are on the phones with clients solving real IT issues in just two to three weeks. This allows entry-level folks like Paras to get up to speed and start exploring beyond the basics quickly, increasing their education and — at the same time — their value to the company. Next for Paras: Finishing his studies at UFV, but with a fresh perspective on the future. “I’ve seen a new career path with the co-op placement,” he says. “If I am given the opportunity, I would like to learn and grow in this field.” One of the biggest changes in students who have completed work terms is an increase in confidence. Kayla Webster, UFV’s Technology Programs co-op coordinator, would know. She’s been in her current role for two years, but has worked in the Centre

for Experiential and Career Education (CECE) since 2014. (She started as a work-study student, another program in the CECE portfolio.) “It’s an amazing feeling being able to help students build up their confidence and feel more prepared for their career in the workforce,” Kayla says. “Students who have completed work terms also tell me that it helped solidify their decision to be in that particular program and to pursue a career in that field when they graduate.” On the other hand, sometimes students decide they might like to try something else instead — a realization that is best made before they complete their studies. Co-op work terms provide students with the opportunity to get a “preview” of what life would look like in that field, industry, or role, according to Kayla. And then there’s the added benefit of future employment prospects. “Most of the students that have completed work terms find a job right after graduation or have already received an offer before they are done their program,” she says. The opportunity to network and meet people in their field has as much impact as the learning experience itself. But the importance of a hands-on experience component can’t be overstated. Just ask Shayne Oberhoffner, a multiconcentration UFV Bachelor of Science honours biology student who has completed his co-op designation. “Experience is the most important

Photo: Sandy Tait

In his role as a support technician, Paras started by handling the support tickets flowing live across the large wall-mounted monitors around the office. Curiosity and opportunity led him to branch out to firewalls and backup. “I never thought this to be a career path until I joined KTI,” he says. “And now I feel like I can learn and grow more in this particular field.” It helps that Paras’s boss, UFV alumnus Wim Kerkhoff (BCIS ’06), is no stranger to the university’s co-op program. “I was a co-op student myself 20 years ago,” says Wim, who also cut his experiential teeth during three co-op work terms. “That company didn’t have a room for a fifth person, so I worked from home and just used dial-up internet, logged in and wrote code.” Now his own 13-year-old company serves businesses in six countries around the world and employs 24 people — many of them former co-op students and other UFV alumni. Technology has changed dramatically since Wim’s home office arrangement, and so has the pace of that change. “This industry is growing exponentially, and we need to figure out how to work with young people,” Wim says, noting there are big returns in a small co-op investment. “We can mold them to our culture, our values, and our quality.” Student employees don’t have to unlearn bad habits, don’t overthink things, and will jump fearlessly into challenges, he says. “They have a lot of energy. And they’re happy to show up, do it, and learn.” So Wim integrates junior employees and co-op students into his business model in an industry where senior talent can be scarce. He realized that even if it takes them double the amount of time to finish a task, it frees up Wim and his senior staff to do activities more suited to senior management.

In this photo from 2000, Wim Kerkhoff (third from left) was a UFV CIS co-op student working for Merilus Technologies. Twenty years later, he runs his own firm and employs co-op students like Paras Kalra (previous page).

SUMMER 2020  25

NEW CECE INITIATIVES ++ CECE is currently developing career education modules that will be used in academic programming, using career development theory to guide the progression of learning outcomes (e.g., year one: focusing on selfdiscovery and skills inventory, year two: career exploration, year three: developing career skills and year four: transition to career placement). These modules will be available for faculty to integrate career education outcomes into their existing courses. ++ CECE is developing a career mapping tool. This tool will provide detailed information and advice for students about how to turn their education into a

career. Students can plug in their academic program and the tool will tell them what careers are available immediately following graduation, which careers are available with added professional skills and designations, and which careers are available with added education. ++ Sometimes students only explore careers that they know and sometimes they aren’t sure where their degree can lead them. Unlike the old practices of career counselling that reduced the careers available to you through questioning, this tool expands what is possible. A history student in second year can now see the many careers that are possible for them

thing,” he says, adding that students shouldn’t pass up experience just because it doesn’t fit into the educational mold they’ve made for themselves. Shayne wasn’t studying to be a plant biologist, yet all of his co-op terms were with agricultural entities. “They weren’t the medical or pharmaceutical labs that I thought I was needing to be in,” he says. “However, I was still able to gain experience in the same Co-op student Shayne Oberhoffner spoke at the grand opening of the Centre for Experiential and Career Education.

Photo: Darren McDonald


upon graduation and start to customize their education and life experiences earlier on in their education journey. UFV students have been hired to help build this tool, providing them with hands-on experience using their education in a real-world project and also ensuring that student perspectives are incorporated in the design of the tool. ++ CECE is working toward engaging with local employers in a more intentional way — so that they are not just hiring UFV students but also helping UFV students. “CECE is working toward engaging employers much earlier on in a student’s education journey,” says Liana Thompson. “We envision employers in our

laboratory, technique, and procedural techniques that I would in a medical research lab.” Shayne found better, but equally translatable, experiences as a research assistant at Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada and as a specialized lab technician with the BC Blueberry Council. “Transferable skills — both hard and soft — are valued by many employers,” he says. Those positions all turned into parttime jobs and much more for Shayne. His supervisor from Agri-Foods Canada became one of his co-supervisors in an interdisciplinary research project for which Shayne won awards. That research gained further attention by a private company in Washington State, and has led to UFV students in biology and chemistry picking up in places Shayne left off. Furthermore, when he interviewed with different grad schools, they were very interested in his applicable lab experience. Thanks to his work term practice Shayne can go into interviews with full confidence in his education, and he has

classrooms building relationships with our students, mentoring and challenging them to solve realworld problems, offering them access to specialized equipment, and introducing UFV students to their established business contacts and networks. ++ CECE is currently working to expand the Student Educational Enhancement Fund so that students add the skills and experiences they need to build their career readiness. Students can use these funds to attend conferences, engage in community projects, gain membership to professional organizations, or develop skills through professional development initiatives.

the resume to back it up. In the past, students would often wait until they were well into their fourth year before they started to think about their future careers. But it takes time to develop any new skill set — including career skills, says Liana Thompson, director of UFV’s Centre for Experiential and Career Education. “What’s exciting is that the formation of CECE intentionally integrates career preparation throughout a student’s learning journey at UFV,” she says. “So CECE is coordinating with academic programming, faculty, and staff to weave career education, skills, and experiential education from a student’s first year at UFV through their fourth year and beyond graduation.” Liana emphasizes that the recent launch of CECE wasn’t a rebranding of the Career Centre, but rather the formation of something entirely new. By intentionally bringing together and coordinating the parts of UFV that prepare students for their future careers, CECE can realize the full extent of those


Photo: Darren McDonald

Martin Thibodeau, RBC Regional President, BC, with UFV students.

CECE IS THERE FOR STUDENTS, ALUMNI, AND EMPLOYERS for STUDENTS CECE will help you prepare for your career — come and see us early in your education journey. for ALUMNI At some time in your career trajectory you may want to upgrade skills, explore other careers, or pivot to a different career. We are here to help you prepare — reach out to us and let us know how we can help you. for EMPLOYERS you may be struggling to recruit quality, skilled workers. We can help you with that.

services and match individuals with their best options. And CECE has shifted these parts from being an optional part of a student’s experience to being a core element of a student’s education at UFV. “We want our new centre to help students make the connection, and to recognize that their academic experience has career relevance,” Liana says. Shayne and Paras and the scores of other experiential learners at UFV are living proof of that fact. Employers like Kerkhoff Technologies realize tangible benefits from coordinating these experiences with the university. But the real reward is witnessing the transformation of students’ lives. “They’re opening up, evolving and growing, maturing, fitting in, and working with each other,” says Wim, now founder, CEO, and owner of Kerkhoff. His own days as a UFV co-op student are long gone, but clearly not forgotten.

UFV wants to ensure that all students have the chance to integrate careerrelated planning and experience into their education. RBC’s Future Launch program is helping to achieve that goal with a $300,000 donation from RBC Foundation to the Centre for Experiential and Career Education. “UFV and CECE are so thankful for RBC’s generous donation,” says CECE director Liana Thompson. “These funds are being put to use in developing content for our career education modules and expanding our Student Education Enhancement Fund. Due to the generous donation from RBC, we have been able to expand the City Studio experiential learning option to two additional municipalities in the Fraser Valley. Students will be working with City staff, faculty and community members to co-create solutions for challenges faced by our communities.” UFV President Joanne MacLean says the new centre ties in nicely with UFV’s mission and values. “At UFV, our mission is to engage learners, transform lives, and build community. CECE does all three. It gives learners a chance to engage with real hands-on work. Students get to engage with employers, and employers get to connect with the university through CECE.” The donation was announced at a celebration at UFV’s Abbotsford campus by Martin Thibodeau, RBC Regional President, British Columbia. “When experience is so important to getting a job, but so hard to come by, young people are left feeling uncertain about their futures in the new world of work,” said Thibodeau. “We hope that through our partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley, RBC Future Launch can help young people get those all-important first jobs and break the ‘no experience, no job’ cycle.

SPRING 2020  27


Dr. Keith Carlson has worked with the Stó:lō people for more than 20 years, helping to explore and preserve their history.

An ethnohistorian with a strong connection to the Indigenous people of Stó:lō territory is the newest Canada Research Chair at the University of the Fraser Valley. Dr. Keith Carlson joined UFV in Fall 2019 as a Tier 1 Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-Engaged History. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Carlson. He worked closely with the Stó:lō for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and grew so close to many of them that a number of Elders honoured him by referring to him as their Siya:ya, and he has been adopted into several Stó:lō families. “I spent almost 10 years listening to, learning from, and being mentored by Stó:lō knowledge keepers,” he notes. “I was told by one Elder that Siya:ya means friend, but a friend who you feel so close to that know you must be related, you just aren’t quite sure how.”


Carlson was a history professor at the University of Saskatchewan for the past 18 years, but before that he spent nine years as a staff historian and research coordinator for the Stó:lō Nation in Chilliwack, after first becoming interested in Indigenous history while a graduate student at the University of Victoria. While Carlson isn’t Indigenous himself, he was formally made an honorary member of the Stó:lō Nation in 2001. The federally funded Canada Research Chair program recruits and retains the world’s most innovative scholars to Canadian universities and funds groundbreaking research which has positive, tangible impacts on Canadian lives. Dr. Garry Fehr, Associate Vice-President of Research, Engagement, and Graduate Studies at UFV, is excited about having Carlson at UFV, and about the spin-off effects his appointment will have. “We are very pleased to have Dr. Keith Carlson join UFV as a Canada Research Chair. He brings an extensive history and well-established relationships with local Indigenous communities that will strengthen our efforts to decolonize research and Indigenize the university. We look forward to interdisciplinary collaboration with Dr. Carlson as UFV

faculty and students get opportunities to work with him.” His relationship with the Stó:lō people started in 1992 and continued during his almost two decades in Saskatchewan. With colleagues at the Stó:lō Research Centre and at the University of Victoria, he organized field schools every second summer that brought graduate students to conduct ethnohistorical research in Stó:lō territory. “It’s nice to be back in the Fraser Valley again so I can just drive down the road to consult with my Stó:lō community partners (when we are not restricted by social distancing) instead of booking a flight,” he notes. He has received external funding for many research projects. Recently, he and David Schaepe and Sonny McHalsie of the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre worked on a project called ‘Envisioning Reconciliation Among the People of the River,’ funded by a $49,500 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council federal grant. “We combined archival and oral history research with interviews and with K-12 student projects to find voices from the past and the present describing what people envision as genuine future reconciliation.”

Photo: Darren McDonald




The project has resulted in a new website, Envisioning Genuine Reconciliation in S’ólh Tém:éxw. Partners for the project include the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, UFV, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Fraser Cascade, Chilliwack, and Surrey School Districts. A teacher’s guide with lesson plans showing how to integrate the resources of the website into classroom and digital online learning will be added within the next couple of weeks. “We’re wanting to get this into the

hands of educators as soon as possible. We know that during the COVID-19 crisis teachers and parents are looking for educational learning tools, and we want to provide them with ones that can help build understanding and the foundations for reconciliation.” Carlson, who was a lead investigator for this research project, says that it is important to consider past and future generations when thinking about reconciliation. “In creating this research and teaching web resource we have been guided by

the Stó:lō concept of Tómiyeqw — the Stó:lō cultural obligation that requires the current generation to account for the needs of as yet unborn descendants seven generations into the future in ways that would be recognizable and acceptable to ancestors living seven generations in the past. We worked with contemporary Stó:lō people (youth, adults, and Elders) and helped them bring their insights and reflections into conversation with ancestral voices captured in archival records and those still held in memories so people could individually and


“ M Y APPROACH IS TO ASK THE COMMUNITY WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE RESEARCHED AND HOW THEY WOULD LIKE TO DIVIDE THE LABOUR.” collectively try to imagine and envision a future where there would be true and genuine reconciliation. We want to picture a future where the relationship between Stó:lō and settler Canadians works out in a way that the Stó:lō are content with. “We can actually go back and trace ancestors saying ‘here’s what would have to happen’ for them to feel they could live and work harmoniously with settler society.” Carlson has published his research extensively in academic journals and books, including the book The Power of Place, The Problem of Time: Aboriginal Identity and Historical Consciousness in the Cauldron of Colonialism (University of Toronto Press, 2001). But he has also worked cooperatively with Stó:lō partners on a number of community history books, contributing to works such as The Stó:lō -Coast Salish Historical Atlas; You Are Asked to Witness: Stó:lō in Canada’s Pacific Coast History; I am Stó:lō, Katherine Explores Her Heritage; and “Call Me Hank”: A Stó:lō Man’s Reflections on Life, Logging, and Growing Old, and most recently, Towards a New Ethnohistory: Community-engaged Scholarship Among the People of the River.


His research also contributed to two documentary videos: Kidnapped Stó:lō Boys and The Lynching of Louis Sam. Now that he is back in the Fraser Valley, Carlson is looking forward to working even more closely with the Stó:lō community, particularly on the topic of what he refers to as the lost opportunities of the 1860s. In that era Indigenous leaders and Governor James Douglas worked out a plan for the future that would have seen Indigenous communities retain and exercise important land, hunting, gathering, and fishing rights; as well as rights to self-governance. The plan also included a strategy for economic prosperity within the emerging colonial order. “All that was destroyed by Douglas’s successors, who dismantled the policies that had been collaboratively built and replaced them with ones that relegated Indigenous people to the lowest social, economic, and political rungs in society. The original plan can still provide us with insights and guidance for the challenges facing us all today.” He’s also collaborating with Sonny McHalsie and others from the Stó:lō Research Centre on a project that documents and examines all of the legendary Swoxwiyám stories that have been recorded to see which ones have been the most resilient, and which have been eclipsed over the past 150 years. Their preliminary analysis suggests that stories prominently featuring women and topics of sexuality have been impacted the most by colonialism. Likewise, the narratives that link Stó:lō tribal communities together across vast geographies have also been less likely to remain circulating within families and communities than those that reference specific happenings within particular tribal territories. “This suggests that the Indian Act and residential schools have impacted segments of Stó:lō society and culture differently. Women’s roles and the importance of inter-tribal co-operation have been more heavily undermined than

those relating to the counterbalancing men’s roles and the importance of band/ village level autonomy.” A digital database with searchable features documenting all of the legendary Swoxwiyám stories is one of the outputs of this research project that will be made available to Stó:lō communities and to educators. “I am grateful to be here at UFV and back in Stó:lō territory where I can be grounded in the community where my research is conducted. Here I can be even more responsive to them and partner with them. My field of ethnohistory is particularly well suited to community partnerships. My approach is to ask the community what they would like researched and how they would like to divide the labour.” He notes that the Stó:lō community has produced scholars and allied researchers in recent years, and that there is no shortage of research topics waiting to be delved into. UFV will play a key role in his ongoing and future research, opening up more opportunities for local students and scholars. He is looking forward to working with a new generation of researchers, including several Stó:lō people who have pursued graduatelevel studies in allied fields. “UFV is located in the best place to be doing serious research into Stó:lō issues, history, geography, literature, education, and anthropology. The university leadership and faculty are very aware that they are located in Indigenous space, and I am impressed by the connections that have been made between the university and the Stó:lō people.” Carlson grew up in Powell River and earned his BA and MA at the University of Victoria. He completed his PhD in Aboriginal History at the University of British Columbia in 2003. He is one of three Canada Research Chairs based at UFV.

Photo: Greg Laychak



Keith Carlson has been facilitating research opportunities for UFV students even before he joined the university. In 2017, Kinesiology student Tsandlia Van Ry (BEd ’20) began her work as one of his research assistants on a project that highlighted how different Stó:lō communities shared Swoxwiyám — oral histories that are the connection between Stó:lō communities and their ancestors in the distant past. These Swoxwiyám, as described by Herb Joe from Tzeachten in 2004, “are stories about who we are as a people.” Gwen Point from Skowkale also speaks to Swoxwiyám as being about teaching lessons: “These stories teach us about responsibility, kindness and respect. They give us wealth in the form of knowledge.” Van Ry and other researchers did a thorough literature review of published works located in the Stó:lō Resource and Research Management Library and Archives. Early ethnographers had recorded the accounts after meeting with various Stó:lō, including Dan Milo from Skowkale, and Amy Cooper from Soowahlie, at different times since first European contact. They transcribed the stories —177 in total — from various sources, digitized them, and gathered them in a spreadsheet that Carlson is transforming into a database. By comparing differences and similarities in the ways the Swoxwiyám were told across territory, in terms of plot, geography, and people, researchers can learn about shared elements of culture, history, and world view of different communities within traditional Stó:lō and beyond (among their close neighbours). “The commonalities found in the stories shows how Stó:lō people are connected with one another within Stó:lō territory, even though it was so expansive and the only way to travel was by canoe or on foot,” notes Van Ry. “The stories form a grand narrative that tells of their lived experiences recorded through the stories.” By assembling the stories collected by earlier ethnographers into one searchable database, they created

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a research resource that the original primary researchers could not have foreseen, Van Ry says. And it sparked her interest in learning more about her own culture and history. Van Ry is Ts’elqweyeqw, from the Skowkale First Nation, located in the greater Stó:lō territory. She had been planning on pursuing a career in medicine, but in doing this research her reconnection to and immersion in her culture made her think about becoming more engaged with her community in the educational realm. Continuing to learn more about her history helped convince her that her future was in the classroom, teaching others. She enrolled in UFV’s Bachelor of Education program, and graduated as a teacher in June. She also earned the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s medal. She might return to university at a later date, pursue a master’s degree, and get more involved in curriculum development. “Working with Keith opened the door for me to community-engaged scholarship that I could not have done on my own. I was able to explore more about my own culture and people through this work.


Keith has been an incredible mentor who is open and receptive to community input. He viewed student researchers as partners. He helped us feel comfortable enough about our academic ability to dive into this unique opportunity.”

LISA WOLGRAM Lisa Wolgram (BGS ’18) is a UFV Master of Education student who also earned a Bachelor of General Studies and a Bachelor of Education degree at UFV. She has had the opportunity to work on several research projects connected to Indigenous initiatives at UFV, including a new one with Dr. Keith Carlson. During the last year of her undergraduate degree at UFV she worked as a student research assistant on a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded project focused on building landbased youth resiliency with Dr. Adrienne Chan, Dr. Wenona Hall, Dr. Dave Schaepe, and others. “Over the last two and a half years, this work has allowed me the privilege of developing meaningful reciprocal relationships that have

informed and directed my development as both a learner and researcher.” She recently began working as a student research assistant with Keith Carlson. “My work centres around the development of a series of lesson plans that align with the newly redesigned BC curriculum for Social Studies 10. The lessons will be framed around archival sources from Stó:lō community members that can be found on a website developed by Dr. Carlson and others ( These research opportunities, along with my work for the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre and in the Chilliwack School District, have enabled me to apply what I have learned (and continue to learn) throughout my undergraduate and graduate degrees to my work in educational research and practice,” Wolgram notes. “It is my hope that this work will contribute to the ongoing efforts toward the prevalence and revitalization of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives both within Sto:lo communities and the local K–12 public education system.”

Photo: Darren McDonald



Cambree Lovesy combines UFV studies with the UFV Lead program and a music career.

One is a double degree holder with an ardor for the outdoors, while the other is a budding country music maven bent on bettering experiences for fellow students. Together, they are mentors in UFV Lead, the university’s leadership development program. UFV Lead is a student-focused program, based on the social change model of leadership, that integrates peer-mentorship with on-and-off campus experiential learning opportunities for students looking to become leaders at UFV and beyond.

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“Working in environmental non-profit taught me that a leader is more than someone who has the loudest voice, or stands at the front of the room,” says Hillary Rowe (BA ’16, pictured at left), a UFV alumna and former outdoor educator and zipline eco-tour guide.

“ The UFV Lead program is about giving students the resources they need to discover a leadership style built around their own unique strengths and abilities, and the community to support them as they reach for their goals.”

Photo: Darren McDonald


Hillary’s own quest to discover her passions started at UFV when she fell in love with wetlands ecology during a habitat restoration project for a secondyear biology course. This led her to pursue a degree in ecology, but her love of communications soon found her ‘wrapped in rhetoric.’ After graduating with degrees in both science and English, this Langley local eventually found herself helping others fall in love with nature, and working to protect it. “I followed my passions, grew my skills, and became really involved in my community. I want to help others to do the same,” Hillary says, explaining why she took on the role of UFV Lead program co-ordinator. “Lead students get a chance to take an active role in creating campus community and engagement opportunities for their peers, centred around things they themselves are passionate about,” she says. Built on a four-tier mentorship network, UFV Lead streams new-to-UFV students in at Level 1 to be paired with a

Level 2 mentor, who assists in navigating everything from basic campus services to leadership workshops and events, all with the mentee’s personal growth as top priority. Level 3 mentors like Cambree Lovesy (pictured below) volunteer to support Level 2 mentors, while receiving their own mentoring from community members, ranging from UFV alumni, staff, or faculty, to someone in the community compatible with their career or lifestyle goals. Hillary and Cambree first met at New Student Orientation (NSO), which comprises the other half of Rowe’s work portfolio. Cambree volunteers at NSO each semester because she remembers what it was like as a fresh student finding her way through the early days of a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was grateful to have a mentor in the UFV Lead program to help her through it. Now in her thirdyear majoring in theatre and media and communication studies, Cambree is also pursuing a career as a country music crooner. “I just checked the Lead option on my NSO sign-up sheet, and I was placed with a mentor,” she recalls. With 50 students in the UFV Lead program, Cambree is one of only two who have been involved in the program from Level 1 all the way to Level 3. Cambree now mentors two Level 2 student leaders, providing them with training, guidance, and feedback as they learn to become mentors themselves. “I can really appreciate my personal growth, going from how I felt shaking in my boots that first September, to being able help new students in similar situations thanks to this role,” she says. “There’s so much you can help a new student with. It’s a gigantic transition, so we help with social committees, navigating the Bookstore and events. It’s all the little unwritten stuff.

I felt I was able to help people feel they belong on campus.” Although students can progress through each program level, UFV Lead doesn’t take a linear approach to leadership development. Mentors are taught to constantly check in with themselves, and with others, to ensure they’re doing the best for their mentees, and for themselves. Reflective practice is at the core of the program. ‘‘Self-reflecting challenged me to think critically about my leadership skills,’’ Cambree says. That’s exactly the goal, according to Hillary.

“ When you have that authentic, vulnerable relationship with others, and with yourself, it helps you build trust and ultimately achieve your goals,” A graduate of Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman Secondary School, Cambree’s UFV Lead experience plugged straight into her music career.

“It’s given me confidence to know that I’m capable at everything from mentorship to planning and executing events … which is perfect for me.” At age 10 she begged for piano lessons, but her parents thought it was just another passing phase. They acquiesced and their little girl started writing songs almost immediately. She’s parlayed steady valley gigs into a trip to Nashville, and recorded an album in Los Angeles last April. “Lead has been a gateway to all of this,’’ she says. “I wouldn’t change my university experience for the world.’’ This summer she had plans to be performing at Sunfest on Vancouver Island, opening for Keith Urban, but the COVID-19 crisis dashed that dream. She plans to return to performing when gathering in groups is allowed again. Cambree was so inspired by the health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic that she wrote and recorded a tribute song for them. You can find it on Facebook at @cambreelovesyofficial. To learn more about UFV Lead, visit Hear Cambree Lovesy’s music and catch her next show via

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ALUMNI NOTES MESSAGE FROM THE UFV ALUMNI ASSOCIATION CHAIR What does it mean to be a UFV alumni? You’ll find the answer reflected in stories throughout the 2020 edition of Skookum as we celebrate the achievements of alumni such as nurse educator Matt Douma, IT entrepreneur Wim Kerkhoff, community activist Jesse Wegenast, and international development non-profit leader Sonya Sangster. To be a part of the UFV community is to be nimble and adapt to an ever-changing landscape. We are diverse in our beliefs and our backgrounds, and we are inclusive and responsive in our goals for a better community. The UFV alumni base includes chemists, teachers, tradespeople, authors, and


philosophers, among others. And of course, let’s not forget our frontline healthcare worker alumni, who have played such a vital role in the battle against COVID-19. Nurses, doctors, care aides, and others, we thank you. We are changing the world by building homes and changing policy. We engage locally and reach globally. UFV alumni change the world and when I read their stories, I am proud. The UFV Alumni Association applauds our global community and the work President Joanne MacLean has done to transform our university. On behalf of the entire board, it is an honour to serve this community.

This year’s Alumni Commemorative Wine label was designed by Paula Funk (BFA ’08). Paula is passionate about art, education, and community service — she’s happiest when these three things intersect. “I maintain my artistic practice alongside full-time work as an Academic Advisor at UFV, where I help fine arts and liberal arts students connect their educational plans with their life goals. Recent community arts projects




include works for Abbotsford Community Services, Run for Water, and the Fraser Valley Regional Library. My works can be viewed at my website,” These wine label paintings are from a series of abstract works based on the tunnels of the Fraser Canyon in BC. The nostalgia of traveling the Canyon Highway for family vacations in the 1970s is captured using playful palettes, expressionist mark-making, and simple geometric forms.

As part of its silver anniversary celebrations in the 1999/2000 academic year, UFV (then UCFV) started to formalize its relationships with its alumni. A homecoming party was held, and Aluminations, UFV’s first alumni newsletter, was launched. At the time, we had 14,000 alumni. That number is now more than 42,000! In the winter of 2000, UFV published the first ever edition of Aluminations, the inaugural eight-page alumni newsletter. That publication morphed into a full-colour magazine in 2007. And in 2010, the magazine evolved again and became Skookum, a magazine focused on telling the whole UFV story, celebrating the best of alumni, students, faculty, community, and donors. Also in 2000, the first informal Alumni Association was launched, with the goal of becoming a formal society in 2001, which it did. Terry-Lynn Stone (BA ’97) was the chair of the association in its first phase, with Stacey Irwin (BBA ’97) taking over as inaugural chair of the formal non-profit society in 2001.


#HelloUFV, Where are you? Reconnect with your Alumni Association

New neighbourhood? New city? New email? Update your info & let us know what you’re up to these days!

Reconnect at before Oct 30, 2020 and be entered to win a set of Apple Airpods. Say hi on social with #HelloUFV.

Photo: Greg Laychak

There are perks to being alumni of UFV! Here are just a few of the benefits you can take advantage of by virtue of your UFV alumni status: • Invitations to educational and social events at UFV • Alumni networking opportunities online and in person • Discounted insurance through TD Insurance Meloche Monnex • Alumni Commemorative Wine by Chaberton Estate Winery • Discounted accommodation at Sandman Hotels in Abbotsford and Langley • Access to the on-campus UFV Library • Discounted alumni business cards • Discounts at the UFV Bookstore • BMO UFV affinity credit card • Discounts at Studio B Yoga in Chilliwack • Send your kids to summer camp at UFV! Discounts on Cascades sports camps and Science Rocks summer camps • NEW! Discounts on Contiki trips Check out our website for more details and a full list of benefits.

Professor Darren Blakeborough (BA ’03), who is also a UFV alumnus, at the 2019 alumni golf tournament.

CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF THE ALUMNI OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT The cumulative effect of holding the Alumni Open Golf Tournament over the past five years is an impressive $165,000 to support the Alumni Changing Lives Bursary endowment. UFV Alumni Association Chair Emeritus Navtej Bains (BBA ’13) says the event created a strong connection between UFV students, alumni, and the greater Fraser Valley community. “Since 2015, we have collectively raised funds to support students in financial need. Each and every golfer, volunteer, and sponsor is making a valuable impact in the academic lives of students. Your support is greatly appreciated.” UFV Alumni Relations manager Whitney Fordham notes the proceeds of over

$65,000 from the 2019 tournament will fund additional bursary awards for students, each year in perpetuity. “Since the proceeds from this tournament are being donated to the Alumni Changing Lives Bursary Endowment, this truly is a gift that keeps on giving.” “It’s been very rewarding to watch the UFV Alumni Open grow a little bit each year. Five years ago, we started with 76 golfers and 15 sponsors. Since then we’ve welcomed additional golfers into the fold and doubled the number of sponsors.” A special thank you to 2019 presenting sponsors Save On Foods and Westberry Foods; and platinum sponsor The Aboriginal Housing Management Association of BC.

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Photo: Darren McDonald

Jesse Wegenast (BA ’13) leads with love and compassion in all he does. As a pastor with 5 and 2 Ministries and a resource person who serves as an uncompensated intermediary for those who are unhoused, poor, mentally ill, aged, and struggling with addictions, Jesse’s actions have had a profound impact, helping to reshape conversations around support, public space, addictions, and the lack of accommodation (both social and physical) for Abbotsford’s most marginalized populations


Jesse earned his BA in Geography at UFV in 2012, but even before graduation he was organizing free meals for Abbotsford’s most marginalized citizens in Jubilee Park. “I have always felt a pull toward helping people in need,” he says. “Even while I was a young adult, I started just talking to the people living under an overpass in Chilliwack, getting to know them better.” Jesse has spent the past decade as one of Abbotsford’s leading advocates for the rights of the homeless and those dealing with addictions. In 2017 he worked to create BC’s first age-specific shelter

for adults after identifying a community need in the 50+ year-old population. As part of a program funded by BC Housing, he serves as the director of the shelter and oversees a staff composed almost entirely of individuals receiving Persons With Disabilities benefits. Jesse also gives back to the UFV community, as a guest lecturer and resource person for students and faculty in Nursing, Geography, and Social Work. Today, in addition to his work with the 5 and 2 Ministries, he is an autism support worker, and recently

started a chicken farm and business. He credits his UFV education for helping prepare him for the roles he has taken on. “UFV in particular helped me to understand underlying systemic issues that create social problems, and gave me the tools to begin to address those problems.” Wegenast and his wife Sharalin (Cert Practical Nursing ’12) and their three young children have settled into life on a rural farm shared with extended family. This past summer, he also launched the Cultus Lake Flower Festival from his family farm in Yarrow.



Sonya Sangster (BBA ’06) came to UFV because she wanted to fly. And she did, in more ways than one. The Bachelor of Business Administration in Aviation degree she earned from UFV in 2006 prepared her to be a professional pilot, but also provided the academic foundation she needed to continue her economics studies at the graduate level and apply what she learned in her work in the international development field as CEO of the Tekera Foundation.

“UFV provided the perfect combination for me, because it allowed me to attend business school while obtaining my training and licensing as a pilot. My parents really encouraged me to get a broader education than just flight training. And it paid off for me later, as my business degree helped me get into my master’s program at London School of Economics. “It’s interesting how life brings you down a path. Combining business and aviation studies opened so many doors for me. If I hadn’t taken the BBA Aviation program at UFV, I wouldn’t have flown planes,

and wouldn’t have seen what I saw in other countries, which is what inspired me to pursue humanitarian work.” She flew as a professional pilot for 13 years, choosing for part of that time to work for a company that only flies for the United Nations and NATO. While flying she also volunteered at Oxfam Canada, running their volunteer engagement program, which covered global themes such as women and food security, accessible public services, fair trade, climate change, and gender justice. She has been on an extraordinary career path

that has led her to the United Nations, conflict zones, a master’s degree from the prestigious London School of Economics, and a new career championing innovative solutions to international development through her work with the Tekera Foundation. She was selected as one of eight leaders to work with Global Affairs Canada to help develop and implement its Feminist International Assistance Policy — particularly their engagement strategy with civil society organizations. She also trained other pilots on the complicated nature of conflict and humanitarian line flying. Sonya’s UFV education gave her the wings she needed to fly airplanes and to be a leader in helping women in the international development field.

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KEEPING IN TOUCH Alumni: let us know what you’ve been up to. Send a photo too! Write to:

After obtaining his degree, Sidi Chen (BFA ’18) left to enter the Canadian Wilderness Artist Residency— a program where he, along with 11 other artists, took a canoe trip in the Yukon, from Whitehorse to Dawson. On arrival, Chen participated in the Yukon Riverside Art festival, before going on to complete two artist residencies: Awakening: Earth-Based Spirituality and Art, a “witch camp” themed residency that focused on the connections people have to nature, earth, air, fire, water, and the spirit, and Ayanta: Submerge, a one-week intensive research residency “science camp” that explored the connections between science and art and the importance of integrating the two. Sidi is currently involved with seven projects, including a collaboration with Vancouver’s Chinese Gardens to develop an artist-in-residence program, research at the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum for a project involving the migration of monarch butterflies, as well as planning to become an artistin-residence for a Vancouver architecture company. Future plans include completing a Master of Art Administration.


Chris DeMarcus (BA ’14) is no stranger to change. Having started out as a full-time music producer, he turned his life on its head by enrolling at UFV as a mature student at the age of 28 to study political science. It’s been a long and rewarding road since graduation for Chris, having travelled all over North America working on warehouse distribution start-ups for DHL, visiting sites for Lego, Cabela’s, Hershey, Cover Girl (CODY), Save On Foods, and Mills Fleet Farm. A promotion in 2018 led to a new role as Operations Manager for The Organic Box and Hello Fresh, where he led a team of over 250 people, followed by further promotion in 2020 into the role of General Manager at Eberhardt Foods, a full service food distribution company that services restaurants and pubs for Western Canada. Then the pandemic hit and everything changed again. With the food and hospitality industry having to essentially redesign their business models, losses have been inevitable. However, pivoting the business to service direct retail customers and take-out orders, Chris says they have managed to retain about half of their staff. “We continue to weather the storm and do whatever we can to be ready for our customers and staff after the crisis passes.”

Nicole MacCarron (nee Christian — BA ’13, BEd ’16) is putting both her English and teaching degrees to good use, inspiring her class of elementary students by day while carving out time to write and self-publish her first novel. Hazel’s Shadow is a youngadult supernatural thriller loosely based in her home town of Chilliwack and tells the story of 17-year-old Hazel Conners, whose ability to see ghosts goes from being a safely guarded secret to the one thing keeping herself and her classmates alive during the lockdown from the undead. Available now in eBook format, with the paperback to follow at a later date.

Three years ago, David Moerman (BBA ’12) put his business skills to use by starting his own business Revive

Washing, which specializes in providing a high level of service to homeowners and property managers with window washing and pressure washing. A strong community supporter, David decided to donate three percent of his company’s revenues to go toward sponsoring water wells in Cambodia and Ethiopia. Revive Washing has been able to sponsor 15 water projects, bringing clean water and healthier hygiene to those in need.

Recent UFV alumni Mitch Huttema (BFA ’19) and Martin Castro’s (BA ’18) short film New Washing Machine was the 2019 recipient of the Whistler Film Festival’s BC Student Short Work Award, with the duo receiving a cash prize for the award, bestowed by the jury for their ‘clever and imaginative story with naturalistic performances and a surprising fresh ending.’ The film also screened at the Chilliwack and Abbotsford Film Festivals, where it won the Audience Choice Award. Director Mitch and writer Martin note that their film was produced in an educational environment that did not feature a focused film curriculum. Mitch states: “I’d like

to note in particular the support of Prof. Melanie Jones, Toni Latour, and Grace Tsurumaru of the UFV School of Creative Arts, whose encouragement to pursue film as a medium within a fine arts program was instrumental in inspiring the work that led to this success.” See the trailer for the film here: newwashingmachine

UFV alumni Dallas Yellowfly (BA ’03) and Alysha Collie (BSc ’19) together form half of 3 Crows Productions, a unique group of Indigenous educational storytellers dedicated to increasing awareness of culture, history and experience from an Indigenous perspective. Their latest production, ‘Qwalena: The Wild Woman Who Steals Children’ was recently presented at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and received high praise. A mysterious and sinister masked woman, Qwalena is an allegorical creature that represents the Indian agents who stole Indigenous children from their families and forced them into government funded Indian Residential School. Initially developed as a project for the VA 365: Documentary Video Storytelling course,

Qwalena has since evolved into content which has been shared all over BC including many school audiences from Grade 5 upwards, to create awareness of the intergenerational impact of residential schools and to help strengthen youth mental health. The story is especially close to Dallas’s heart — his own father was one of these children. By blending oral tradition, multimedia and some humour, Dallas hopes to promote an understanding of the Indian Act and show how youth of diverse cultural backgrounds can relate to the important messages he shares. “Qwalena opens up valuable conversations and it gets youth talking about what’s going on in their lives and maybe seek support. Conversations between vulnerable youth and adults that they trust, that’s important for them to create a better life, and otherwise those conversations might never happen.”

Congratulations to Alumni Relations Manager Whitney Fordham (BBA ’09) on the successful completion of a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Victoria. Her research looked at engaging high-performing students at UFV.

It may only have been two short years since she completed her studies at UFV, but Gaganjit Phulka (BSN ’18) has wasted no time in putting her skills to excellent use, and was recently recognized for her achievements through her nomination for the 2020 Women of Distinction Awards in the Young Woman of Distinction category. Gaganjit is Executive Director and Co-Founder of Vitality for the Vulnerable, where she leads a group of Registered Nurses in hosting free educational health workshops to communities in need. Gaganjit and her team have hosted numerous fundraisers, raised thousands of dollars and created over 500 care packages for women in transition homes in Metro Vancouver. As a Registered Nurse, Gaganjit works as Community Health Representative at Seabird Island Band and supports the health of Indigenous communities by providing supplementary health care services including immunizations, health checkups, home visits, mother-child programs, wound care and social/ health referrals. Gaganjit takes great pride in being a UFV alumna and credits her time at UFV with her decision to work

for Seabird Island Band. On top of her work for Seabird Island Band, Gaganjit sits on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley, a role very close to her heart having begun as a student mentor during her undergrad years at UFV. Gaganjit urges other UFV students to follow in her footsteps. “I hope this can inspire other students to go out there and support the vulnerable youth in our communities as well.”

In these uncertain times, perspective is everything and for Bob Geary (Cert. Horticulture ’03), little has changed. Living in rural Lillooet, Bob is used to spending time with himself, putting his horticultural expertise to use by tending to his large garden during the summer months and preparing for the next year during the winter. Having worked in a number of different horticultural arenas over the years, including a native plant seed business out of Port Alberni, Bob made the switch to a quieter scene in rural Lillooet as his health began to decline. He is a strong advocate for medicinal cannabis, having benefitted greatly from its use to manage several chronic health conditions. “Lillooet is a tremendous place. Our people are warm and friendly and the weather is hot and dry in summer and relatively moderate in winter. History and scenery abound.” Aside from its natural beauty and friendly locals, for Bob, small

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KEEPING IN TOUCH town living has benefits that few realize. Facing some mobility issues of his own in his later years, Bob appreciates having everything he needs close by, and has become a proponent of mobility rights and improving access for those with disabilities. Bob’s life in the wilds of the interior and passion for rural living are providing the much needed stability so noticeably absent in the lives of others right now. “I am not frazzled like so many others,” says Bob. Having lived both deep in the woods and in the heart of cities, Bob has some advice: get out of town and catch an attitude adjustment! “Unlearn everything you’ve been told about success. It’ll take a few

years but you will be richer for the knowledge and experiences than money will ever give you.”

Seamus Heffernan (MA Crim ’17) and his partner Chelsey Laird are delighted to announce the birth of their first child. James Ellery Laird Heffernan arrived at 12:13 am on July 31, 2019, happy and healthy at 7 lbs, 7.5 oz. Everyone is doing

great and mom and dad are simply bursting with pride.

For Morgan Nixon (BA Crim ’13), her studies at UFV not only set the direction of her career but also shaped her desire to effect change. While working as a correctional officer at Fraser Valley Institution for Women in Abbotsford, Morgan is currently fundraising in support of the

Canadian Cancer Society, Cops for Cancer — Tour de Valley Team. “Throughout this journey we are showing families who have a child with cancer that they do not have to face it alone,” says Morgan. She is keen to share her story and show current and future students what you can do with the education and experiences you gain from your time at UFV. “I honestly don’t believe I would have the career I do now if I hadn’t done my BA at UFV.” Like everyone, Morgan has her good days and her bad, but thinking about the reason behind the tour keeps her going. “On the days I struggle during this COVID-19 pandemic I think about the kids with cancer that the Canadian Cancer Society

University of the Fraser Valley alumni, feel confident with preferred rates from TD Insurance. You could save with rates on car, home, condo and tenant’s insurance.

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The TD Insurance Meloche Monnex home and auto insurance program is underwritten by Security National Insurance Company and distributed in Quebec by Meloche Monnex Insurance and Financial Services Inc., Damage Insurance Agency, and in the rest of Canada by TD Insurance Direct Agency Inc. Our address: 50 Place Crémazie, 12th Floor, Montréal, Québec H2P 1B6. Due to provincial legislation, this car and recreational insurance program is not offered in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan. ® The TD logo and other trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or its subsidiaries.



Infographic: Irene Ou

TOP 3 42,175 UFV alumni living in over 31 countries

employers of UFV alumni are UFV, Fraser Health Authority, and Abbotsford School District



alumni are donors; alumni gave

$77,382.04 to UFV in 2019/20

Over 500 alumni have updated their contact information since the launch of the last Reconnect campaign

Balances of alumni endowments as of May 2020


by the numbers

615 alumni membership cards distributed in 2019

helps and how they aren’t getting a break from cancer during all this. They’re still fighting. I hope I can ride for them this Fall.” The Tour de Valley team ride is scheduled for September 17 to 25. The team will be riding from Tsawwassen to Boston Bar and back to help raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society to help support initiatives like Camp Goodtimes. You can donate online to help Morgan meet her fundraising goal. You can also reach her on Facebook and Instagram @Morgan4copsforcancer_tdv.

Alumni Changing Lives Bursary Endowment

Alumni Changing Lives Leadership Endowment






of alumni surveyed have visited campus in the past year

of alumni surveyed have worn or displayed UFV apparel or merchandise in the past year

Maggi Davis (BA ’17) and her husband Mitch Lang (Cert Electrical ’06) welcomed their second child, Arthur Leonardo Lang, on April 14, 2020. He weighed 7 lbs 5 oz. His big sister Penny loves him very much and is an incredibly enthusiastic helper.

hosted, sponsored or participated in over the past year by the UFV Alumni Association

Roddy Keayes (BA Adult Ed ’19) has been on an incredible journey of healing and selfdiscovery, culminating with the publication of a book titled The Naturally Good Man and the Ten Thousand Blades of Life and a subsequent degree in Adult Education at UFV. Stretching back to 1995, his decision to write a book led to a period of soul-searching during which he addressed some truly painful experiences from his past, including his mother’s suicide, being on the receiving end of bullying, and mental health struggles. Following his eventual success as a writer, business owner, and facilitator of progressive masculinity workshops, Roddy’s decision

to pursue a degree in Adult Education at UFV was, he says, “a perfect fit.” Having recently graduated, Roddy is now following the next stage of his plan to design and facilitate courses and workshops in gender reconciliation as well as in masculine character development. “I am thrilled to have completed my BA in Adult education and to begin the move into the healing professions to serve my community. I may seek a MA in counselling or leadership facilitation at some point.”

SUMMER 2020  43

Giving comes naturally to Adrienne Chan.

“ I’m not the kind of donor that you need to convince. I come to the table with a philosophy that giving is a positive thing.” She believes in supporting education as a fundamental way of fostering citizenship. Her philosophy aligns well with her life’s work and her strong commitment to social justice, first as a social worker, then as an educator. “Education is a force that can help make society a better place and us better citizens,” she says. “It fosters and facilitates better processes and relationships. Being a student is more than taking courses and absorbing information. It changes you, helps you develop a social conscience. I have seen how taking even one course can change students’ attitudes as they gain insight into issues they have never thought about before.” 44 SKOOKUM

Adrienne, who has been a professor of Social Work and Human Services at UFV since 2004, is UFV’s most generous employee donor. She gives to support students in her home department, but also supports causes that are important to her and honours the memory of family members through donations. Helping others through philanthropy is more important to Adrienne than accumulating status symbols. When she started a term as Associate Vice President, Research, Engagement, and Graduate Studies in 2012, she used part of the accompanying pay raise to give more. “When I got the promotion to AVP, my brother told me I should buy a Lexus, but I got a Corolla. It’s not in my nature to spend lots of money on a car. I would rather contribute to the success of future students. There’s always a symbolic envelope in my budget for helping students.” Adrienne comes from a family of six siblings with a strong commitment and history of giving back to their community, whether it was time, talent, or funds. Adrienne is a third-generation Canadian of Chinese descent. Her grandfather Chan Dun travelled on a working boat to Victoria in 1893 and had to pay a head

Photo: Darren McDonald


BY ANNE RUSSELL tax upon arrival. He established a family and encouraged hard work, success, and volunteerism. “My parents did not have much money to give back, but they were always volunteering at their Anglican church, the seniors care home, or out in the community. During junior high school, I was involved in the Red Cross, and fundraising for disadvantaged people in developing countries. Giving back was pretty engrained in our family culture. I knew that if I had more than somebody else then that was a reason to give, to support society and the community.” One of the first ways Adrienne gave to UFV was to establish a bursary for Social Work and Human Services students in her parents’ memory after they passed away. Her sister Caroline, who had a learning disability and never graduated high school, also contributed to the Rosy and Steven Chan bursary fund. “Caroline never got past Grade 8, but she had a very strong belief in the value of education. Neither my parents nor my sister completed high school. Yet their belief in education was strong, as a means to better society and to better ourselves. I think that one of the gifts we give ourselves is the gift of being a donor. It has its own rewards.”

When Caroline passed away in 2013, Adrienne honoured her memory with a bursary. This one, also for a Social Work and Human Services student, has the added criteria that it should support a student with a disability or from the Indigenous or minority population. And when her brother Tony Chan passed away in 2018, she honoured his memory with a scholarship for a history student. “My brother was a well-known Canadian historian, communicator, and an activist. He made films about Chinese Canadian history and was a professor of at several universities in Canada and the U.S., ending up as an associate dean in Ontario. He was the one who encouraged and inspired me to pursue my doctorate.” Adrienne’s professional background is in social work, and much of her giving is targeted to students in her discipline, but she also supports other causes that align with her values. “When I was AVP Research, I set up a fund to support student research assistant positions. And since I am a strong believer in social justice, I have given to support the new Peace and Conflict Studies program at UFV.” She has also volunteered for social justice initiatives at UFV, including being a founder of the Race and Anti-racism Network (RAN). Adrienne thinks back to when she herself was a student, waiting on tables to make ends meet. “When I was a graduate student, I received a bursary that enabled me to buy books that year. It also taught me about giving, and I suppose it paved the way for me to think about giving back.” Adrienne and her family have been supporting education for more than 30 years. “Being a donor has many rewards. There is a satisfaction that you’ve made a contribution to someone’s life and to their future. I often receive letters and notes from recipients at universities and colleges where I am a donor. My sister used to collect all of these in a file and proudly read through them every once in a while.” Adrienne is now back in a faculty position in the School of Social Work and Human Services, wrapping up research in a multi-year grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The students who have received bursaries funded by Adrienne are grateful for her support. To find out how you can support students at UFV, visit


UFV’s Advancement team has welcomed a new Associate Director and seen a veteran employee promoted recently. Natalina MacLeod joined UFV as Associate Director, Principal and Planned Gifts, in the fall of 2019. She enjoys working with donors and UFV departments to grow partnerships and identify opportunities that are beneficial to both parties. She most recently worked for Back to the Bible Canada and World Vision.Previously, she has worked in advancement roles at the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, Power To Change, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Natalina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC and is pursuing her MBA with Athabasca University. She lives with her family in Aldergrove. Contact Natalina at (604) 557-7618 or Natalina.

Deanna McIntyre, who joined UFV in 2016 as Annual Giving Officer, has taken on the new role of Manager, Donor Relations with a focus on thanking and celebrating our donors and demonstrating the impact of their support. Her new position includes rolling out the UFV Ripple Makers program for more than 6,000 UFV donors. A resident of Abbotsford and member of the board of the Abbotsford Rotary Club, Deanna is well known throughout our community. She has built strong relationships with individuals and corporate supporters across the Fraser Valley and secured financial support for students and programs across UFV’s campuses. In addition to being a mother of two UFV students, Deanna is soon to become a UFV alumna herself as she nears completion of her bachelor’s degree. Contact Deanna at (604) 557-7618 or Deanna.

SUMMER 2020  45



Photo: Darren McDonald

Longtime donors Parm and Satwinder Bains receive their Ripple Makers paddle from President Joanne MacLean at the 2019 Town & Gown event.

Donors are special to UFV. They help our students realize their dreams — and these students go on to become the nurses, teachers, tradespeople, and business leaders of our community. Every donation to UFV has a ripple effect on our quality of life, and on our economy. The UFV Ripple Makers donor recognition society launched in 2019 to celebrate and recognize donors’ lifelong support of UFV. Donations create ripples, and the ripple effect is cumulative, eventually creating waves that propel generations UFV students and alumni to make a difference in our community. As UFV Ripple Makers, donors will have opportunities to engage in the activities of the university, including lectures, behindthe-scenes tours, and exclusive receptions, and can receive the highly coveted Ripple Makers paddles, hand-painted by UFV students and engraved by UFV faculty members from the Faculty of Applied and Technical Studies. UFV President Joanne MacLean announced the society at the Town & Gown gala this past November. “Many of you are what we call Ripple


Makers — your contributions echo out from UFV like ripples across water. Through your support of our students, you can transform society. You can change lives by hiring our graduates. By giving our students work experience. By donating and providing bursaries and scholarships. And by mentoring. This is a circular relationship. UFV changes students and the community, but UFV is, in turn, transformed by the community.” To celebrate the launch, four inaugural recipients were presented with commemorative Ripple Makers paddles. Paul Esposito Sr. received the first Lifetime paddle in recognition of a cumulative lifetime of giving. Parm and Satwinder Bains received the inaugural Loyalty paddle for donating to UFV for more than 15 years. Nik and Marnie Venema received the inaugural Legacy paddle in recognition of including UFV in their estate plans. And RBC, represented by Doug Turner and Jodi O’Hara, received the Donor of the Year paddle in recognition of a $300,000 donation to establish the Centre for Experiential and Career Education at UFV.

The fifth anniversary of UFV’s Town & Gown signature event saw an incredible evening showcasing UFV students, alumni, and the impact of both on our university and on our community. Presented by Prospera and Dana Hospitality, the event highlighted students in our culinary and hospitality programs and demonstrated the ripples made with every donation to UFV. A total of 190 new $750 scholarships were pledged, including an $18,750 donation from President Joanne MacLean and her wife Maureen Murphy that will be endowed to produce an annual scholarship in perpetuity. Auguston Developments representative Donna Heath pledged a donation of 20 scholarships on behalf of owners Allen and Angela Au. Fran Vanderpol announced that the Oikodome Foundation, her family’s charitable organization, will be supporting the new Peace and Reconciliation Centre within the UFV College of Arts with a donation of $100,000. Other highlights of the evening included the presentation of the Distinguished Alumni and Young Distinguished Alumni Awards to Sonya Sangster and Jesse Wegnenast respectively (see page 38–39), and student alumni speakers Aziz Ghafoor Ghafoor and Christine Drew (BSN ’19). Proceeds from previous Town & Gown events have created the UFV/ Community Student Bursary and Entrance Scholarship. Due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic Town & Gown will not be held in 2020.

COMMUNITY RALLIES TO SUPPORT COVID-19 RELIEF FUND, CONTRIBUTING OVER $107,000 groceries, pay rent and afford internet for online learning. It started with a group of caring employees wanting to help our students, and took off from there. We exceeded our goal of $100,000 in emergency funding, and I so appreciative of the many donors who answered our call.” UFV employees boosted the push to shore up the student emergency fund through a special initiative that allows them to redirect their parking fees to help UFV students while working remotely. Corporate and community donors such as the Abbotsford Community Foundation, the

Vancouver Foundation, the Abbotsford Tech District, Envision Financial and CIVL Radio all stepped up to support UFV’s Student Emergency Fund during this time of need. Many alumni supported the campaign, and two Alumni Association board of directors’ members, Nik Venema and Derek Froese, matched donations made by other board members. The Student Emergency Fund helps students with food expenses, emergency needs such as car or computer repairs, and technical support to help them adapt to the new homebased learning environment.


Photo: Darren McDonald

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the economy, especially for young people. Many UFV students have been laid off from their part-time jobs or have seen their summer employment prospects disappear. UFV recognized the need to help our students through this challenging time, and coordinated a fundraising drive that included a special edition of Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global call-to-action day to encourage philanthropy over consumerism. It takes place on the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving each November. In light of the enormous need generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Giving Tuesday movement added a special #GivingTuesdayNow event on May 5. “This was an opportunity for people around the world to unite by helping others in extreme financial need due to COVID-19,” says Anita Nielsen, UFV’s Executive Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations. “We were delighted to take part because many UFV students have been hit hard financially and the requests for emergency funding are unprecedented. Students need help right now to buy

SUMMER 2020  47

PIVOTAL TIMES A lot can change in the time it takes to create a magazine. When planning began for this issue of Skookum, we decided to highlight some of the many experiential learning opportunities that help us realize our mission of engaging learners, transforming lives, and building community. You’ll read inside about partnerships that placed our students in co-op jobs with local employers who are also alumni. About students working with a local school and other partners on projects connected to the Mission Community Forest. About a new research chair who partners with the StÓ:lō people on community history projects. All of these initiatives and others like them are suddenly harder to launch and sustain with the new social distancing rules made necessary by the COVID-19 epidemic. But UFV adapted. Our courses went virtual, as did our CityStudio display, Student Research Day, and other year-end events. As post-secondary adjusts to the current reality, know that UFV will keep our students and our community connections at the heart of our decision making, and that we will come out the other side of this crisis together.

Skookum is published for the University of the Fraser Valley by the University Relations team UNIVERSITY RELATIONS LEADERSHIP TEAM Craig Toews, Vice-President, External Anita Nielsen, Executive Director, Advancement & Alumni Relations Dave Pinton, Director, Communications Laura Authier, Director, Marketing ALUMNI RELATIONS OFFICE Whitney Fordham, Manager, Alumni Relations SKOOKUM PRODUCTION TEAM Editor: Anne Russell Art Direction: Camilla Coates Design & Production: Camilla Coates, Irene Ou, Marie Tary Writing: Greg Laychak, Darren McDonald, Anne Russell, Leona Oakman Photography: Darren McDonald, Greg Laychak, Jason Franson, Dale Klippenstein, Sandy Tait, Bob McGregor Production Liaison: Auriel Niven Have comments or ideas? Send them to: See Skookum online at Want to communicate with your Alumni Association? Contact: or call 604-557-4008 UFV Alumni Relations Office: 33844 King Road, Abbotsford, BC

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: UFV Alumni Relations office 33844 King Road Abbotsford, BC V2S 7M8

Publication Agreement #40011760

Photo: Darren McDonald

Surjeet Meelu (BSN ’00) is a leader in the fight against COVID-19.