It’s never too late for another degree
Thirty years after Susann Camus completed her first master’s degree in English, the former Simon Fraser University staffer is about to cross the convocation dais to accept another master’s degree, this time in public health.
The New Westminster resident was working as a director of academic planning for the new Faculty of Health Sciences when she decided, in 2007, to pursue a master of public health. In the second semester of the part-time program, she won a prestigious award for best master’s paper of the year in health policy.
“The award affirmed that I could still hold my own after all these years,” says Camus, now 55.
With the new faculty requiring her to be available beyond regular work hours, Camus soon realized she couldn’t juggle her studies with a full-time job, even though the benefits included free tuition.
“I didn’t know how I was going to pay my tuition or cover my mortgage, but knew I had to do whatever it took to be able to remain in the master’s program.”
The difficult decision has paid off. Camus found part-time positions to help pay her expenses, including several research contracts with Fraser Health.
One of these, a part-time contract working with clinical programs to develop quality indicators, led to a full-time position in 2011 as the first quality-improvement consultant with Fraser Health’s National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.
At the same time, she worked on her thesis chronicling the rise and fall of the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare in B.C., 1998-2010.
Her thesis supervisor, John Calvert, a health economist and policy expert, calls the research “ground-breaking.”
“Susann’s thesis fills a major gap in the history of occupational health in B.C.,” he says. “It is the only major study that deals with this important policy initiative. Her ground-breaking research will be a standard reference for all students of B.C.’s occupational health system in the future.”
“It’s never too late to go back to school,” says Camus. “If you persevere, you can achieve your dreams.”
Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.
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