Interview with student Derek O'Neill

October 21, 2016

Interview excerpted from the BCAPA Fall Newsletter 

Why did you choose SFU's HRM MA program? 

When I first began looking seriously at graduate programs I was still living in Fort St. John and in the middle of a full-time, year round archaeology position. I was interested in further developing my research, analytical, and practical skills; however, I was concerned about taking one to two years off, the career setbacks that graduate studies may cause, and relocating to another area of the province or Canada. The HRM MA program afforded me the ability to continue working full time while studying and to study from wherever. It also offered very relevant coursework to the challenges and research within contemporary heritage management.

How has the program been thus far? 

The program is fantastic thus far. Our cohort is ten students from British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, Ontario, Wyoming, and Alaska, studying a wide variety of topics, such as traditional use studies, paleobotany, zooarchaeology, experimental archaeology, and human osteology as they relate to the practice of heritage resource management. Working in the HRM industry in BC for almost ten years, I would consider myself knowledgeable in many aspects of our industry; however, the coursework has been incredibly enlightening and engaging to problems facing heritage management on a regional, national, and global scale. The cohort is incredibly engaging through our online platforms and provides a great opportunity for debate, discussion, and discourse about ongoing topics in HRM that we debate over on a weekly basis.

I am the only student in the program who is local to Metro Vancouver and I find the graduate studies experience, alongside my normal workload, has been great. You have access to all the same resources (with the exception of scholarships) as other master's students and, if you choose to, can use your graduate degree to pursue a doctoral studies in the future. 

Photo courtesy Derek O'Neill and UNBC.