Year Graduated: 2014
Program/Degree: Educational Leadership MEd
As a lifelong Yukon citizen, I have a passion for educational issues related to Arctic and sub-Arctic communities. Previously studying in Norway, I developed an understanding for the importance of keeping local knowledge at the forefront of community capacity development. The M.Ed. program infused curriculum and leadership into this concept, resulting in further interests in pedagogical systems that are grassroots and community-based.
Please tell us why you chose the Faculty of Education at SFU for your studies.
There are two main reasons why the SFU Faculty of Education was chosen for graduate studies: I) SFU has a fantastic reputation for delivering educational programs that are geared toward empowering communities and creating strong capacity building opportunities for rural regions. I had, and continue to have, no interest in carbon-copy curriculum design geared toward duplicating "en masse" instruction. SFU breaks the mold. II) The Yukon cohort was designed to be inclusive of alternative pathways in knowledge attainment. Perspectives of marginalized persons were not only accepted, but were encouraged.
Who is a faculty member you have enjoyed working with and why?
I really appreciated my time spent with Dr. Michelle Pidgeon. She demanded more of her students and expected full engagement at all times. My supervisor, Dr. Dan Laitsch, was also very helpful. I certainly learned a lot from both of them.
What do you miss most about your graduate studies in the Faculty of Education?
My school colleagues will certainly be missed. Many friendships were formed over early morning coffees!
What would you say to prospective students who are considering graduate school in the Faculty of Education?
Just go for it. I have studied at other post-secondary institutions across Canada and the world, and SFU is a clear leader for those interested in working within academia that is progressive, humanist, and research-focused. The behind-the-scenes help at SFU is amazing, and anyone who has studied at a school that has clear delineation between administration and faculty knows how hard it can be to succeed when there isn't a strong point of contact for students.
Is there anything else you wish to share?
Upon graduation, I accepted a position as Executive Director of the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. In this position, I am responsible for overseeing numerous programs, extending from after-school tutoring to traditional knowledge projects and lands-based excursions. I credit my learning within SFU as contributing directly to the successful transition into an Executive position. A significant part of the M.Ed. program focused on supporting Indigenous ways of knowing as a means of engendering and educating local peoples, and I was able to utilize this new way of thinking as a tool in workplace achievement.