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For the Alumni and Friends of Vancouver Island University volume 4

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient chef bernard casavant juggles a recipe for culinary success designing human friendly robots of the future awarding a new approach to educAtion

P ub . A greement N o .



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2011 fall/winter 2012

Rediscover Your School Spirit VIU’s Alumni Association is working hard to establish a strong, vibrant network of graduates and we need your help.

Do you have time to volunteer? Expertise you’d like to share? We’d like to hear from you. You can make a difference in the life of your fellow alumni and your alma mater:

• Mentor current students

• Serve as an ambassador for the institution

• Fundraise in support of current and future students

• Become an Alumni Association board member

You can also support VIU’s Alumni Association by organizing alumni events, creating networking opportunities and promoting alumni benefits. Have you purchased your Alumni Privilege Card? For an annual fee of $10, you’ll receive discounts from: VIU Library

VIU Residences

VIU Gymnasium

VIU Bookstore (Nanaimo Campus)

VIU Theatre

Milner Gardens

Discovery Room

Fairwinds Golf Course







Stay connected: Register on our website at Join our Facebook









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& LinkedIn

VIU Alumni Relations Phone: 250.740.6215 Fax: 250.740.6491 E-mail:


Volume 4 | Issue 2 | 2011 Fall/Winter 2012 Publisher Office of Development & Alumni Vancouver Island University Executive Editor Julie Keenan Director, Development & Alumni Managing Editor David Forrester (Phys Ed ’02, Rec & Sport ’02) Manager, Alumni Relations Editor & Feature Writer Janina Stajic


Proofreader Adrienne Wanhill (BA in Creative Writing ’01)

A Guide to Rethinking Education …11-13 Jennifer Potosky (BEd ’06; BA in Psychology ’06)

Contributors Amanda Avender Amelia Stanevicius (BA ’08, BEd ’10) Rachelle Stein-Wotten Graphic Design Nancy Pagé Nancy Pagé Design Cover Photo David McIlvride Spatula Media + Communications Journey is published in the spring and fall by VIU’s Office of Development & Alumni and is distributed free of charge to alumni and friends. All material is copyright © 2011, Vancouver Island University Development & Alumni, and may be reprinted with written permission. Opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of Vancouver Island University. The Vancouver Island University community acknowledges and thanks the Tla’Amin, Qualicum, Snaw Naw As, Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Halalt, Penelakut, Lyackson, Chemainus, and Lake Cowichan First Nations on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live, and share knowledge.

talks the 'three Rs', the seven habits and how she inspires students and colleagues to be passionate about education.

West Coast Ingredient for Change …14-18

Chef Bernard Casavant’s (Culinary Arts ’76) culinary career has turned out exactly as he wanted – even if it didn’t unfold as planned.

A Life Robotic …19-21

Alumnus, James Young (BSc in Computing Science ’05), envisions a future of friendly and functional robots.


Messages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5

Campus News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-10

Alumni in View. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-23

Class Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-29

Home Stretch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Calendar of Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

We welcome letters to the editor. Please address all correspondence to: Editor, Journey 114 – 59 Wharf Street Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada, V9R 2X3

Alumna Christine Thomson designs an elf costume for Santa Baby 2…page 22

Advertising Inquiries David Forrester Manager, Alumni Relations 114 – 59 Wharf Street Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada, V9R 2X3 250.740.6214 Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #40063601 2011 fall / winter 2012


manager’s message

Renew with VIU


Anniversaries provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate achievements, reminisce on the past and reconnect with old friends. Throughout VIU’s 75th anniversary year I have been able to connect with alumni and hear first-hand how the institution shaped their lives in positive and meaningful ways. Unfortunately, we’ve lost touch with many members of our alumni community but VIU’s Alumni Association is looking to change this. This fall, as part of VIU’s 75th anniversary celebrations, the Alumni Association is launching the “Renew with VIU” alumni campaign. The intent is to reconnect with more of


In the Fall/Winter 2010 Journey you asked alumni to share stories of the time they spent at this institution. I’ve recounted below the experiences myself and three of my lifelong friends, Karen Vaness (Collins), Faye Zdebiak (Butler), and Judy Hanson (Flagel) had as young nursing students in 1969. I hope you enjoy these memories of that wonderful time in my life. We started our class at the Nanaimo Vocational School in October 1969. Our head instructor was Mrs E. Nordvoll; the principal, Mr J.R. Hindle. The course was one year with four months of theory and eight months practicum. I believe our class was the first to include two days per month in the hospital, for the first four months. Most of us lived on campus in the old army barracks. The dorms were segregated – no co-ed in those days! There were two girls to a room with communal showers and bathrooms at the end of the dorm. I believe curfew was about 10pm. During the night the security patrol would poke his head in the door at the end of the hall to ensure all was okay.  A canteen in the bottom of the vocational building was the entertainment hub. Snacks, drinks, music, cards and pool were all available.

our alumni so we can share with them the exciting changes and growth that have occurred at VIU over the years. Registering with the alumni office also allows alumni to be eligible for contests and receive newsletters and notifications of upcoming alumni events. Most importantly we want to learn about what alumni did after they left VIU. Did they further their education at another institution, pursue a fulfilling career, travel extensively, raise a family? All of our alumni have a unique story to tell and we want to hear it. Alumni who are already connected can play an important role in the success of this campaign. Do you know a former classmate who’s not receiving their copy of Journey magazine?

We also got treatments by the hairdressing and beauty students for a very reasonable charge and our meals were provided by the cooking classes in the cafeteria. They were also inexpensive although sometimes quite an adventure! After our four months of theory we were split into four groups to go to one of four hospitals for our practicum – Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) in Port Alberni, or the hospitals in Comox or Duncan. All four of us went to WCGH.  Our uniforms while in hospital were knee-length starched green and white striped dresses with buttons we had to insert and then remove for laundering, white nylons and white shoes. We had booklets with lists of nursing procedures and skills that an instructor needed to sign off on before we passed. During our practicum we earned a stipend of $86.86 per month. In October 1970 we wrote our final exam. The graduation ceremony was held in the Nanaimo Vocational cafeteria on October 21, 1970. Diplomas and

If so, please let them know we’re trying to get in touch. Ask them to reconnect on our campaign website: renew or send us their email address at With your help we can establish a strong, vibrant network of alumni who remain connected to their alma mater and continue to support each other even after they’ve left their university classrooms behind. Stay in touch! David Forrester Manager, Alumni Relations Vancouver Island University

small Gideon Testament bibles were handed out and awards were given for Bedside Nursing, General Proficiency and Greatest Progress. A tea was then served. Judy and Faye both worked for some time in nursing and then went on to family and other interests. Karen continued with hospital and home care nursing, interspersed with raising a family. After 40 years spent in nursing, I recently retired, and am enjoying time in my garden and travelling. Sincerely, Lois Powell, LPN

president’s message

VIU’s international students model their homelands’ traditional clothing during VIU’s annual International Education Week.


Connected to the World VIU is home to a diverse population of more than 20,000 full and part-time learners from more than 50 countries. Truly an international community on our campuses, we are proud of our partnerships with students and institutions around the world. As our global reach continues to expand, VIU is committed to finding ways to reduce geographic barriers between our students and their loved ones and advances in technology are providing us with opportunities to bring our community closer together. It is in this spirit that friends and family all over the world for the first time were able to watch VIU’s June convocation ceremonies from the comfort of their home. A free live web stream allowed more than 2,900 viewers from dozens of countries including China, India, Australia, Thailand, Morocco, Russia, France, Costa Rica, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Kuwait, Pakistan, United Kingdom,

Venezuela, Ghana, Indonesia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey to watch the class of 2011 receive their university degrees. It’s moments like this that remind me of the tremendous transformation and growth VIU has gone through since its doors opened in 1936 as a vocational training school. The first Automotive Mechanics class of the Dominion Provincial Youth Training School had eight students. This year more than 1,000 students will earn a credential from VIU and join more than 35,000 alumni from this institution, each of whom has made a significant contribution to the building of BC, Canada and the world over the past 75 years. I encourage you to stay connected to VIU and the network of thousands of alumni around the world. As always I welcome your comments at Ralph Nilson, PhD President and Vice-Chancellor Vancouver Island University

To view VIU’s convocation proceedings from June 6 and 7 (recorded for the first time and shown live on the Internet) visit

2011 fall / winter 2012


campus news


calling all Portal alumni!












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“We want to create digital versions of the last 20 issues in order to build a comprehensive and evolving online portfolio,” says Gugeler. She’s spearheading the project with fellow professor and Portal publisher Rhonda Bailey. “If Portal alumni will give us permission to publish their work online we’ll be able to establish a cultural legacy for the magazine and its founders, instructors, and students.” Approximately 350 former students have contributed to Portal since the first edition in 1991 and Gugeler hopes the project will reconnect them with their alma mater. “I’m also hoping that alumni who continued to publish after

graduation either in magazines or books will become de facto mentors to today’s creative writing students.” Would you like to be part of this project? If your work appeared in Portal please contact Gugeler at joy.gugeler@ or


It’s been 20 years since the first issue of VIU’s annual literary magazine rolled off the press showcasing the literary and visual work of VIU students. Now, VIU creative writing professor Joy Gugeler is reaching out to past contributors through a project focused on establishing a web archive of Portal magazines.

campus news

NEW ALUMNI LOGO It’s official – VIU’s Alumni Association (VIUAA) now has a new logo to represent the more than 35,000 alumni who have attended VIU since it first opened its doors in 1936. After many months of discussion VIUAA's board approved the logo (to the left of this article) designed by the VIU Communications team. The modern circle design encloses VIU's symbolic logo representing the mountains and oceans of the west coast of BC. The phrase 'Est. 1936' is a nod to the long history of the school and the thousands of students who have studied at the institution through its many transitions. The hope is that the logo will become an immediately recognizable symbol to every alumni, reconnecting them to their days at VIU.


VIU’S DEEP BAY MARINE FIELD STATION There’s something for everyone under the soaring ceilings of VIU’s new ocean foods research institute on the shores of Deep Bay on Vancouver Island.

One of only seven buildings in Canada to be awarded the 2011 Canadian Green Building Award, the marine field station has state-of-the-art labs and teaching classrooms where marine researchers and VIU students delve deep into research on sustainable aquaculture. There’s also an on-site teaching kitchen, so VIU culinary students can learn how to cook with local seafood. Open to the community, visitors

can soak in interpretative displays on west coast marine eco-systems, or reserve the building’s flexible meeting space for community functions, conferences and private events such as weddings.


2011 fall / winter 2012


campus news

VIU REAPPOINTS CHANCELLOR VIU’s Board of Governors has reappointed Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo as chancellor for another threeyear term.

Atleo, hereditary chief of the Ahousaht First Nation and National Chief to the Assembly of First Nations, was first appointed chancellor in 2008. He holds a master's degree in international education and is a strong advocate for postsecondary education across Canada. As chancellor, Atleo acts as an ambassador for VIU and plays a prominent role in the university’s convocation ceremonies.

FOR THE HEALTH OF IT According to Marian C. Diamond, a leading brain scientist, one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy is to keep it stimulated. How? Exercise it by trying something new and engaging in lots of social interaction. PHOTO: AFN COMMUNICATIONS

On September 23, 2010, Atleo and elders, citizens, youth and students gathered on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill to highlight the importance of supporting First Nations education in Canada.


A great way to give your brain a full workout is by taking one of VIU’s ElderCollege courses. Geared to the lifestyle and interests of those 50 or older, courses give people the opportunity to explore a range of subjects. Learn to play chess, explore the history of ancient Greece or go fossil hunting on a paleontology field trip. Courses are short in nature – one to two hour blocks over a four to six week time span – which makes it easy to exercise your brain, no matter what your interest or background. For more information see eldercollege, or call 1.866.734.6252.

campus news One of the juvenile sturgeon raised by students and faculty in VIU’s Fisheries & Aquaculture program.

PHOTO: dave switzer, international centre for sturgeon studies


Minor Montero (far right) gathers with his brothers and sisters at their farm in Costa Rica. Minor's family has hosted many VIU students and faculty for the Heart of Gold project. Minor’s sister Nidia Montero (front left) was a VIU scholarship student in 2009.

VIU’s stock of captive white sturgeon is now settled into the International Centre for Sturgeon Studies (ICSS) on the Nanaimo campus.

Researchers at the ICSS will look for ways to ensure the preservation of this now endangered Jurassic-era fish which has been swimming in our lakes and rivers for more than 200 million years. They will also study the feasibility of establishing an environmentally responsible sturgeon aquaculture industry in BC. VIU scientists will welcome experts in sturgeon studies from around the world, hosting the 7th International Sturgeon Symposium in 2013 at the ICSS.

GROWING Beyond Fair Trade Dr. David Robinson (VIU Professor, Recreation & Tourism) is teaching students how simple actions – sipping coffee, planning a vacation – can affect the lives of people living thousands of miles away.

For more than 10 years his students have been involved in on-the-ground research to develop alternative and sustainable ways for farmers in Costa Rica to earn a living. The research initiative, called ‘Heart of Gold’, has so far helped farmers establish direct trade coffee production (where coffeeprofits go directly to farmers) and eco-friendly homestays for tourists. VIU students are now building an “eco-trail adventure” through Costa Rica’s high cloud forest which will include opportunities for tourists to volunteer on family farms and learn Spanish. 2011 fall / winter 2012


campus news


Back Row L-R: Cheyla Reader, Josh Logan, Heather Iverson, Jacqueline Doleman, Andrew Kaban, Steph Dean and VIU President Ralph Nilson. Front Row L-R: Stephen Ewashko, Andrea Strebel and Jordan Tufnail.


MARINERS EARN ACADEMIC ACCOLADES VIU’s athletes are not just exceptional on the field, court or course, they also excel in the classroom.

During the 2010/2011 season, nine athletes earned the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association’s (CCAA) title Academic All-Canadians, reserved for student athletes who are provincial league all-stars and have maintained a B+ average or higher. Their collective achievement won VIU the coveted Academic All-Canadian Recognition Award given to the CCAA school that has the most 'Academic All-Canadians'. In total, 46 student-athletes were also on VIU’s academic excellence list; 21 of them achieved a B+ average or higher and are in the running for a CCAA National Scholar award.

NEW TRANSIT EXCHANGE PROMOTES SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL Thanks to a partnership with the Regional District of Nanaimo, one part of VIU’s award-winning Campus Master Plan is up and running.

Bus-riding VIU students are now dropped off at a new transit exchange, located at the top of Fourth Street. It was designed to improve rider safety with controlled pedestrian crosswalks and a traffic-calming design, and save energy by illuminating bus shelters with environmentally friendly LED lights. Two new bus routes have been added bringing the total to four.


A Guide to RETHINKING Education Say goodbye to the ‘three Rs’ (reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic) and hello to the seven habits. The way our children are being educated is changing, and award-winning teacher Jennifer (Koganow) Potosky (BEd ’06; BA in Psychology ’06) believes that’s a good thing. A Grade 3 teacher at Derek Taylor Public School in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Potosky is at the forefront of developing new ways to inspire students to learn both traditional and nontraditional subject matter. 2011 fall / winter 2012


feature Potosky and her Grade 3 students show support for their favourite team during the school's sports day.

When Jennifer Potosky walked into the classroom on the first day of her education program at VIU she was ready to teach, according to instructor, Mary O’Neill. Enthusiastic, professional,

an educational model known as the ‘sage on the stage’, characterized by a teacher standing in front of a class, writing lessons on a chalkboard, while students sit in rows of desks taking notes. Many

Potosky believes these habits can ensure both social and academic success, teaching children how to communicate in a positive way, prioritize workloads and ask for help if they’re confused. For example, one of Potosky’s classroom activities teaches children empathy. “I assign students secret friends and they perform a ‘random act of kindness’ for that friend. Then they write about what they did, and draw a picture of their actions. Children love this activity, because they get such a positive reaction from their classmates. It teaches them to be empathetic and also how important it is to communicate in a positive way.” Potosky also works hard to be the ‘guide on the side’, a model of education that places teachers in the role of facilitator. This new model may ensure a greater number of students succeed in their studies, as teachers work directly with individual students to accommodate different learning

“…we want children to learn to read and write,” says Potosky, “but we also want them to grow up to be successful citizens and community members.” full of positive energy and already dedicated to the teaching profession, O’Neill knew immediately Potosky would be an exemplary teacher. A year after Potosky graduated, O’Neill was proven right, when Potosky won the 2008 Alberta School Board Association’s Edwin Parr Award, which recognizes the province’s best first year teachers. She was chosen for her ability to inspire every one of her students, regardless of their background, learning style or interests, to excel in their educational endeavors. Guy Spencer, principal at Derek Taylor Public School, feels Potosky was also singled out for her ability to teach students more than just the ‘three Rs’. The concept of the ‘three Rs’ is part of 12

educators believe this model doesn’t suit the needs of the 21st century learner. “Of course we want children to learn to read and write,” says Potosky, “but we also want them to grow up to be successful citizens and community members.” She believes part of the responsibility for teaching students those skills lies with their teachers. The curriculum at Derek Taylor School includes a program developed by world-renowned educator Dr Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The program adapts his ideas for the classroom, allowing teachers to instill these habits, which include how to be proactive and create winwin situations, in school-age children.

styles, fitting the curriculum to the child, instead of the other way around. “Jennifer is able to differentiate her instruction so every child is involved in the lesson,” says colleague, Vanessa Noskey. “She also encourages students to develop their own understanding of a topic rather than just accepting the way she interprets it.” One of Potosky’s math lessons involves students taking digital pictures of their work and printing them out. She then divides the students into groups and asks them to explain to their classmates how they solved their math problem. Many students come up with the correct answer using different methods and are able to tell other students why they chose that method and how it worked.


The students come to understand the entire math process rather than just regurgitating what their teacher has said. Embracing innovation, Potosky also uses technology to support her role as ‘guide on the side’, although she’s observed it must be used with caution as technology can affect children’s ability to focus. “The 21st century learner grows up fast. They have immediate access to knowledge earlier generations wouldn’t have dreamed about until they were

Board – an interactive touch-sensitive whiteboard. While reviewing the activity, she’ll ask students what they learned, which helps reinforce the lesson, and solicit their input on how the activity could be improved so students feel they’re part of their learning process. She also created a wiki, a password-protected school website, where students post videos and photos of classroom activities. “It’s a wonderful tool. Students learn valuable computer skills,” says Potosky, “and many of them go home and share

district’s new math curriculum. O’Neill is thrilled to witness Potosky’s continuing success. As for Potosky, she’s delighted with her chosen path as she’s always wanted a career where she could help others. She plans to be involved in education for many more years – as a teacher and a mentor – which is good news for parents and students. If the future of education is in the hands of inspiring, thoughtful teachers such as Potosky, then it's looking very bright indeed.

“The 21st century learner grows up fast. They have immediate access to knowledge earlier generations wouldn’t have dreamed about until they were older.” older – knowledge they can access with the touch of a button on a handheld device. So, rather than taking the time to think through problems or learn a subject thoroughly they rely on technology to give them answers.” When technology is used appropriately, Potosky believes it can enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. For example, she’ll film a classroom activity, then play the recording on the classroom’s SMART

their wiki-work with their parents.” As well as inspiring students, Potosky has already mentored three student teachers, unheard of for such a young teacher. “She’s done an exceptional job,” says Spencer. “Her student teachers graduate instilled with her passion for the profession and well prepared to teach.” Sharing her skills with colleagues, she gives workshops to other teachers and administrators on best practices for teaching the Potosky and two of her students use an interactive SMART Board to learn about, and have fun with, multiplication.

2011 fall / winter 2012


west coast ingredient for change





CULINARY CAREER RIGHT ON TARGET He’s prepared gourmet meals for movie stars and a princess, represented Canada at international cooking competitions, and is considered the founder of BC’s local food movement. But Chef Bernard Casavant, (Culinary Arts ’76) a BC Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee and winner of VIU's 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award, measures his success by how well he’s serving the next generation of chefs. Step through the doors of Chef Bernard’s home on one of his rare evenings off and you’ll find him relaxing on the sofa with his wife and childhood sweetheart Bonnie, savouring a glass of wine, quietly finishing up his paperwork. The Food Network will be on in the background; the sunset over the Kelowna hills visible through the windows. If there’s no paperwork, he’ll be reading a novel, flipping through a favourite cookbook, or indulging in a foodie movie such as Ratatouille.

The peaceful scene belies the passion, drive and fiercely competitive spirit that’s allowed Chef Bernard to navigate the challenges of a culinary career that’s taken him from his home town of Port Alberni to the heartland of the Okanagan with stops in Regina, Calgary, Vancouver and Whistler. “This isn’t a giving industry; I’ve fought hard throughout my career,” Chef Bernard says. “In the early 80s I was offered a position in a Vancouver restaurant. I flew home to Calgary and


2011 fall / winter 2012



gave notice. When I called to confirm my employment details I was told, ‘There’s no job for you. Our owner won’t have a Canadian in the kitchen.’ It was brutal – if you didn’t have European experience, you weren’t considered a true chef. The attitude was ‘Canadians couldn’t cook’.” A proud Canadian, Casavant refused to let his lack of European cooking experience hinder his ambitions and set out to change the industry. His ultimate goal was to be executive chef at a top hotel in BC. It would be a tough challenge but one of his earliest mentors instilled in him the strong work ethic and dedication it would take to be successful. “I came from a broken home,” says Chef Bernard, “My mom died when I was 11 and I was living with my stepfather. My grandmother took me in and kind of rescued me.” His grandmother Nessie Watts also introduced him to one of her passions – ensuring her 13 children had homemade food every day. She made bread from scratch, serving it with homemade blackberry jam. At dinner everyone gathered around the claw foot dining table, feasting on homemade stews and casseroles. Eventually, at his grandmother’s hands, Chef Bernard learned the art of making jam, kneading bread and preparing wholesome meals. “She inspired me,” says Chef Bernard. “When I faced challenges I’d think, ‘If my grandmother could do what she did, all on a shoestring budget, then I can keep going too’.” That drive, combined with unwavering support from his wife Bonnie whom he refers to as his ‘ballast’, and a competitive spirit (the saying on a favourite mug read, ‘If I can’t win, I don’t want to play’) allowed Chef Bernard to forge ahead. In 1982 he was the first west coast Canadian to hold a major title in a hotel when he was asked to be chef at Truffles, the fine dining restaurant in Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency. In 1991, he won the honour of being the first west coast trained Canadian to represent the 16

country in France’s prestigious Bocuse d’Or international cooking competition. “That was a huge point of arriving for me,” says Chef Bernard, “all those years of pushing and I was on the world stage. I felt I’d finally proven to the world west coast Canadians could cook.”


Building on his childhood experiences, he was also one of the first chefs to feature local food in his cooking, a passion of his that began when he was executive chef at Expo 86’s (Vancouver’s world fair) exclusive Canadian Club. “At that point no one was using seasonal BC products, like local vegetables and meat, but we started to during Expo.” While showcasing BC cuisine to the world’s elite including



Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana, he realized BC’s culinary industry was doing a disservice to its food producers.“We were serving raspberries in December, when BC farms couldn’t be producing them; flying in Asian tiger prawns instead of using BC spot prawns.

chef, I couldn’t be the executive chef?” He declined the offer. Three months later he was asked to don the executive chef ’s hat at Canadian Pacific’s new Chateau Whistler, the first chateau built by the company in 100 years. Under Chef Bernard, the Chateau’s

Duck Confit, Wild Mushroom Risotto 1 litre stock 1 tbsp canola oil 1 cup diced onion ½ cup arborio rice ²⁄³ cup white wine ½ cup duck leg confit, shredded ½ cup wild mushrooms, sautéed, seasoned 1 tbsp butter ¼ cup goat’s cheese Method: 1. Bring stock to a boil, reduce and simmer. 2. Heat oil over medium high heat; add onion. Sauté until soft, but not brown. 3. Add rice; sauté until coated in oil. Add wine; stir and reduce. 4. Add stock, ½ cup at a time, to rice mixture. Stir until liquid is almost evaporated. Repeat, adding ½ cup of stock each time. 5. When rice is al dente, fold in confit, mushrooms. Heat until warm. Add butter, cheese; season to taste.

Essentially we were displacing local food producers, the heart of our communities.” An unexpected career setback in 1989 led to the opportunity of a lifetime for Chef Bernard. “I was executive sous chef at Vancouver’s Four Seasons Hotel and thought I was on track to be the next executive chef. Then management asked me to train the next executive chef. I was shocked, wondering why, if I was good enough to train the executive

menus featured dishes made with fresh, seasonal BC goods. The guests loved it and demanded more. Inspired by the response, Chef Bernard became a trailblazer in the local food movement. Over the next ten years he helped found Farm Folk, City Folk, an organization that raises awareness of the benefits of buying local; established the Whistler Farmers Market; and together with a group of colleagues, changed BC’s food

Chef Bernard fillets a wild spring salmon caught in the waters off Haida Gwaii by the fishermen on the Stikine Queen. Manteo Resort apprentices (L-R), Jeremy Webber (Culinary Arts ’10), Brandon Goebel (Culinary Arts ’10), Julian Smith (Culinary Arts ’10), and Tess Fuller look on.

2011 fall / winter 2012


feature photo: DAVID MCILVRIDE

Chef Bernard finesses the details of his food presentation.

a husband and wife team who own Blackcomb Liquor Store (BLS) and Whistler’s Fitzimmons Pub – both business founded by Chef Bernard and Bonnie in the 1990s. They apprenticed with Chef Bernard – she as chef de partie in another of his Whistler business, Ciao Thyme Bistro; Michael as manager at the BLS – and learned an enormous amount from him. “He has a wealth of knowledge he’s willing to share if you’re willing to learn, whether it’s an intricate culinary technique or ‘mopping 101’,” says Rachel. Michael agrees adding, “He’s a hands-on teacher, demonstrating a

chef say?’ meaning what would Chef Bernard advise?” says Rachel. His advice is thorough and honest, if not always easy to swallow. “Success in this industry doesn’t get handed to you on a plate,” says Chef Bernard. “I started out washing floors in SuperValu but people think they’re going to be the next television chef, without realizing how much work it takes to do that. If I see people are unhappy I’ll tell them to take a break. Life is too short – get out there and be happy.” Today, Chef Bernard is reaping the benefits of his hard work. He’s a

While showcasing BC cuisine to the world’s elite chef bernard realized BC’s culinary industry was doing a disservice to its food producers. distribution industry, which in the early 90s didn’t deliver local goods. “My colleagues and I met with industry leaders and told them we needed an option to buy from local producers.” The industry listened, creating alternative transportation systems for BC farmers, and educating them on how to comply with industry regulations. Today, thanks to the efforts of local food pioneers such as Chef Bernard, many BC restaurants proudly feature local food. Some of their executive chefs are purely west coast Canadian trained; some have apprenticed with Chef Bernard. That’s exactly as he’d want it, as he measures his success in something far more meaningful than riches or fame. “Bernard could have been an international star – he’s that good,” says colleague Chef Rod Butters, owner of Kelowna’s RauDZ Regional Table. “But he isn’t about ‘me, me, me’. He’s about family, food, people and creating a legacy for the younger generation.” Rachel and Michael Kompass are


technique, making sure it’s understood, and, if not, teaching it again.” Ken Harper, the pastry chef instructor with Culinary Arts at VIU, credits his success with the guidance he received from Chef Bernard, when he was chef de partie in the Chateau Whistler’s pastry shop. “When you work with Chef Bernard you’re not a cog in a wheel. He makes everyone feel their contribution is important. He made me the chef I am today, setting high expectations and giving me the support I needed to reach those expectations.” Harper says in the four years he worked under Chef Bernard, the staff turnover was very low. In an industry where’s it’s not uncommon at resort properties for turnover to be as high as 50 percent annually that statistic speaks to how many of Chef Bernard’s staff echoed Harper’s sentiments. Chef Bernard is also considered by his colleagues to be the go-to guy when they’re facing difficult career or life decisions. “When we’re in a tough spot we’ll ask, ‘What would

purebred west coast Canadian executive chef at Kelowna’s exclusive Manteo Resort. His menus are chock full of dishes made with local goods; the wine list overflows with Okanagan Valley vintages and the kitchen staff always features at least a few capable apprentices. Most importantly though, his door is always open, so aspiring chefs seeking advice can come in and tell him their concerns, certain they’ll get exactly what they ordered – thoughtful advice from a seasoned chef.

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A life robotic If alumnus James Young (BSc in Computing Science ’05) has his way, the future will include more fun and fewer chores. As a human-robot interaction scientist, he explores how to design robots that can clean the house, cook dinner or babysit the kids and are activated, not at the touch of a button, but by a few simple voice commands. 2011 fall / winter 2012



Imagine opening the door of your home after a long work day and being greeted by the smell of a delicious meal and the sound of your favourite music. As you walk towards the kitchen the lights adjust automatically, illuminating your immaculately clean house. Waiting for you on the table beside your gourmet meal, is a pre-poured after work aperitif. Now imagine you’ve arranged all this as easily as arranging dinner with a friend. Welcome to the future a là James Young. He’s a professor in the computer science department at the University of Manitoba and specializes in human robot interaction (HRI). His passion is creating robots that are simple to use, and focused on making

For Young the most important part of the HRI equation is the human aspect. “Why do we expect humans to adapt to technology?” he asks. “For example, humans don’t intuitively know how to use a joystick. They can learn, but why should they have to? I believe we should adapt technology to

The future pet – James Young and a team of researchers created a dog-robot that humans were able to ‘walk’ much like they’ d walk a well-trained real dog.

On the surface what Young is proposing… sounds like something out of science fiction. people’s lives easier, even luxurious. “Picture a Victorian servant,” says Young, “They were there when you needed them, listened to what you said, performed mundane tasks you didn’t want to do, but overall they were invisible, behind the scenes. What if we could create robots to mimic the role of the Victorian servant?” The word robot first appeared in a 1921 play by Czech playwright Karel Capek. He wanted to describe ‘nonhuman, artificial workers’ and settled on robot, Czech for ‘forced labour’ or ‘servitude’. Today the word describes a variety of automated machines: toys, vacuums, even those with advanced artificial intelligence, like C-3P0 from Star Wars. Which begs the question: what exactly is a robot? According to Young there is no simple answer since robots come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. Most of them share certain qualities though – they’re autonomous, can make decisions and according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, function, in some capacity, like humans. 20

suit the abilities people already have.” In 2007, while doing a PhD at the University of Calgary, Young worked on a project with the “Roomba” – a robot vacuum cleaner created by iRobot. It’s an automatic vacuum, ‘autonomous’ enough to find its way around corners and avoid falling down stairs and ‘aware’ enough to realize when it’s ‘full’. According to Young, there’s only one problem – humans can’t interact intuitively with the Roomba. “I have one and love it, until something goes wrong,” he says. “It beeps five times and I have to flip through this huge owner’s manual to figure out what the problem is. It’s incredibly frustrating.” Young decided to capitalize on the human ability to understand emotions, and gave the Roomba a cartoon face. When everything was fine it looked happy, when it was stuck an angry face appeared. The result was that research participants easily understood what was wrong with the Roomba. On the surface what Young is proposing – creating robots functional

Alumnus James Young takes a break from his robot-designing research.


enough to cook dinner, clean house and communicate easily with humans – sounds like something out of science fiction. But Young believes the technology to create such robots already exists. The challenge lies in how the technology is designed. “I recently attended a conference where one of the presenters had a watch from the 1980s that had touch technology – the same technology that today makes the iPhone and iPad so popular. It took more than 25 years for that technology to go mainstream. Why? Because of the way it was designed. In many ways we’re in the same situation today. The technology exists to create robots capable of carrying out complex household tasks such as cleaning your shower or adjusting the lights in your house. The challenge is taking that technology and designing it so everyone, not just robot or computer scientists, can easily use it.” During a research internship at the University of Tokyo in 2009, Young worked on a project called, How to Walk a Dog Robot. It demonstrated the potential to create human-friendly robots that can perform intricate tasks. “Walking a dog is a complex process. It requires constant hand eye coordination and the dog has to follow cues from the human such as understanding when to stop and start.” It took Young and his team about four months to create a four-wheeled robot to mimic a dog’s movements. When they handed the ‘dog’s’ leash to research participants all of them, with no assistance or training, were able to perform a series of navigation tasks including moving the robot around obstacles, stopping it, starting it and doing a figure eight. The robot, in essence, interacted with the human much like a well-trained real dog would. Many people have concerns about robots acting like sentient beings, concerns fuelled by movies such as The Terminator, The Matrix, or 2001: A Space Odyssey. Young also believes it’s important to be careful about introducing robots

into our lives as we don’t fully understand how they’ll affect our home and office environments. What if your office computer not only performed the basic operations today’s computers do but also acted like a colleague? It said, “Good morning”, asked how your weekend was, and told you its feelings. Years later when you left the job you may feel sad because you were leaving a ‘friend’ even though essentially, it’s just a machine. There can also be issues when this problem is reversed – when a robot’s lack of human emotion causes unforeseen negative consequences. For example, today medical students are trained in a variety of medical procedures, such as injecting drugs or threading a catheter, by practicing on robots designed to look like humans. The benefits are obvious – real humans don’t get hurt – but there are also drawbacks. In his current research project Young is studying this issue in collaboration with Dr. Bertram Unger, Research Director of the Clinical Learning and Simulation Facility at the University of Manitoba. “Using robot patients raises important questions: Do medical students respond to

robot patients as they would human patients? If not, what’s different and how do those differences affect student learning outcomes?” says Young. “On the other hand, we also want to know if medical students learn just as well on cheap, simple mannequins as they do on expensive, more realistic robots. If they do, hospitals can save money.” It’s impossible to say what role robots will play in our lives, 10, 20 or 30 years from now, but Young believes the drive towards using robots is going to continue. The key will be to strike a balance between creating robots that enhance our human lives by performing mundane tasks or making us healthier, and ensuring our robot fears, raised in movies such as The Terminator, remain firmly in the realm of science fiction.

2011 fall / winter 2012


alumni in view

Graduates are making a difference here, there and everywhere.


Building Character Christine Thomson’s (Fine Arts Theatre ’79) job is to tell a story without saying a word. A costume designer for film, television and theatre, she’s spent the past 30 years working with local actors and Hollywood stars, designing costumes that bring their characters to life.

It’s a delicate balancing act as she must ensure her designs mesh with the director’s vision, the actor’s personality and physical characteristics, and the evolution of a character’s story. It doesn’t matter if she’s dressing actors for a local theatre production or Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain, the key to believable costumes, says Thomson, is in the details. “The instructors in VIU's theatre program drilled into us that costumes need to be authentic right down to the buttons on the jackets,” says Thomson, “If the costumes don’t suit the time period or the character then the story won’t ring true for viewers.” Following her instructors’ advice Thomson does 22

extensive background research before beginning her costume designs. Recently, while working on a movie called Four Saints, set during World War I, she read poetry and newspaper articles published at the time, spent hours online looking at period photographs and pored over books filled with images of military uniforms, badges and, yes, buttons. Another film, Santa Baby 2, required a different type of research, as the story wasn’t set in a specific time period. “The director and I decided we wanted to diverge from the Hollywood version of Santa.” Thomson immersed herself in the origins of the Santa Claus myth, thumbed through intricate 18th century pencil drawings of the jolly elf and read children’s books from Norway. She ended up creating old-fashioned Lapland elves, sporting leg warmers made from Value Village sweaters, Nepalese felt belts and hats, and pointy-toed slippers. Thomson believes this background research is the most important part of her job. “I often have people applying to work with me who have no research skills. They’ve worked in fashion or in a retail clothing store and feel because they have styling experience they can be a costume designer, which is simply not true.” Once the details are right and the

designs completed and approved, Thomson manages a team of seamstresses, tailors and cutters to create the costumes, or draws on industry contacts to supply pre-made outfits. Even when the last button is in place, she continues to tweak the details. “On Four Saints, I hired dyers to make the army uniforms the exact shade of green to suit the time period. I also worked with breakdown artists, who make new clothes look old, so the newly-sewn uniforms looked like soldiers had been rolling around in the trenches for a few days.” It’s an intricate, time-consuming process, but critical, because costume designers such as Thomson ensure audiences are convinced the characters they’re watching on screen, whether they’re from 18th century England, or an alien planet, are completely authentic.

Santa Baby 2 costume designed by Christine Thomson

alumni in view

Unearthing BC’s history An hour’s drive north of Fort St James, BC, lies a pristine forest, untouched by humans. Or so it would seem on the surface. But archaeologist, Jean-Jacques Baillaut (BA in Anthropology ’07) doesn’t put much stock in surface impressions. He works in Canada’s Cultural Resource Management sector and is charged with literally digging up the past.

“I work for Ecofor Consulting and our clients are in forestry, mining, oil and gas, and property development industries. When they want to develop land or resources, we survey the area first to ensure there are no archaeological sites – places with evidence of past human habitation – that would be damaged or destroyed by development.” Baillaut is a detective preserving BC’s hidden history. He pinpoints clues in the environment that might lead to archaeological sites. If he finds a site, development plans are adjusted to ensure it’s preserved.

The clues Baillaut looks for vary depending on the environment. First he predicts which parts of the survey area might have been inhabited, by examining the site’s topography, hydrology, and biology. He then pinpoints nearby archeological sites, as sites are often located within close proximity. Finally, he does an in-field assessment. “The majority of sites are found in level, dry spots, so while we’re exploring I’ll ask myself, ‘Would I camp here?’ If the answer is yes – maybe there’s a nice view or a source of water - then chances are people from hundreds of years ago might have felt the same.” Once he identifies a potential site, he starts digging, searching for

a high, flat, ridge, overlooking a wetland. “The view was great and I thought, ‘What a good hunting spot this would have been’.” Baillaut and his team started digging and unearthed obsidian (naturally occurring volcanic glass) flakes. To the average person the discovery would mean little. But Baillaut knew he’d found something important. “Obsidian doesn’t naturally occur near Fort St James – the nearest source is hundreds of kilometres away, so the flakes were transported by human trade or migration.” Thanks to Baillaut’s sleuthing, the site he discovered and the ancient stories it holds, will be preserved for future generations.

“While we're exploring I'll ask myself, 'would i camp here?'.” evidence humans once lived in the area, such as stone tools or spearheads. Sometimes clues are difficult to recognize and Baillaut must rely on his observational skills and knowledge of ancient people and cultures. In 2010 he worked on a site north of Fort St. James earmarked by a forestry company. During the assessment, he came upon 2011 fall / winter 2012


class notes

Let us know about your new job, promotion, wedding, family addition, travels, or further academic achievements at

1970 s

After spending many years working in office administration and raising a family, Nancy (Shaughnessy) Sayre (Clerk Stenographer Program ’72) returned to university and, on June 8, 2011, graduated with a BA in English and Creative Writing from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is now pursuing her love for writing and contemplating doing a Master’s degree.

Sandra Roach (Dipl. in Leisure Studies ’85) has spent the majority of her career working in Aboriginal sport and community recreation. In 2007, she returned to Vancouver Island to work for Sport Canada on the 2008 Cowichan North American Indigenous Games. She now lives in Cowichan Valley and works for Canadian Heritage, responsible for managing Aboriginal programs. Pat Steward (Associate in Music Dipl. ’82), Doug Elliott (Associate in Music Dipl. ’82), Murray Atkinson (BA in Music two years ’92), and Craig Northey, members of the Canuck’s house band The Odds, entertained the crowds during the Canuck’s 2011 playoff run.

1980 s David Kruyt (Associate in Arts and Sciences, Canadian Studies ’89; Associate in Commerce Dipl. General Management ’89) is the Chief Financial Officer for Vancouver Island Insurance Centres. Since graduation he’s held a number of different roles including accountant at a funeral home consolidators; comptroller at Jericho Tennis Club; forensic accountant in a private firm; and vice-president of trade finance at a large Vancouver corporation. An active volunteer, Kruyt is on the Vancouver Island Health Authority Board and the North Island College board of Governors.


L-R, Murray Atkinson, Pat Steward (on drums), Doug Elliott and Craig Northey.

class notes

Rod Szasz (BA Transfer ’83) finished his BA at UBC and went on to do an MSc from the London School of Economics. Today he’s a partner at Global Ethical Sourcing Solutions in Tokyo, helping Genetic Robotic Information and Nanotechnology (GRIN) companies in Japan and the Asia Pacific region gain market entry. He divides his times between Tokyo, Silicon Valley and Nanaimo. He’s also a dedicated winter alpinist, and outdoor adventurist.

1990 s Chris Addison (BSc Transfer ’97-’99) earned a BSc (2002) and an MSc in Chemistry (2005) at UVic and went on to do a PhD in Chemistry at UBC, 2011. He is now an instructor at UBC, teaching in the chemistry department and the Science One program.

Illustrator Laura Passarello imagines her youngest daughter as a bee for her entry in the CorelDRAW International Design Contest.

Jann Drake (BEd ’97) completed an MA at the University of Phoenix focused on building resiliency with children. For the past two years, she’s been principal at AB Greenwell Elementary, a small school with Grades K-5, located in Youbou, BC.

Sonia Jaswal (Tourism Dipl. ’98) is an Investment Advisor with LOM Securities (Bermuda) Limited. Prior As an artist Faye (McMaster) Carmody to moving to Bermuda, she worked at Canaccord Genuity Corporation in (BEd ’95) works with a variety of different mediums including watercolour, Vancouver and completed her Canadian Securities Course (CSC) and Conducts pen and ink, and coloured charcoal. She also teaches Grade 9 English and Creative and Practice Handbook (CPH) through the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI). Writing 12 at Kwalikum Secondary School and runs the Grand Buddies Program where Grade 12s are paired with Laura Passarello (Applied Arts seniors from the Gardens Retirement Graphic Design ’93) is a self-employed Home and during the semester they illustrator and designs logos, vector do various activities together. graphics for software development companies, images for t-shirts – even Sentinel of Darkness airbrushes motorcycles with colourful by Faye Carmody images. Currently, she’s learning how to write and illustrate children’s books. Dave Peniuk (BA Transfer ’92) recently moved back to Nanaimo with his wife Julie. Together they run Prairie Island Properties a real estate investment company, and Rev N You with Real Estate a real estate investing education company. www.prairieislandproperties. com;

2011 fall / winter 2012


class notes

Marie Scoretz (First Nations Child and Youth Care Dipl. ’97) has been working at the First Nations Student Services at VIU for nine years. She has two adult children and four grandchildren.

2000 s Since graduation David Bakewell (BA in Business Management ’02) has worked in various jobs in South Korea, the Philippines and Thailand. Today he is the manager and marketing director at Sahavith School, a bilingual school in central Thailand. In 2009 Laura Booi (BA with Distinction ’09) received a $17,500 Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is now studying aging in her master’s degree in the health psychology graduate program at UBC. Alex Caswell (Dipl. in Applied Arts ’07) and Kristi Dupont were married in Nanaimo on March 12, 2011.

Stephanie Fink (BA in Fine Arts Transfer ’04) works in the marketing and fundraising department at the Vancouver Art Gallery and is a partner in C&S Vancouver, a design company. Her freelance projects have included the playbill for the Black Swan premier in Vancouver, a redesign of The Vancouver Opera Guild’s website and an ad for Fluevog shoes.

After a five-year term as Director of Community Services for the district of Taylor, Keir Gervais (Recreation Administration ’98; BA in Tourism Management ’02) returned to Vancouver Island in 2009 and is now the Director of Operations for the village of Port Alice. Johnson Ginger (Forest Resources Technology Dipl. ’06) has worked in Alaska, northern BC, and Vancouver Island as a Geographic Information System (GIS) and Forest Technologist. He’s now working with his nation the Huu-ay-aht First Nations in their Lands and Forestry department.

Jesse Crockett (BTM ’06) is Assistant Front Office Manager at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, BC.  He and his wife Harmony celebrated the birth of their first child, Solomon Ryder Crockett, in April 2010. Katherine Cruickshank (BA in Urban Geography ’06) is a community planner for the province of Manitoba. She is newly engaged to Chad Moir, a natural resource officer for Manitoba Conservation, and they plan to marry at Sandos Playacar in Playa del Carmen Mexico on April 19, 2012.

Cruickshank and Moir 26

class notes

Chef Owen Lightly (Culinary Arts ’02) has worked in some of BC’s best restaurants including West in Vancouver and Araxi in Whistler. In 2008 he opened his own catering company, Butter on the Endive, which specializes in creating unique menus for any size event or party.

David Hamilton (BA in Business Administration ’06) is a publisher for Black Press Group at the Free Press community newspaper in Fernie. He’s also on the provincial board of the BCSPCA, and a member of the Charles Alfred David Reid (BBA ’08) Sparwood Coal Miner Association Board. lives in Tisdale, Saskatchewan and is the Senior Account Manager of Business Banking at RBC Royal Bank. Lori Henri (BEd ’07; BA in Geography ’07) and Ryan Henri (RMOT ’06) celebrated the birth of their first child, Keaton Steven Paul Henri, on May 22, 2011. Lynda Kirby (BA in Visual Arts ’06) studied Fine Arts at Vancouver City College in 1972 and worked intermittently in commercial art while raising two daughters. After graduating from VIU she continued to pursue her love of painting BC’s landscapes. Her work is now exhibited in galleries across the province. Stephen Tylor Kubel (Inboard Outboard Power Equipment ’07) is an ocean tech at Marine Ocean Repair.

Keaton Steven Paul Henri

2011 fall / winter 2012


class notes

Susan Reno (BA in Child and Youth Care ’04) is a Child Youth and Family Support Worker at School District 68.

On August 2010, Jared Roberts (Dipl. in Criminology ’05; BA in Sociology ’08), was named to the coaching staff of the Victoria Mavericks Collegiate Baseball Academy which was recently granted membership in the Canadian College Baseball Conference.

2010 s Lynn Barnes (MA in Educational Leadership ’11) is a teacher librarian at Georgia Avenue community school in Nanaimo. Dana Campbell (BA in First Nations Studies ’11) works in the Beecher Bay First Nation Band office in the south east of Vancouver Island, and will be working for Ditidaht in the Infant and Toddler Program. A member of the Ditidaht Tribe, she plans to pursue a Master’s in Early Childhood Education.

Trevor Chapman (BA Tourism Management ’11) is a guide manager at Alpha Adventures & Education (www. located on BC’s Sunshine Coast. Along with managerial duties, he leads day and multi-day kayak tours, winter snowshoe tours and teaches cross-country skiing. Naomi Horbatch (BA in Tourism Management ’11) lives in Port Alberni where she runs two businesses – Secluded Health and Wellness, a natural health consulting company and Qwi-na Consulting, an empowerment and business consulting company through which she facilitates workshops for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organizations.

After 23 years as a talent scout in the music industry Dave Porter (Fisheries & Aquaculture Technology Dipl. ’11) switched gears and is now an aquaculture technologist for Marine Harvest at their base in the remote BC coastal community of Ocean Falls. There he works with a team responsible for raising farmed salmon in a low impact, environmentally responsible manner.


class notes

Amber Reepe (Nail Technology Cert. ’11) works at Ladybugs Designing Nails in Parksville where she does manicures, pedicures, fingernail gel enhancements and pedique – gel enhancements for toes. Laurent Tran (BA in Global Studies ’11) spent the summer of 2011 on a Global Studies internship in Hanoi, Vietnam where he worked as Communications Facilitator with Vietnam International Education Development. At the end of August 2011, he’ll start a master’s degree in International Development and Management at Lund University in Sweden.



Getaway Special





Plus taxes in a studio room. Upgrades available



Where luxury meets the beach.

* Fall Special available from October 1 - December 22, 2011. Price based on double occupancy in a studio room plus taxes (Sunday through Thursday). Additional cost for weekends and upgrades to ocean views/suites based on availability at the time of booking. Some blackout and restrictions may apply. Plus applicable taxes.

2011 fall / winter 2012 Docket Number: 7619




different faces. different voices.

Amelia Stanevicius (BA in Anthropology ’08; BEd ’10) loves immersing herself in other cultures, strolling through unfamiliar streets, wrapping her tongue around foreign languages and learning what makes non-Canadians tick. She never dreamed her taste for the exotic would give her an immersion in the politics of revolution.

Even before graduation, I wanted to indulge my love of travelling by teaching overseas. When I came across a job posting for a Grade 1 teacher at the BC Canadian International School in Cairo, Egypt, I applied immediately as I’d always been fascinated by ancient Egyptian culture. To my surprise, it was modern-day Egyptians who left a lasting impression on me, when in January 2011 they took to the streets demanding their president, Hosni Mubarek, step down after 29 years of military rule. Tuesday, January 25, was Policeman’s Day; a national holiday in Egypt. Pro-democracy groups had decided to organize a protest against President Mubarek in Tahrir Square – a huge public square in the centre of Cairo. The energy was electric. People marched through the streets, carrying signs and shouting slogans. In the square prodemocracy groups set up stands and worked frantically to mobilize others, posting protest information on Facebook and Twitter and encouraging everyone to phone and text their contacts with one message – “Come to Tahrir Square.” It was easy to get caught up in the demonstrations. You could feel how desperate people were for change – everyone was united in the goal to oust Mubarek, even the different faiths. I wanted to support them, to help them fight against what they felt had been 29 years of corruption and mismanagement that had left so many of them poor. But there was also a sense that chaos could 30

witness to revolution erupt at any time, so when my Egyptian friends told me I shouldn’t be in the square, that it wasn’t my fight, I stayed in my apartment watching as crowds of angry protesters passed through the streets, heading for the square. As the revolution continued, I began to feel trapped. There was nothing for me to do – I couldn’t protest, I couldn’t work and the streets didn’t feel very safe even though there were army tanks and ad-hoc groups of vigilante soldiers everywhere. Then the phone and Internet lines were shut down to stop protestors from organizing, so I couldn’t communicate with my worried parents and friends. When I reluctantly decided to leave, the taxi crawled through the empty streets, stopping at every corner to appease the groups of vigilante soldiers who insisted on checking my passport. It was a nervewracking experience but finally after passing through more than 20 vigilante groups and three army checkpoints

Stanevicius watched from her friend’s apartment as crowds of Egyptians marched through the streets to Tahrir Square.

we made it to Cairo airport. I flew to London and waited, with the rest of the world, to see what would happen. President Mubarek stepped down two weeks later. I returned soon after and went immediately to Tahrir Square. It was still packed with people celebrating their victory. People had set up cafés, hookah bars and food stalls. There were face painters, people selling T-shirts and musicians entertaining the crowds. It felt like a carnival. I loved being there, sharing in the people’s joy. Eventually the crowd dispersed and people went back to their prerevolution lives. Stores reopened, café’s filled up and I started teaching again. However, my Egyptian friends felt their lives would never be the same – the events of the revolution were etched in their minds, as well as the knowledge that their actions had changed the course of their country’s history.

meet. mingle. stay in touch. 75th Anniversary Barbecues All alumni are invited to attend these free 75th anniversary celebrations.

Nanaimo Business Breakfast Nanaimo Campus Cafeteria September 20, 2011

September 22, 2011 11am-3pm Cowichan Campus Opening and 75th Celebration New Cowichan Campus

VIU Athletics Golf Fundraiser September 22, 2011 1:30pm shotgun start Nanaimo Golf Club Proceeds go to support VIU’s student athletes

October 4, 2011 11:30am-1:30pm Nanaimo Campus 75th Celebration

Romeo & Juliet November 3-12, 2011 Malaspina Theatre Nanaimo Campus

October 13, 2011 11:45am-1:45pm Powell River Campus 75th Celebration

Festival of Trees November 25-27, 2011 Vancouver Island Convention Centre Downtown Nanaimo

calendar of events

2012 CCAA National Volleyball Championship March 8-10, 2012 Gymnasium VIU Nanaimo Campus Arts & Humanities Colloquium Series Fridays from 10am-11:30am

September 16, 2011 Graphic Matters: Women Making Comics October 14, 2011 Romeo and Juliet and the Romantic Politics of Deepa Mehta’s Water November 18, 2011 A Printing House in Hell: William Blake’s Illuminated Printing

2011 fall / winter 2012


VIU Alumni magazine - Journey, Fall 2011  

Vancouver Island University alumni magazine