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VIU Mariners soccer teams inspire Aboriginal Youth

Coaches and players from Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s Mariners soccer teams will help teach and inspire more than 400 Aboriginal children about the joy of sport.
Team members will assist Vancouver Whitecaps FC representatives in the 3rd annual Hope and Health skills and drills soccer clinic for Aboriginal youth, taking place today (Wednesday, July 9) at Merle Logan Field in Nanaimo from 10 am to 4 pm.
Representatives from Whitecaps FC will spend the day with Coast Salish youth from 10 First Nations communities on Vancouver Island to engage and motivate them to lead healthy, productive, and confident lives through life skills taught from soccer.
“Whitecaps FC is committed to our communities and grassroots programming at all level,” said Carl Valentine, club ambassador, Vancouver Whitecaps FC. “We simply couldn’t put on the Hope and Health soccer clinics without Vancouver Island University’s 35 players and coaches who volunteer their time to work tirelessly with the kids on skills and drills.”
Hope and Health is an annual event presented by Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services, Lalum’utul Smun’eem Aboriginal Child and Family Service Agency, and Whitecaps FC that brings the community together to provide positive experiences for Aboriginal youth. This year’s event theme is Nautsa’mawt: Oneness; working together with one mind, one heart.
The goal is to utilize soccer and mentorship as a vehicle to inspire hope and health with the central Vancouver Island Coast Salish First Nation’s most vulnerable children and youth, including those members currently living in foster care.
In addition to soccer skill development, the movement is about inspiring personal empowerment, finding the courage to be vulnerable, and overcoming adversity, with the belief that through struggles comes strength and wisdom.
Soccer has been popular in Coast Salish nations across generations and is an excellent platform to bring people together to focus on wellness, adds Valentine. It brings together diverse nations, cutting across the economic, geographic and cultural diversity.
Bruce Hunter, Athletic Director for VIU, says the Mariner soccer teams led by Bill Merriman (men’s team) and Anup Kang (women’s team) are proud to assist.
“This is a great example of how the VIU Mariners coaching staff and players are involved in community activities,” said Hunter. “I see this as part of VIU’s mission – to be a good community partner and inspire hope and health in our youth. This is also great experience for our student athletes to be involved in something they can really be proud of.”
Opening ceremonies for Hope and Health 2014 were held Tuesday evening at Nanaimo Port Theatre, with keynote speaker Theo Fleury, a former NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup winner, and Olympic gold medallist.
The Hope and Health movement was co-founded by William Yoachim, former VIU Board Member, Executive Director of Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services. Yoachim is also a current Council member for Snuneymuxw.


Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P:250.740.6559 C:250.618.4596 E: T:@viunews
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VIU Hosts Free Lecture on Decline of Steller Sea Lions Feb. 18

The dramatic decline of Steller sea lions in western Alaska has stimulated a wide range of studies as scientists struggle to understand the root causes of these declines.
For almost 20 years, Dr. David Rosen has led the University of BC’s (UBC) Marine Mammal Energetics and Nutrition Laboratory in investigations into the declines of Steller sea lions and northern fur seals in Alaska by conducting studies with trained, captive animals.
This unique research has provided insight into the nutrition and development in these species, and has provided valuable contributions to conservation plans for their recovery.
Dr. Rosen has studied the physiology and behaviour of marine mammals for 30 years, and his current research focuses on understanding the reasons for the dramatic population declines in Steller sea lions and northern fur seals in the North Pacific, primarily through studies of trained animals housed at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Dr. Rosen is the author of more than 60 scientific papers, and recently chaired the report “Developing Standards of Care for Marine Mammals in Captivity” for the Ontario government.
His talk, part of VIU's free Science & Technology Lecture Series, takes place Wednesday, February 18, from 7 - 8 pm at Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus, 900 Fifth Street, Building 356, Room 109.
The lecture is open to everyone and there will be a question and answer session.
For more information and a complete schedule of upcoming talks in VIU’s weekly Science & Technology Lecture Series, please go to


Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: T:@viunews
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VIU Grad Advises Students to 'Step Out of Comfort Zone' and Study Overseas

Be courageous and step out of your comfort zone.
That’s Emily Hannah’s advice to high school and post-secondary students after she completed a three-month Global Studies internship in Belize as part of her Bachelor of Arts degree program at Vancouver Island University (VIU).
The overseas internship was a “highlight” of her undergraduate degree, says Hannah, who graduated with double majors in Geography and Global Studies in January.
In Belize, she lived with a host family and worked for an organization called Plenty Belize, a non-governmental organization that focuses on solar energy, sustainable farming and small business development.
“I think every student should study abroad, even for one semester,” says Hannah, born and raised in Nanaimo and a graduate of Dover Bay Secondary. 
“I had never travelled overseas before. Going to Belize on my own was nerve wracking at first and I was afraid. I almost pulled out of the internship but then it became really exciting. It was definitely a growth experience that made me realize what I’m capable of doing when pushed. I am more confident in my academic capabilities as well. Motivating myself, setting deadlines and getting things done used to be a challenge, but not anymore.”
A highlight for Hannah was travelling to a small village with her host mother to visit the family farm and learn about the traditional Mayan way of life. “I met so many people and appreciated the hands on learning experiences,” she says. “Living and studying in another country expands your view of the world and gives you a new way to learn.”
VIU alumna Taylor Jenks (Bachelor of Arts, Major in Geography and minor in Global Studies, January 2015) also completed a summer internship in Belize, working for the Ministry of Labour, Local government, Rural development, National Emergency Management Operations, and Immigration and Nationality. Her tasks focused on the rural development department: she undertook a boundary delineation study and helped three small villages qualify as official villages under their local government act.
“I conducted a household survey, consulted with community representatives as to where they perceive their geographical boundaries to be, and carried out other tasks,” says Jenks, originally from Cowichan. “It was great to put my skills and education to work in a real world environment.”
Jenks admits that culture shock was a factor when she first arrived in Belize “because it’s all overwhelming at first. However, you soon discover that what seem like the biggest challenges turn out to be the most rewarding experiences.
“You end up learning a lot, especially how to be creative when performing even the simplest of tasks from feeding yourself, to finding ways to commute when you don’t have a vehicle, to learning the norms of a workplace in a foreign country,” she adds. 
Diego Bustos, an international student from Mexico and now a fourth-year Global Studies student at VIU, also completed a summer internship.  He provided technical assistance to the Belize Rural Area-Based Development Strategy in 34 villages.  “The academic and personal gains of this experience are unbelievable,” says Bustos. “Just living in another country and trying to understand their language and culture is an education in itself. The friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime."
Global Studies professor Dr. Catherine Schittecatte says VIU students have pursued internships in places as far away as Geneva, India, Belize, Uganda and Brazil. “Many of them have had transformational experiences,” she says. “Studying abroad provides a tremendous opportunity for students to grow as individuals. Students learn in a completely foreign environment and get to practice on the ground what we learn in the classroom and from textbooks.”
Global Studies internships are open to students entering their 3rd or 4th year of the program. Certain criteria apply and some funding assistance is available. Internships count as three University credit courses toward a Major or Minor Degree in Global Studies. The deadline for internship applications for the next academic year (2015/16) and the summer of 2016 is Friday, March 13th, 2015. Interviews will take place in mid-April.
For more information, go to


Photo Caption: VIU alumna Emily Hannah says a three month Global Studies Internship in Belize was a highlight of her educational experience.

Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: T:@viunews
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Heavy Equipment Operator Students Receive Scholarships from TLA and Chevron

Two new $5,000 scholarships funded by the Truck Loggers Association (TLA) and Chevron have been awarded to students in the Heavy Equipment Operator program at Vancouver Island University (VIU). BC’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson presented the awards to VIU students Jesse Creighton and Breanna Thompson at the TLA Convention & Trade Show in Victoria Jan. 23.
 The new scholarships for VIU’s Heavy Equipment Operator students were created by the TLA and Chevron in response to the TLA’s labour market analysis, which predicts the coastal forest industry will need 4,700 skilled workers over the next decade.
 “We know equipment operators are in demand and will be even more so in coming years,” said Don Banasky, TLA President. “It makes sense for the TLA and Chevron to get behind this program and support students interested in working as machine operators in the coastal forest industry.”
 “Chevron recognizes that the forestry industry is a critical segment of the BC economy and that accessible, high quality skills training is instrumental to supporting this industry,” said Adrien Byrne, Chevron spokesperson. “That is why Chevron is proud to partner with the TLA in creating this new scholarship program and congratulates the two deserving recipients at Vancouver Island University.”
 In her application letter to the TLA, Thompson said she looks forward to using her new skills in “such a diverse and dynamic industry,” and hopes to inspire other young women to pursue careers in industrial trades.
 “The chance to be a positive role model for other women aspiring to a career in this field is incredibly important to me,” said Thompson, who is from Gabriola Island.
 Creighton, who grew up in Sooke, said in his application letter that it has long been his goal to train as a heavy equipment operator and work in the forest industry on Vancouver Island.
 “Forestry, to me, is a chance to live and work on the Island with a career that I love. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of B.C.’s coastal forests,” he said.
 “We’re thrilled to see the hard work of two of our top students in the Heavy Equipment Operator program recognized, and we’re grateful for the ongoing support and partnership with the TLA and Chevron,” said Paul Mottershead, VIU’s Associate Dean of Trades and Applied Technology. “We recognize the demand for skilled workers in the forest industry in BC and work closely with industry to support their needs.” 

 – 30 –
Photo Caption: Celebrating new scholarships created for VIU students in the Heavy Equipment Operators program on Jan. 23 are (l-r) Adrien Byrne, Policy, Government & Public Affairs Representative, Chevron; Breanna Thompson, VIU student; Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations; Jesse Creighton, VIU student; and Rolf Braun, Business Consultant, Chevron.

 About the Truck Loggers Association:
The TLA (Truck Loggers Association) represents over 440 independent forest contractors and their suppliers operating on the coast of British Columbia. Our membership supports thousands of workers and, along with other independent contractors, accounts for close to 90 per cent of the trees harvested on the coast. The TLA promotes a thriving, sustainable coastal forest industry in BC.
 For more information: Brenda Martin, Director of Communications, The Truck Loggers Association
Phone: 604.684.4291 ◦ Cell: 604.339.7554 ◦ Fax: 604.684.7134 ◦ Email:
Twitter:@truckloggerBC◦ Website:
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VIU Hosts Women's National Basketball Championships

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is hosting the 2015 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) women’s basketball national championships at the Nanaimo campus March 18 to 21.  
Eight of the top Canadian Collegiate teams from across the country will play for gold including VIU’s Mariners. Their first match will be on Thursday, March 19, at 6 pm in VIU’s gymnasium and the games are open to everyone.
A total of 13 matches will be played during the tournament with game times at 1 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm on Thursday and Friday.
On Saturday, March 21, matches will take place at 10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm with the bronze medal game at 5:30 pm followed by the gold medal game at 8 pm.
Tournament passes are $25 each; $20 for VIU Alumni; and free for VIU students. A session pass (same day morning and afternoon games) is $10 for adults, $6 for students/seniors, and free for VIU students.
For each game they attend, VIU students will get a chance to win a $500 tuition credit. The final draw will take place at the gold medal game and the winner must be present to claim their prize.
Tickets are available at the door of the VIU Gymnasium.
For further information, go to

Photo Caption: Come and cheer on VIU's Mariners! The VIU women's basketball team will be competing in the 2015 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association's national championships at VIU March 18 to 21.
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VIU Alumni Can Save On Insurance With New Partnerships
Alumni from Vancouver Island University (VIU) can save on their insurance with two new affinity partnerships announced this month.
The VIU Alumni Association has partnered with Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services and Canadian Direct Insurance to provide all alumni with savings on a wide range of insurance products. Life insurance, critical illness insurance, health and dental insurance, travel insurance, long term disability insurance, and home and auto insurance are among the products for which preferential rates to VIU alumni will be provided.
“All of us at Canadian Direct Insurance are thrilled to welcome the VIU Alumni Association into our Affinity Group Insurance program,” said Wayne Van Damme, Manager of Affinity Business for Canadian Direct Insurance. “The program that we have set up for the alumni will provide you with the best possible discounts and coverages available to Canadian Direct Insurance clients.”
“We are delighted to welcome VIU as our affinity partner,” said Ed Bender, Regional Vice President of Special Markets Solutions for Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services. ”This type of group insurance program benefits everyone involved – alumni members get access to innovative group insurance products, VIU receives financial support for its alumni programs, and Industrial Alliance gains a valuable new partnership.” 
William Litchfield, Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations at VIU, said he is pleased to link VIU alumni with these two respected partners in the insurance industry.
“Our affinity partners offer great value and service to VIU alumni,” he said. “Along with the savings now available through these valuable partnerships for insurance products, alumni can also access a range of other great benefits in our community and across Canada.”
Free Alumni Benefit Cards are available to all VIU alumni who register online, and provide access to discount and special offers including these two new insurance offerings.
The VIU Alumni Association represents those who have studied at or graduated from Malaspina College, Malaspina University-College and Vancouver Island University (VIU) since 1969, and those who attended the Vocational Training School between 1936 and 1976.
For more information on VIU’s Alumni Benefits Card and offerings from VIU Affinity Partners, contact Kamala Haughton at 250.740.6215 or


Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E:
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Restoring Bluebird Population topic of VIU Science & Technology talk March 11

Sixty years ago, western bluebirds were a common occurrence in the Garry Oak meadows and savannahs of southwestern BC.
However, this bluebird population experienced rapid declines throughout its range in the latter half of the 1900s, caused by loss of Garry Oak habitat, removal of standing dead trees that provide cavities for nesting, and competition for nest cavities with exotic birds such as European starlings and house sparrows.
By 1995, bluebirds were no longer breeding in southwestern BC and the population was designated as locally extinct. Today, western bluebirds are recovering throughout Washington as a result of habitat enhancement, conservation, and restoration, and reintroduction efforts.
In the next Vancouver Island University Science & Technology Series free public lecture on Wednesday, March 11,  join Jemma Green, Coordinator Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, as she describes how bluebird populations were restored.
In her talk, Green will describe how in 2012, the Bring Back the Bluebirds Project joined the international effort to restore breeding populations of western bluebirds to historic habitat throughout the Georgia Depression by reintroducing bluebirds to Vancouver Island.
This project is the first cross-border translocation attempt of a migratory songbird in North America and an important step in the recovery of Garry Oak ecosystems.
Green will provide an overview of the habitat enhancement and translocation activities conducted in the first three years of this seven-year project, which has established a small population of breeding bluebirds on Vancouver Island.
Green completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Conservation at the University of British Columbia, where she focused her studies on wildlife ecology and conservation.
She worked with a variety of environmental organizations in Vancouver before moving to Vancouver Island, where she became immersed in Garry Oak ecosystem restoration activities.
Green spent much of 2014 in the Cowichan Valley, applying her interests in animal behaviour and wildlife conservation as the field technician for the Bring Back the Bluebirds project.
Her talk takes place Wednesday, March 11, from 7 - 8 pm at Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus, 900 Fifth Street, Building 356, Room 109. The lecture is open to everyone and there will be a question and answer session.
For more information and a complete schedule of upcoming talks in VIU’s weekly Science & Technology Lecture Series, please go to


Photo Caption: Restoring the bluebird population is the focus of the next VIU Science & Technology free public lecture March 11.

Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: T:@viunews
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VIU Grad Nominated for 'Most Prestigious Innovation Award in Canada'

Vancouver Island University graduate Breanne Quist is in the running for a prestigious national honour – the Ernest C. Manning Innovation Award.
Quist has been nominated for her work creating The Privacy Compass ( ), a website designed to help BC teachers, parents, and schools navigate privacy issues when selecting and using learning management systems and social media tools like Twitter, Pinterest, blogs and more.
The Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards are dubbed as the ‘most prestigious innovation awards in Canada.’ Nominees are Canadians who have demonstrated recent innovative talent in developing and successfully marketing a new concept, process or procedure. Quist finds out in March if she will receive one of two $10,000 awards from the Manning Awards Foundation.
“I’m super excited because being nominated is a huge honour,” says Quist, who graduates from VIU’s Master of Education in Educational Leadership program on Friday, January 30.
Quist holds two other VIU credentials –a Bachelor of Education degree and an Online Learning and Teaching graduate diploma (OLTD). She lives in Nanaimo and teaches all subjects in grades 8, 9 and 10, and high school technology classes for Anchor Academy, a distance education school in Salmon Arm.
“Breanne started the seeds of her Privacy Compass project in my Social Media 506 class as part of the OLTD program,” says VIU professor Julia Hengstler, who nominated Quist with OLTD professor Randy Labonte. “She continued her work on the Privacy Compass project as a master’s student under my supervision.”
BC has some of the strictest privacy legislation in Canada and North America, says Hengstler, especially with regard to public schools and their ability to use social media and learning management tools.
Quist’s Privacy Compass website was designed to provide the information and support necessary to make informed decisions and support schools and teachers in selecting appropriate tools, support teacher knowledge, and obtain informed consent from students and parents.
“Breanne created a framework for identifying key privacy considerations, evaluating them, communicating them to teachers and parents, and creating relevant permission forms,” explains Hengstler. The website also includes templates and submission opportunities for other educators to contribute to the available support documentation.
Quist’s work was reviewed by the Manning Awards Foundation nomination panel with experts in the field, and she was designated as a national “qualified nominee” – much like a regional finalist.
She will receive a certificate from the Manning Foundation to acknowledge reaching this significant level in the awards competition.
Hengstler praises Quist’s dedication and commitment to the project and her studies, considering that she juggled motherhood and school responsibilities.
Quist gave birth to two children within 18 months while completing her OLTD and master’s programs at VIU.
“A lot of my blog posts for OLTD courses were posted at 2 am,” recalls Quist. “I was up with the kids, so I figured I’d be productive and get school work done. It was tough sometimes, especially when my husband was called out of town to work. I got through it thanks to the incredible support from VIU faculty like Julia Hengstler and others. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Privacy Company website showcases 10 online tools but there are literally hundreds out there, adds Quist.  She plans to enhance the site by adding more tools, and possibly turning it into a business.
“It has a good potential,” she says. “The first week my website was launched in October, there were over 1,000 views.”
Web users need to understand that there are privacy issues and risks when accessing online resources, adds Quist. “It’s about knowing what they are, and understanding the benefits of using the tools and managing risks.”
As an example of one potential risk, Quist points to the US Patriot Act.
“If a student or teacher uploads online resources to Google Docs for a family genealogy project, the US government could read through all your family information,” says Quist. “By signing up for Google, you’ve agreed to let them do this. A lot of people don’t realize this.”


Photo Caption: VIU graduate Breanne Quist has been nominated for the Ernest C. Manning Innovation Award, one of the most prestigious innovation awards in Canada.

 Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: T:@viunews
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Powell River Dual Credit Students Shine in Skills Canada Regional Competition

Powell River students studying trades at Vancouver Island University (VIU) Powell River in the Dual Credit Trades program offered through VIU and Brooks Secondary were among the top competitors at the Skills Canada Regional Skills BC competition in Nanaimo on Feb. 20.
Seven of the 13 Powell River students in the Dual Credit program returned home with medals following the day-long competition, where they tested their skills against students from other Vancouver Island communities in automotive service technician, carpentry, culinary arts and welding.
Powell River medallists in the Skills Canada regional competition were: Devon Degraag (Gold) and Blair Massullo (Bronze) in auto service technician; Zane Hernandez (Gold) in carpentry; Téa Mayer (Silver) and Daniel Woodruff (Bronze) in culinary arts; and Graham Hanson (Silver) and Eric Rairie (Bronze) in welding.
Gold medallists Degraag and Hernandez will be travelling to the Skills Canada Provincial Skills BC Competition held in Abbotsford on April 15. Winners from this competition go on to compete at the Canadian Skills Championships in Saskatoon in May.
Other students travelling from Powell River for the regional competition were: Aiden Devereaux, Kaela George, Jenn Blackney, Shea Whalen, Julien Sistaire and Kolton Fuller.
“We’re very proud of all our Powell River students who stepped up to compete in this very intense, timed competition,” said Micki McCartney, acting campus manager. “They’ve been supported every step of the way by exceptional instructors: Ron Depape in automotive, Gary Huculak in carpentry, Chris Gray  and Lori Alexander in culinary arts, and Wes Irwin and Shane Ahola in welding.”
Since 1994, Skills BC has been providing thousands of post-secondary and secondary school students with the opportunity to watch their peers showcase trades and technology skills and compete for gold in these Olympic-style contests.


Photo Caption: Automotive gold medallist Devon Degraag concentrates on the task at one of the testing stations for the BC regional Skills Canada competition at VIU’s Nanaimo Campus Feb. 20.

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E:
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VIU Anthropology Class Ignites Family's Passion to Support the Homeless

Resilience and determination.
These are two key characteristics of a mother, daughter and son team from Ladysmith studying together at Vancouver Island University (VIU) in Nanaimo.
Siblings Jaden Bourque and Sharae Antley are Anthropology majors at VIU and their mother Alana Bourque, in remission from a serious illness, has audited classes  with them for two years.
Recently, the mother, son and daughter team completed an Anthropology of Homelessness class at VIU’s Cowichan campus taught by instructor Helene Demers. For a class assignment, they organized a ‘community action project’ - donation drive to collect non-perishable food and other items for the Ladysmith Soup Kitchen.
Targeting about 200 homes in Ladysmith, they collected hundreds of bags of food items and $400 in cheques for the Ladysmith Community Resources Centre.
“The response from the community was overwhelming and the project had a profound effect on all of us,” says Jaden. “Helene’s class really opened our eyes.
“We’ve lived in Ladysmith for 10 years and had no idea the soup kitchen feeds 60-plus people per week in the basement of the Eagles Hall. Helene’s class was the first opportunity we had to get out into the community and do something positive. All three of us realized that we should volunteer more in our own community.”
Demers aims to incorporate community action and/or social justice assignments in all her classes and encourages students to conduct applied research that promotes safe, healthy and inclusive communities.
“It’s wonderful to see students making a difference in their communities, especially when that volunteerism carries on after the class ends,” says Demers.
The family plans to organize a second donation drive later this spring after their classes end this semester.
Sharae and Jaden are currently enrolled in five classes together, while mom Alana is auditing one class with them – the Anthropology of Peace Education taught again by Demers. “We find an instructor we like and take all their classes,” says Jaden.
Sharae points out that the chance to take classes with her brother and mother and work on projects like the donation drive has special significance because of unforeseen life circumstances the family has faced together.
“I’m a thyroid cancer survivor and mom is in remission from a serious blood disease called Amyloidosis,” she explains, “so we really appreciate every minute we get to spend together.”
Jaden was the first in the family to start taking classes at VIU three years ago, after working in the construction industry for nearly a decade and briefly at a restaurant in Ladysmith.
Sharae joined him the following semester when her youngest child was in Kindergarten, and they’ve been taking classes together ever since. Both of Metis heritage, they’ve decided to pursue Aboriginal law together after graduation, Jaden next winter and Sharae in 2016.
Their mom Alana, a life-long learner herself, is delighted to be back in school with two of her four children.
She obtained her own Bachelor of Arts degree (major in History) as a mature student many years ago when her children were young, and she enrolled in VIU’s post-baccalaurate Bachelor of Education program in 2013. “Unfortunately, I had to withdraw when I was diagnosed with my illness,” she says.
Alana required 11 months of chemotherapy and Jaden was one of her main caregivers. “It was a difficult time,” he says. “I remember one night helping mom when mom was violently ill. The next day, I had to write two finals. I don’t know how, but we got through it.”
In coming months, Alana will require a kidney transplant and Sharae has been identified as a potential donor.
“I’m proud of how my kids have handled the past few years,” says Alana. “They both have young families, are full-time students keeping up excellent grades, and have helped me as caregivers. On top of all that, they stay positive, volunteer and make a difference in their community.
“Our experiences have helped us put things in perspective and have brought us closer together,” adds Alana. “We’ve learned that every moment counts.”


Photo: Left to right: The daughter, mother and son team of Sharae Antley, Alana Bourque and Jaden Bourque study together at VIU.

Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University 
P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: Twitter:@VIUNews
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VIU To Award 31 Canadian QE II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships
Vancouver Island University (VIU) will award more than $800,000 in prestigious scholarships to 31 undergraduate, graduate and international students through the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QES) program.
“I’m very pleased to announce that VIU will work in partnership with the University of Belize (UB) and community partners in Belize and in Canada, on the new Building Resilience in Coastal Communities (BRICC) project,” said Dr. Graham Pike, Dean of International Education for VIU.
VIU’s Canadian partners include Nanaimo Foundation ($20,000 financial contribution); Parksville-Qualicum Foundation ($12,000 financial contribution), Commonwealth of Learning, K’omoks First Nation and the World Leisure Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Leisure Management at VIU.
Partners in Belize include the University of Belize, Belize Institute for Local Development and the National Association of Village Councils.
With funding from the QES program, VIU will award scholarships to Canadian VIU students at the undergraduate and graduate levels so they can participate in internships or academic study for periods of three to six months in Belize. Scholarships will also be available to students from Belize to complete one of VIU’s six Master’s degree programs. Both inbound and outbound students will be selected based on the contribution of their work to strengthening the resilience of coastal communities.
VIU is among 34 Canadian universities to receive funding for the scholarships through a joint initiative of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. The QES program will contribute $499,982 toward the scholarships while VIU and its partners will provide $306,254 cash and in kind, with participating scholars providing $11,625.
“The support that we have garnered from our local Community Foundations will allow us to foster a community of practice in coastal resilience, which is critical to the wellbeing of coastal communities in Belize and on Vancouver Island,” added Dr. Pike. “Each of the partners have committed to active participation in the project, and this involvement will be integral to our success.”
Dr. Ralph Nilson, President and Vice-Chancellor, Vancouver Island University said, “Queen Elizabeth Scholars will activate a dynamic community of young global leaders who will, over the next four years, address pressing issues of critical importance to Belize, Vancouver Island, British Columbia and across the Commonwealth. They will create lasting impacts both at home and abroad through cross-cultural exchanges encompassing international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences.”
Ted Carson, Chair of the Board, Nanaimo Foundation, said,“We’re thrilled that the Nanaimo Foundation has been of service to VIU in attracting this substantial award to create this unique scholarship program. By sending young Canadians overseas to study and bringing international students to our campuses, this visionary program will help build economic and diplomatic and cultural ties that benefit all Canadians.”
Wendy Carmichael, President of the Parksville-Qualicum Community Foundation, said,  “Canada’s future is increasingly shaped by global, fast-moving interconnected forces. To understand these challenges, we need a workforce with knowledge of other countries, cultures and languages, and an ability to establish partnerships with colleagues from around the world. This project helps facilitates collaboration by bringing global perspectives, cultures and languages to our campuses. Attracting students from around the world also helps build prosperity in Canada.”
For more information, please contact Jennifer Sills, Manager, Education Abroad at VIU at 250.740.6312 or
BACKGROUNDER: Vancouver Island University (VIU) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QE II) program
VIU is among 34 Canadian universities to receive funding for the scholarships through the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships, a joint initiative of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
Research projects by VIU’s Queen Elizabeth Scholars will focus on specific themes of the new Building Resilience in Coastal Communities (BRICC) project including the capacity to foster sustainable economic activity, particularly tourism; management of water in coastal zones, including drinking water; developing and managing parks and protected areas in or near coastal communities; climate change issues; and sustainable aquatic foods and local agricultural production.
Internships, research and project work will be applied or usefully embedded in the ongoing, real-world work of credible local organizations, and linked to ongoing, established national and pan-Commonwealth initiatives. Opportunities for aboriginal students from both countries are an important element of the project.
VIU will host at least one ‘flagship’ Scholar’s event in Belize and in Canada annually, and with resources provided by Community Foundations in our region and with assistance from our Centre of Excellence and Innovation in Learning, and the support of the Commonwealth of Learning, VIU will host annual web conferences that will involve our Belizean and Canadian partners as well as the QE ll Scholars.
VIU chose to partner with the Commonwealth country of Belize because VIU’s region and Belize are facing similar challenges, circumstances and opportunities.
The University of Belize (UB), the Government of Belize, municipalities, and many non-governmental organizations are as focused on coastal resilience issues as VIU is on Vancouver Island.
Belize is English-speaking and geographically and financially accessible to Canadian students, and VIU already has a broad and active network in Belize. The University and UB partnered to deliver a major fisheries project in 1999, and the relationship has broadened to include intercultural learning experiences, exchanges and collaboration.
Over the past 15 years, VIU Geography, Forestry, Education, Biology, Tourism, Physical Education, Geology and Global Studies students have attended field schools or successfully completed valuable internships with local organizations in Belize. Two adjunct faculty in Belize fulfill a coordination and support role with students, faculty and interns.
For more information, contact Jennifer Sills, Manager, Education Abroad at VIU at 250.740.6312 or


Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: Twitter:@VIUNews
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Boat tours, high tea, cooking classes, music by the bay and public lectures focusing on the Strait of Georgia – all this and more is taking place at Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Deep Bay Marine Field Station during the annual Brant Wildlife Festival in March and April.
“We’re thrilled to be part of the fantastic line up of events for this festival which runs until April 26,” says Stephanie Richards of VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station. “Once again, we’re offering people of all ages a chance to learn about wildlife and marine science.”
The annual festival is a celebration of nature, particularly Brant geese as they rest and feed on the shores of the Parksville and Qualicum beach areas on Vancouver Island. Festival events coordinated by The Nature Trust of BC include wildlife viewing, kids nature camps, marsh walks and more. (www.brantfestival.bc)
VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station, located in Bowser about an hour’s drive north of Nanaimo, is a key research facility, public marine science centre and a popular tourism destination on Vancouver Island. This is the third year that VIU has participated in the Brant festival. 
Field Station staff will offer boat tours on March 11 and 14 to give the public a chance to view wildlife and see herring spawn in Baynes Sound. Tickets are $100 each and guests must pre-register by calling toll free 1-866-288-7878 or emailing
For kids ages six to 10, the Field Station will offer fun-filled spring break Marine Biology Camps from March 16 to 20. The cost is $55 per day or $250 for the week. A Family Day Open House (admission is free) on April 12, 10 am to 4 pm, will feature touch tanks, large public aquaria, face painting and other marine science educational activities.
The Field Station’s popular High Tea By the Sea, including a selection of teas, sandwiches and treats, will be offered Tuesdays during March and April between 11 am and 2 pm. March 17 will be a special St. Patrick’s Day Lunch while a special Easter High Tea will be served on March 31. 
Authors from the award-winning book “The Sea Among Us” will also deliver ­public lectures about the Strait of Georgia every Thursday at 7 pm from March 5 to April 30. Cost is $10 per lecture.  For an additional $15, guests can indulge in a pre-lecture themed dinner at 5:30 pm.
The opening lecture on March 5 features Dr. John Clague speaking about “How Did the Strait of Georgia Originate – The Geological Story of Our Inland Sea.” VIU Honorary Doctorate recipient Dr. Dick Beamish, a world-renowned scientist now retired from the Pacific Biological Station, will deliver a lecture on March 12 entitled “The Strait of Georgia and its Fishes.” (see for a full schedule of other lectures)
Anyone with a culinary interest may want to check out cooking classes at the Field Station during the festival: A Taste of India on March 8 and Chocolate Lovers on March 28. A Music By the Bay luncheon and concert will also take place at the Field Station on April 19, from 1 to 4 pm (tickets $40) with the A Cappella Plus Chamber Choir performing “A Buffet of Choral Music: twelve years of musical fare.”
Please note that advance tickets or pre-registration is required for all events except Family Day. Visit or call 250-740-6611 for more information.
Tickets may be purchased at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station at 370 Crome Pt. Road in Bowser, or at the Salish Sea Market in Bowser and Court Yard Café in Qualicum Beach.
The Brant Wildlife Festival is coordinated by The Nature Trust of BC. For more information, visit or call toll-free 1-866-288-7878.


Photo Caption: VIU's Deep Bay Marine Field Station is hosting several events during the annual Brant Wildlife Festival, on now until April 26. Pictured here: touch tanks teeming with sea life are a popular attraction at the Field Station. 

Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: Twitter:@VIUNews
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The official Google+ page for Vancouver Island University. Love where you learn in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Matter here.
Vancouver Island University is located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada (with regional campuses in Cowichan, Parksville and Powell River). We are located on beautiful Vancouver Island on the West coast of Canada. Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, applied research and learning, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is producing quality graduates that are in demand by employers across the country and around the world.