The Coast Career Minded Guide

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LEARN LOCAL NS has great universities and a solid approach to pandemic health. Here are 9 course options to help you get ahead while staying close to home.

A guide about Nova Scotia education and employment options

RACHEL BANKS is developing inclusive alternative education in Dalhousie’s Black and African Diaspora Studies program




Career Minded Opportunity directory

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture 14 Dalhousie University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 20 Dalhousie University Faculty of Computer Science 4 Dalhousie University Fountain School of Performing Arts 8 Dalhousie University Master of Resource and Environmental Management Program 22 How to Successfully Pivot Your Skills 12 Mount Saint Vincent University 6 Nova Scotia College of Art and Design 10 Saint Mary’s University 16 Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre 18

Career Minded interviews conducted and stories written by Alexandra Biniarz Copy Editor Andrew Bethune Contributing Photographer Ian Selig ACTIVE MARKETING PROFESSIONALS Director of Sales and Marketing Christa Harrie ( Senior Account Executive Haley Clarke (

Career Minded is published by Coast Publishing Limited as a paid advertising supplement to The Coast, Halifax’s weekly newspaper. Career Minded is printed locally on recycled stock with 15,000 copies distributed February 2021 throughout Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and select outlets across Nova Scotia. Mailed under Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40027554. Return undeliverable addresses to the Distribution Department, 2309 Maynard Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 3T8 (email All rights reserved. © 2021. This content has been developed and paid for by the featured schools, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Preparing Students for the Careers of Tomorrow Using computer science to springboard into high-paying careers that are tied with students’ passions in order to build a future that is rooted in adaptation, collaboration and innovation


e’re coming to an incredible moment in history for studying computer science, explains Dalhousie Computer Science Dean Andrew RauChaplin. “Coming out of this pandemic, you realize the extent to which our future is going to be digital and the many social and economic opportunities that will come from this,” he says.

Looking at the broad spectrum of fields from healthcare to entertainment, we find a place for digital to manage, transform, and magnify our current systems and ways of working, learning and consuming. Along with this realization, comes the need for today’s graduates to possess digital and computing skills – and that’s where Dalhousie’s Faculty of Computer Science enters. Applied Computer Science undergraduate student, Julia Embrett, came into the program with a love for writing and a strength in the social sciences, and says that even though computer science has technical aspects to it, it also appeals to the creative in her. “No matter where you go with your career, there will be a tech aspect to every industry. There are opportunities to take this degree and go in any direction you want,” Embrett says about seeing a pos-

sible post-grad opportunity to intersect her tech background with the legal profession in helping new businesses with intellectual property law. The Faculty’s programs intersect an interest in the digital world with skills including management, writing and communication while also enabling students to explore how digital can relate with topics they are passionate about. Both their undergraduate and graduate programs are professionally focused, connecting students with key relationships in industry. With the Master of Digital Innovation, students can even explore a partnership between the Faculties of Computer Science, Management, Medicine, and Law. “The key talent pool lies in those who feel comfortable in these different worlds, can engage with companies who are looking to digitally transform, and can become a bridge between the domains,” Rau-Chaplin says about the need for students who sit at this intersection. We will – and already are – seeing a need for translators who can harness digital technologies in service of the industry or activity that they’re engaged in. Embrett feels prepared for the workforce and adds that through the Com-

puter Science program she has not only gained coding skills, but also learned to work with students in all different years of study and backgrounds through group projects. “They were warming us up for the professional world, and it’s important when going into any leadership or workplace role, that you understand that you’ll be working with others.” As we look into a digital future, we must also see the people who will be creating this technology, Rau-Chaplin says about the collaborative nature of computer science. “Nobody builds technology by themselves. Digital technology and its jobs and professions are peoplecentric, they’re about collaboration and teamwork. It’s about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and understanding a new perspective.” Dalhousie’s Faculty of Computer Science attracts students who want to take advantage of the many opportunities on offer for graduates with digital skills and those who are willing to use computer science to springboard into high paying careers that are tied with their passions. They must be eager to bridge disciplines and build a future that is rooted in adaptation, collaboration, and innovation. CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 5


It's become more important than ever for storytelling to take the driver's seat in marketing and media. —Liz Duff





Building Confidence in Students Entering the Workplace Inspiring future generations to take up space, set dream career goals, and succeed in their industries


ount Saint Vincent University’s Public Relations program prepares students for the realities of the PR industry by offering both traditional and innovative options to explore in the field. Through practical skill-building in the classroom as well as a co-operative education work placement, students leave MSVU with applicable work experience and developed skills that they can immediately put to good use in their chosen career. Graduates of this program can work as event managers, crisis communicators, social media influencers, advocates, spokespersons, community relations officers, media managers and in many other communication roles. Recent graduate Liz Duff says the PR program isn’t a traditional bachelor’s degree experience, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Between content shoots before sunrise and caffeine-driven events that last days, Duff dove headfirst into the life of a PR practitioner. The program isn’t easy, but “it sets you up for the workforce with a levelled expectation of what you like, and more importantly, what you don’t like to do,” explains Duff. The rewards of the PR program don’t present themselves in one grand gesture.

Rather, Duff says, they creep in during memorable moments, like while she was volunteering at tapings of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Starting in her first semester, this was Duff’s first taste of working in production, one that was made possible by the connections MSVU gives its students. The opportunity to stay with the show for five years, and her experience working with the team in the university’s Digital Media Zone, proved to Duff that she was leaving MSVU with the skillset and confidence that she needed to make it in the industry. This confidence was built not only through experience, but also through the university staff’s devotion to students. “Support staff remember moments like the big interview and are the first to ask you how it went,” Duff elaborates. “Every step of the journey, I knew I had people in my corner who not only wanted me to succeed but took the time to learn and remember what I wanted to achieve.” Another aspect of MSVU that Duff didn’t realize she would appreciate so much was how the university was founded with the goal of advancing womxn in education. “That legacy feels very ingrained in the academic culture of the school," she says, "and I loved

learning from so many professors who supported and encouraged feminist thinking. It provided great perspectives to enter the workforce with.” Now Duff is a producer at TechTO, Canada’s largest tech community, where people learn, grow and support one another through shows. She reflects on everything she’s learned in her degree, and sees that even in a post-pandemic world virtual shows and media will always have a place in the landscape. Strategizing on what that evolution looks like, and being able to bring a PR perspective to the table that is grounded in community building, has been incredibly rewarding for Duff. “It’s become more important than ever for storytelling to take the driver’s seat in marketing and media,” she says. “PR practitioners have a very specific skill set for telling stories that matter to the people they matter most to.” Duff currently shares her experiences from the PR program and her professional life on TikTok @producerliz, where she circulates the various goals and ambitions of young womxn in PR, in hopes that she can inspire the next generation of womxn to take up space in upcoming conversations about career goal setting and pursuit. CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 7



Curating the Next Generation of Artists Providing a stable foundation for students to pursue a career in performance and take their talents into the world


he Dalhousie Fountain School of Performing Arts is a supportive and dynamic environment in which students are encouraged to follow their passions. The faculty is invested in helping tailor degree paths to students’ individual interests in order to help them accomplish their goals. Students leave the Fountain School of Performing Arts having invested in their dreams, while also contributing to a community of likeminded musicians, future performers and inspiring educators. Bachelor of Music student Karen Buckle went back to school as her first step toward becoming a registered Music Therapist. After completing her first degree in psychology, Buckle spent a few years working as a research assistant, and later returned to school as a mature student. “It was difficult to get back into the swing of student life with a hectic schedule, many deadlines and high expectations for myself,” she says. Studying during the pandemic provided an extraordinary challenge too, but “the professors have done an incredible job adapting their content to online learning,” comments Buckle, “and although this type of learning has its own set of


challenges, they have made the courses interactive and engaging.” Buckle adds that she’s been able to succeed due to the amazing support of her instructors and peers, and part of Buckle’s wholly positive experience studying at the Fountain School has been getting to know fellow students who share her interests in saxophone, jazz and improvising. “I have been especially inspired by classes with practical instruction on improvisation, including lessons and popular music theory classes with Chris Mitchell and an improvisation course taught by Professor Tim Crofts,” Buckle says. She was also presented with the privilege of being a soloist in the Concerto Night performance with the Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra under conductor Leo Perez, which she says was a rewarding experience and personal accomplishment. Buckle has cherished these opportunities to work and perform on stage with tremendous musicians such as Mike Murley, Indigo Poirier, the Proteus Saxophone Quartet and locally with Scott MacMillan and his band Scott ’N the Rocks. “I hope to be graduating this May,” says Buckle, “and the choice to return

to school was the best one I could have made for my career and professional development.” Her overall musicianship had grown by leaps and bounds through applied courses like aural skills and keyboard skills, as well as her practical performance experiences. Buckle hopes to one day start her own music therapy practice in which she will use the knowledge, skills and expertise she gained during her time at the Fountain School to help people of all walks of life, using music as a therapeutic tool. With the opportunity to take elective courses and learn instruments important to music therapy, she has learned that she also wants to continue to perform and teach in some capacity as part of her career moving forward. “My music education has provided an excellent foundation to pursue a performance, teaching or any other career in music,” she says. “Through my courses I have gained fundamental knowledge of music theory, composition, recording technologies, and how to talk about music in an accessible way.” Buckle is excited to take what she’s learned at the Fountain School and use it throughout her future career as a music therapist, saxophonist and educator.


—Karen Buckle


I have been especially inspired by classes with practical instruction on improvisation CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 9






Where Art meets Public Engagement on Lost History Going beyond studying history to create a better understanding of who we are and the path we’re on together


SCAD (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) University is in the midst of developing a unique complement to its already well-respected selection of courses and programs. The Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery is a groundbreaking initiative led by NSCAD’s first Canada Research Chair (CRC) Tier 1 Dr. Charmaine A. Nelson. Among its goals, the institute will facilitate research on Canadian Slavery and comparative research between the regions that became Canada and other nations or colonies.

The proposed research will take the forms of scholarly publications and lectures, fiction writing, film and media production, digital humanities and information technologies and art and visual cultures. Program lead Dr. Nelson has spent her career researching and teaching subjects related to Transatlantic Slavery and Black Diaspora studies through the lens of art and visual culture. “It’s not just historians or anthropologists who need to explore these works and topics,” says Dr. Nelson, framing the importance of having artists and art practitioners analyze and research the visuals which are crucial to this field. “Why is this being done in an art school? Because there’s an opportunity to learn about Canadian Slavery through the distinct conventions of film and the arts,” she continues, “and through this research we can know more about the

nature of representation and slavery. That’s what makes this unique.” Most scholars focusing on topics of slavery are well-educated in the history of tropical plantation slavery, but Dr. Nelson is one of the few who are expertly trained in researching slavery within the context of Canada’s own history and climate. Many histories relating to Canadian slavery are hidden within the Nova Scotia Archives (and other provincial archives) and are incredibly tedious to sift through. “If you’re looking to find information about an enslaved person, you wouldn’t look for a birth certificate. Someone who was seen as property wouldn’t have been issued one,” Dr. Nelson says about her detective-like research techniques. “I train students in the field to know where to look and how to look. How do you locate an enslaved person? You look through things like fugitive slave advertisements, print ads from slave owners detailing the enslaved person’s description when they ran away, or even in the owner’s will.” It’s this sort of specialized document interpretation that will prepare the next generation of researchers to continue the Institute’s legacy. Dr. Nelson says that it’s her vision for the Institute to see these documents collected, preserved and digitized in order to embed the cultural and historical significance of this infor-

mation in the minds of all Canadians. Making these fragile archival findings accessible will help amend our existing historical records and fill previously unknown gaps in our national identity. In addition to making these documents available, Dr. Nelson’s dream is to organize public events on Canadian Slavery to reach beyond NSCAD’s student pool and open up the conversation to the community. “Students tend to gravitate towards topics and objects intersecting with their own studies or degrees, whereas the general public is often more comfortable exploring pop-culture,” Dr. Nelson says of her idea to link movie nights to Q&As with community historians, artists, and academics who work on Canadian Slavery. The importance of creating broad discussion through the institute, where art and public engagement intersect, is that we can explore where the issues are, speak about them at large, and begin to understand that we’re not just studying history—we’re creating a better understanding of who we are and the path we’re on together. You can help support the Institute and bring it to life by funding artists in residence for the coming academic year. Visit support-the-institute-for-the-study-ofcanadian-slavery/ for details. CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 11


How to Pivot Your Skills for Todays Job Market–and Tomorrow's Staying ahead of trends, keeping ourselves marketable, and learning to adapt in unpredictable situations



Whether you’re a new business owner, an employee, or a graduate straight out of college, 2020 most likely brought the word "pivot" into your vernacular. Normally, pivoting or a re-evaluation of skills is done intentionally and with diligent strategizing—and, well, we didn’t quite have that luxury back in the spring of 2020! Through planned pivots or not, the pandemic brought new and brilliant ways to deliver services, to market our products online and to learn or host meetings virtually. If it taught us anything, it’s that there are ways to stay ahead of job trends, even when life becomes unpredictable. Now, in order to consciously prepare and make sure that we’re ready for anything that the world—and the job market— might throw our way, here are some tips we can take from 2020 pivots to help keep us relevant in 2021 and beyond.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND KNOW WHAT YOU OFFER One of the hardest things to do during an interview, or in an existing position, is to talk yourself up. Put yourself out there, ask for what you want, and boast about what you can offer! An employer loves a confident—yet humble—employee who thinks ahead about their career goals and needs. When applying for a new job, make sure to diversify your portfolio and resume and include assets that you may not think a job would be looking for. For example, when applying for a service or retail job, make sure to tell them that you’re a photographer, a graphic designer or even a scientist! Who knows what internal opportunity it could bring you? Many of these skills are transferrable, but they need to be marketed in the right way, to the right people.

STAYING VERSATILE Depending on when you completed your schooling or studies, some of these skills may not be as “profitable” or “in-demand” as they once were. Gone are the days where one degree or one skillset is an asset; job markets are looking for those who can intersect skills, juggle multiple tasks and bring a little spice to their company. Staying versatile can mean expanding on your existing skills, adding a new degree or certificate to your repertoire or just being willing to learn a new skill on the job. Oftentimes an eagerness to learn is enough for any employer, because it’s easier—and more affordable—to train an existing employee in a new skill than to hire a new one. Stay open to new opportunities that come along and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You won’t be perfect at a new skill right away!

BE WILLING TO WORK REMOTELY OR ONLINE This one won’t come as a surprise but working remotely or digitally will be a permanent thing of the future. Many employers have seen the benefit of not having many bodies in a workspace, and researchers predict that freelancers will make up the majority of the workforce by 2027. Are you confident working alone or online? If you’re considering freelancing, there are a few skills that you should spruce up, including time management skills, efficiency and virtual and in-person networking and outreach. That means showing up to events—both on Zoom and in person, eventually—meeting deadlines on time and making those connections that you didn’t think you’d need to. One freelance opportunity will lead to another, and another.



KEEP UP WITH SKILL TRENDS But don’t get stuck in them. As we’ve seen, life and the job market are unpredictable. Right now, according to LinkedIn, many employers are looking for those who are proficient in Blockchain, Cloud technology, Analytical reasoning, Artificial Intelligence and UX Design. Who knows how long this will last? The best advice is to never stop learning. Keep your finger on the pulse of trends but remember that you don’t have to fit into every mold! Again, know what you offer and then maybe add a new course or program to your learning docket just for fun! BE HUMAN Personality goes a long way, whether in the marketing industry, the medical one or even in the digital world. Many may have the same skillset as you, so it will be your personality that makes the difference. Employers are looking for those who are collaborative, kind, and not only well-versed in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), but also those who have a deep lived experience of it and can bring that to their workplace.

A flexible, easy-going and engaging employee is one that an employer knows will go the distance and roll with the punches and changes that businesses and workplace inevitably take. MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE AND AVAILABLE Be on LinkedIn, post on Instagram and TikTok, and actively engage with your target markets. In your field, it may not be companies that you’re after; maybe your target market is individuals, consumers, youth entrepreneurs or start-ups! These demographics are more likely to connect with you on social media than at a conference, so be authentic, be professional, and just be there! Showing up is half the battle. FINALLY, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP Hire from your network of friends and colleagues who are talented in their field. Hire that photographer for headshots. Ask the writer to spruce up your cover letter. Key to any pivot is supporting others, because who knows what an internal connection, or a collaboration over competition, could bring? CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 13



A Growing Market Graduates are prepared with the tools to specialize in an industry that is important to everyone: food


career in agriculture goes beyond farmers and retail—there’s a middle holding those two together. Dalhousie’s International Food Business program (IFB), offered at Dalhousie’s Agricultural campus in Truro, Nova Scotia, is the only dual-degree program of its kind. Upon graduation, students receive a Bachelor degree in Agriculture from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from Aeres University in the Netherlands. IFB offers students the opportunity to acquire skills within a variety of farmto-fork environments, while gaining real-world experiences through work placements within Europe and North America. Through an engaging approach to learning in the classroom and beyond, graduates are prepared to specialize in an industry important to everyone—food. Susan Sipos was drawn to IFB for this exact real-world perspective on education, as well as its collaborative nature. Not only does Sipos describe this program as having been “more hands-on than many degrees,” but she also says it's one that broadened her scope beyond the Canadian agri-business into the entire food industry. “Having an international experience during your education is such a great


opportunity to receive a global perspective of the food industry,” Sipos says about spending her second year in the Netherlands, “while also sharing ideas with likeminded people from different countries and seeing the global supply chain in action.” “Awareness around food has changed, especially with COVID-19,” Sipos explains. “The value of food has changed through the pandemic and we’re placing more of an emphasis on food than we have in the past.” Sipos adds that there’s an entire “in-between” within our food systems. It’s not just farmers to retail; there’s an entire supply chain in between, holding those two together. This year has seen those supplies and demands be put to the test and shift as buying patterns change. Sipos and her classmates developed a food business as one of their projects and were guided through the entire professional industry process, including building budgets, marketing and promotion plans. “It taught me great collaborative skills, time management and communication skills,” she adds. By the end of her fourth year in IFB, Sipos became one of four students from Dalhousie chosen to take part in the Career Pathways program through the

Canadian Produce Marketing Association and found a job straight out of university in the produce industry in Ontario. The skills that Sipos gained from the IFB program were invaluable to her career and has led her to a position as Account Manager at Nova Agri, a familyrun fruit and vegetable grower/packer in the Annapolis Valley. While managing sales, accounts receivables and freight to National Retail customers, Sipos also balances another job as the Business Development and Marketing Manager for SKUFood. Sipos works with clients to help get their products on retail shelves and be successful in the marketplace, all while managing digital platforms and connecting producers to suppliers with online tools that build small businesses based on retail trends. Not only did IFB perfectly mix Sipos’ love of food and travel, but the program also taught her the skills she needed to keep up with current and future market changes and pivots within the agricultural sector. Her education also taught foresight, giving her the ability to anticipate the needs of small businesses she works with. IFB wasn’t just perfect on paper for Sipos, but in practice as well.


Having an international experience during your education is such a great opportunity to receive a global perspective of the food industry.


—Susan Sipos



For me, it really broadened my education.


—Julie Naugler




Get an Edge Up With Studies in Health, Wellness and Sport


Broadening students’ educational experiences through 70+ areas of study

passion for new experiences in sports brought Julie Naugler to Saint Mary’s University, unexpectedly opening new horizons in the classroom too. When she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 2020, in she was also the first student to receive the university’s new Certificate in Health, Wellness and Sport in Society (HWSS). “It’s something I genuinely recommend to students who want to have another edge up,” she says. “You come out with two credentials—a degree and a certificate—and you can still do both within four years.” A star rugby player, volunteer coach and student leader while attending Saint Mary's, Naugler was first drawn to the new certificate program because it combined her academic interests with her experience in sports. Graduating just a few months into the global pandemic, Naugler landed a job right away with Manulife in Halifax. Health and wellness are central aspects of the insurance industry, so the certificate helped her stand out in job interviews. “It comes up at work all the time,” she says. “Having a background in the area of health and wellness has proven

really beneficial for me so far. It’s a big part of workplace culture, so it’s valuable knowledge in a lot of different fields.” The interdisciplinary HWSS program also appeals to any students who find that they are interested in health care administration, health policy, sport management, the personal wellness or recreation fields and much more, particularly with the evolving nature of work amid Covid-19. “Everyone has been impacted by this,” says Naugler. “The pandemic will definitely strengthen interest in the program; it’s shaping the way people are learning and the things they want to learn about. The program offers a great opportunity to study health and wellness in more depth.” With three core courses, plus a flexible range of electives that can also count toward your major, the program delves into the social, cultural, political and moral aspects of health, wellness and sport. Administered by the Faculty of Arts in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Sport and Health, it’s open to students in Arts, Science and Business at Saint Mary’s.

“For me, it really broadened my education,” says Naugler, adding that the certificate and her Anthropology major complemented each other. “I would also recommend it because it’s a unique classroom situation. The professors are great, and the other students add so much to the whole experience with a lot of open dialogue and class participation.” Other certificate programs at Saint Mary's include Atlantic Canada Studies, Forensic Sciences, Human Resource Management and Peace Education and Conflict Management. Language and culture-related certificates are also available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Linguistics and Spanish. With over 70 areas of study and a wide range of course offerings, Saint Mary’s offers a well-rounded degree and a customized educational experience. SMU ensures student success by providing supports and services at every step of the application experience whether you’re a new student coming out of high school or one transferring from another institution. Transferring to SMU is easy—you may even be eligible to receive up to 60 credit hours toward your degree. CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 17






Leading Students Down the Path of Business Creation he Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre (SMUEC) isn’t just a space where students can learn to launch a business; the entrepreneurial mindset that is forged within the centre can be applied in all facets of life.

“Launching a business is only one output of the centre,” director Michael Sanderson explains. “Students also learn to combine entrepreneurship with creativity, resiliency and problem solving. Students will take these and go off to become more valuable in the organizations they work with.” SMUEC’s offered programs are based in its three pillars, the first being student engagement. Though programs are primarily geared toward SMU students, they also reach beyond to other institutions, high school students and multibarriered youth. The centre engages students by linking their work with their passions to drive problem solving. Sanderson elaborates on two of the centre’s major student-focused events this year, the “SMU Community Hackathon”, which uses technology to fight human trafficking, and the “March Mad-

ness Pitch Competition” for new business ideas: “One is about trying to mobilize youth to try and solve social issues that exist,” he explains, “and the other is about engaging students with their ideas that can change the world, and how we can go about supporting them.” The second pillar focuses on business design and is all about breaking down the nuts and bolts of business for companies and individuals with an idea. “This pillar looks at where the businesses need to pivot in order to take their idea from point A to B and how they can scale up,” Sanderson says. This aspect of SMUEC is geared toward those wanting to launch a business and get their idea into the right hands. The final pillar is work integrated learning, which is grounded in subsidizing work placements for students and youth working with entrepreneurial-led organizations. Some of the programs include co-operative education, a life accelerator for multi-barriered youth to give them the support they need for success, and an accessibility program for those who self-identify as a person with



Creating more opportunities within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and fostering the next generation of Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs

a disability and matching them with an entrepreneurial-minded organization. “We’re fortunate to have these resources at our fingertips,” says Sanderson. There’s a variety of mentors, experts, community members and faculty for students to engage with and set up meetings. All students have to do is send an email inquiring about a program or easily register online. “I’ve been in the entrepreneurial eco-

system in Atlantic Canada working in this field for a long time, and right now is the most exciting time to be a part of it,” says Sanderson, describing the need for this type of network of organizations and spaces for likeminded folks to engage. “Once individuals see more examples of building a world-class business out of Atlantic Canada, they start to believe it’s possible, and know their idea can be brought to life.” CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 19


Having the intellectual tools to analyse, interpret and dismantly socially and historically inaccurate information will be invaluable for students.


—Rachel Banks




An Innovative and Inclusive Approach to Education


Emerging students are ready to radically uplift and enrich workplaces, while transforming our society into one where everyone is respected, appreciated and heard.

raditionally, when we think of “career minded” initiatives, we think of focused job placements—but Dalhousie’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) questions the definition of “traditional” and digs deeper. FASS' academic and experiential learning offerings can prepare students for a lifestyle and workplace grounded in Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI). Faculty (Acting) Dean Dr. Roberta Barker says that what is essential for careers of the future is not only an awareness of EDI, but a strongly lived understanding of it. The faculty aims to “help folks be able to do better in terms of improving Nova Scotian society,” she explains. Take the Gender and Women’s Studies minor and major, which encourage students to think in an intersectional way about gender and sexuality along with topics of race, economic privilege and disability. Gender and Women’s Studies is a program in which the faculty members’ sheer love for and commitment to the field directly impacts students. Additionally, the minor and certificate in Indigenous Studies, led by Mi’kmaq scholar Dr. Margaret Robinson, can each be combined in an interdisciplinary way with Law, Sciences, Management

or Health, not only sparking an appreciation of our sustainable future, but ensuring that Indigenous worldviews and knowledge are taken into account. Dalhousie is working on developing a major in Indigenous Studies as well. “We’re seeing the years of work from professors and leaders in these fields, who have been advocating and transforming the academy, come to fruition,” says Dr. Barker, commenting on the Black and African Diaspora Studies major, an exciting addition to the existing minor in the field, which is being proposed for 2021/22. Dr. Afua Cooper, leader of the Black and African Diaspora Studies program at Dalhousie, says the major is essential in bringing the work of EDI to the forefront. The Black and African Diaspora Studies major will surface new ways of thinking from community leaders in the field and bring them to the classroom. This will create a space for students to further their understanding of what “decolonizing education” really means, and where Anti-Black racism can be discussed at length. “We need to be retrained on how to be a compassionate person in today’s society,” says Dr. Cooper. “Issues of race, class, sexuality and gender are all impor-

tant to understand if we want to create a workforce and world where everyone is equal.” Rachel Banks, graduate student and research assistant for the Black and African Diaspora Studies program committee, says this program is long overdue and necessary. There is also significant meaning in this being possibly the first BA major and honours degree in Black Studies among Canadian universities, given that Nova Scotia is a key birthplace of Black history and culture in Canada. “The Black Studies major will be helpful not only for introducing students to a growing field of scholarship and career opportunities, but also for challenging the standards of white-produced knowledge and providing radical and inclusive alternative education,” Banks says. “Having the intellectual tools to analyse, interpret and dismantle socially and historically inaccurate information will be invaluable for students in any career they pursue.” Students who emerge from the Black and African Diaspora Studies major or minor, and from FASS in general, are sure to radically uplift and enrich workplaces and transform our society into one where everyone is respected, appreciated, and heard. CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 21



Turning Passion into Purpose Fostering in students a respect for the natural world and a desire to create positive and lasting change


he Master of Resource and Environmental Management (MREM) program at Dalhousie caters to a wide array of interests in an already inclusive field. Whether students are interested in renewable energy, coastal zone restoration or habitat conservation and wildlife management, there’s an opportunity to take their passion and turn it into practice. Alum Victoria Sandre speaks to the collective benefit of having classmates in all fields of interest, where they were able to learn from one another in a cross-cutting and collaborative way. “Each student has unique experiences to offer, with MREM offering equally as dynamic experiences in return,” Sandre says. “This relationship is what attracts a high calibre of motivated, passionate and successful students who move on to work in highly impactful roles around the world.” Students benefit not only from enrolling in courses such as Law and Policy for Resource and Environmental Management, Industrial Sustainability or Indigenous Perspectives on Resource and Environmental Management, but professional development is also a key component to the MREM program. Through workshops and networking sessions organized by the program, students are made aware of countless opportunities


in their field, including positions within government, not-for-profit organizations or in the private sector. Some students, like Jessica Hum, enroll in the program to elaborate on an already established topic of interest. “After nearly a decade working as a professional planner, I was ready for a ‘learning sabbatical’ to gain new perspectives to enhance my planning practice,” she says. “I was most interested in dedicating time to research environmental, socio-political and sustainability issues of climate change impacts with Indigenous and northern communities.” As a recent graduate who experienced the program through COVID, Hum says she was still presented with incredible opportunities to connect with others in meaningful ways. As a course-based independent study, Hum started a podcast that explores multiple Indigenous perspectives through Storytelling and Story-listening. Her research transformed the age-old medium of oral stories and modernized them. Hum has Dr. Karen Beazley to thank for encouraging her to consider the podcast for her independent study, and Dr. Sherry Pictou and Melanie Zurba for helping Hum see how research through oral stories can bridge two cultures or ways of knowing. The MREM program’s out-of-the-box

thinking prepares students to innovate in a time of uncertainty. The program itself underwent a pivot through the pandemic, as current student Darcy Kavanaugh can speak to. “As you can imagine, it wasn’t what I was hoping for when I applied for this program,” he says. “With that being said, it has been much better than anticipated. My professors have truly gone above and beyond to ensure that we receive a quality education during such odd times.” Kavanaugh includes that Dr. Jennifer Grek-Martin was someone who especially stood out. She was his professor for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) course. “As a course heavily reliant on having a computer with a certain software, GIS is hard enough at the best of times,” Kavanaugh explains. “When you throw the inability to visit campus into the mix, it becomes even harder. Jennifer and her teaching assistant Yan Chen were incredible, and her influence has led me to continue my GIS learning with another GIS elective this semester.” Wherever a student may be coming from, MREM can help them make the necessary connections to thrive in life outside of school. MREM fosters in students an academic integrity, a respect for the natural world and a desire to create positive and lasting change.


—Darcy Kavanaugh


My professors have truly gone above and beyond to ensure that we receive a quality education. CAREER MINDED • FEBRUARY 2021 • 23