Alumni Stories

Anthropology Alumni


Carolyn SirettCarolyn Sirett, B.A./08, Dip. CCM, Dip. CRM

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am the conservator at the Manitoba Museum. My role is to ensure the long term preservation of 2.5 million artifacts and specimens that are in the Museum’s collection. As the conservator, I complete conservation treatments on artifacts in a lab where they are repaired, cleaned and prepared to go on display to the general public. My job also includes preventive conservation which entails monitoring environmental conditions in storage and displays, and creating mounts for exhibits. The most rewarding part of my career is being able to touch and handle some of the oldest, most unique historical artifacts. I love when artifacts enter the lab in a very unstable condition, such as a shattered pot, and through various treatments, I am able to bring them back to their original form. I think that being in a career that has such a small professional population is a great challenge and makes networking with colleagues in other institutions such an important aspect of the job.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Once I graduated from the University of Manitoba with my degree in anthropology, I was a little unclear as to what direction I wanted to go. I knew that I loved arts and heritage but didn’t know how a career in that field could be accomplished without pursuing further education. The University of Victoria offers a diploma in cultural resource management through distance education and there was a course called “Caring for Collections” which made me really interested in the profession. This led me to volunteer at the Manitoba Museum in the Conservation Lab, where I was introduced to a conservator who mentored me. I eventually moved to Ontario to take the collections and conservation management program at Fleming College. Six years later, I now find myself in the exact job that I had dreamed of before I went back to post-graduate studies.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

When I first went to university, I did not plan for career in conservation management. In fact, I had never even heard about it. I knew that I was interested in history and enjoyed archaeology but not necessarily being outside in the field. It wanted to be involved was after the artifacts were excavated and sent to the lab to be examined. In my current career, I would say that my cultural anthropology and archaeology courses have helped me immensely. Every day I am in contact with both human cultural objects as well as social science specimens. I have a better understanding of where the material comes from, how it was constructed and the thought process during those technological changes in history –a key component to conservation. I also work with a number of curator’s who are archaeologists and we are able to share common knowledge and experiences.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in anthropology?

Volunteer for as many opportunities related to the degree you are pursuing as possible. Volunteering for professors on research projects or even communities that are discussed in lectures can open the door to all the different career opportunities.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Again, I would have to stress the power of volunteering, especially in a career related to arts and heritage. If you invest in the time to volunteer, it gives you a great opportunity to network and meet different people in the profession. Many of my best learning experiences came from my time as a volunteer and now I am able to mentor others so that they are better prepared for their careers.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Working in a museum sometimes sounds boring and people associate it with being in a place with old stuff, but when you get to handle Canada’s oldest hockey stick, it doesn’t sound that boring anymore.

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Laura KirbysonLaura Kirbyson, BA/01, PLCGS

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a research consultant providing historical and genealogical research, including managing related databases. My time is generally spent developing research plans based on research goals, identifying likely locations for gathering relevant information, reviewing that information and collecting anything applicable to the research goals. I develop research reports that are anywhere from a couple of pages to a couple of hundred pages. Included in the process is managing the information about files identified, reviewed and items collected in a database with which the clients are comfortable.

It is very rewarding living in our country's history and finding out about the people who contributed to its growth and development. I find it fascinating to discover over and over again that regular people had a significant impact on the lives of each other and ultimately on us. The greatest challenge I find in my work is access to records. While some organizations and repositories are forthcoming and make it easy to obtain copies of records, this is not consistent across the country. The changes to accessing records at Library and Archives Canada a couple of years ago is a prime example of how difficult it can be to access, from a distance, the records that I want to review.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

When I was in my teens and my grandmother got me hooked on our family's genealogy. I enjoyed studying people and the details of their lives and I have always loved history in general. I took a couple of anthropology courses at university and, well, the rest is history (pun intended).

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Originally, I did not see myself starting a business, although entrepreneurship is the norm on both sides of my family. I honestly couldn't see how to translate my hobbies and a degree in anthropology into a career. Enough people suggested that if I did what I love to do, something would show up. I did spend some time jotting down ideas about what kinds of things I enjoy doing, as well as places I thought I'd like to work. There were enough options that I decided to stick with anthropology.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in anthropology?

I would advise anyone interested in an anthropology degree to really consider the type of work you want to do - what you want to spend your days doing. I don't think it's enough to enjoy the topic; you have to want to do the work that contributes to your industry, as well.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Don't wait until you graduate to start your career. Volunteer with organizations and get some 'on the ground' experience. It looks great on your resume, too! I'd also suggest exploring ways that your education can combine with your other passions. It is surprising to find out that seemingly unrelated paths can cross in serendipitous ways. When that happens, it's like a dream come true! Of course you usually need to work to make those things happen. In my experience, the luckiest people are the ones who work their butts off to make things happen. They make their own luck.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I learn more and more about people every single day. It turns out not much changes over the centuries.

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Sarah Jane PiercySarah Jane Piercy, B.A./99, DIP. PR

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I operate a boutique communications firm, Sarah Piercy Communications, that specializes in providing proactive and comprehensive communications services and products for companies, individuals, non-profit organizations and charities, associations, industry groups and government.

The rewards of my career are many, including flexibility and being able to work with a broad variety of clients; at current, my greatest challenge relates to capacity, as I’m operating as a sole proprietor.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Attending The University of Manitoba and pursuing a degree in Anthropology offered me many unique experiences and activities that guided my career path. However, it was not until I left graduate school, choosing to work full time, that I really developed an appreciation and clearer understanding of what I enjoyed, and excelled at, when it came to work. While in school, I had the opportunity to travel as part of my academic program and also served in a voluntary board capacity with a non-profit association that was directly linked to my studies. Both experiences stand out for providing me with exposure to functional, real world application of my learnings. Upon graduation and entry into the workforce, I took advantage of every single opportunity shared with me; and now, running my own firm, I follow the same approach and relish the variety of experiences and activities that I have the opportunity to engage in.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As a student, working for myself as a consultant was on my radar but not as an immediate goal. After over 15 years working in my field, I decided to start my own company; work has come to me and I’m flattered to work on so many different projects with so many incredible clients. Over time, I’ve maintained a commitment to thoughtful and critically reviewed research and analysis, sound outputs and outcomes, evidence based decision making and ensuring quality relationship building and community engagement. As to what changed, it was life that changed! I chose to travel, move back and forth across the country and explore opportunities. Those good, early decisions have resulted in life changing experiences that have positively shaped my career and personal life. That said, the education I received, the experiences I participated in and the constructive counsel I heard as a student have greatly shaped how my career path unfolded. I remain grateful to The University of Manitoba and the department of anthropology.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in anthropology?

University, or any kind of post-secondary education, is full of teachable moments. Besides learning the applied technical and academic components of my degree, my Bachelor of Arts degree shaped my professional career. The broader learnings I gained included how to work with others, knowing how to work towards deadlines and within budget, understanding differing points of view, respecting governance and rules and knowing why they are applied, practicing critical thinking and reasoned arguments and balancing autonomy and personal responsibility. On the academic side, I was taught the merits of research, writing, editing, oral presentation and self-awareness. A degree in anthropology is highly adaptable; ultimately it is to you to make the most of your degree, no matter the discipline.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. While it’s a certainty that workers will change jobs and/or careers many times, generally, we work for many years – so find a field you enjoy and you’ll never be bored. My job search advice for students and recent graduates is to:

  • Embrace the courage of your convictions.
  • Purchase the best quality technical tools you can afford; guard them closely.
  • Choose to be kind; make the time to volunteer, donate and or give back, in whatever manner works for you.
  • Aspire to be a life-long learner and be flexible.
  • Trust yourself, but don't be afraid to admit when you may be wrong.
  • Praise others liberally, but don't be too hard on yourself; the world will take care of that for you.
  • Don't let the drama of others become your problem – it's your life and your responsibility to manage your reactions; you cannot control how others respond. Working life is full of ups and downs, and it takes all kinds of people to make our world function.
  • Learn to appreciate the obvious and subtle differences in others and acknowledge that some will certainly know more than you.
  • And finally, know that education is an excellent investment and the dividends will appear over time, in varying forms; for some, the school and work path is linear, for others it's scenic; appreciate the journey and you'll reap the benefits.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

All these years later, I’m still fascinated by Anthropology; I use all facets of my degree every single day, including my Minor in Art History! My career path has been fulfilling and rewarding; I’m looking forward to the future.

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Chemical/Physical Sciences Alumni


Mark RiceMark Rice, B.Sc./92, Cert.(OHS)/96

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am presently a senior occupational health and safety specialist with the provincial government. My job entails crafting occupational health and safety legislation and supporting the health and safety of workers in the province in various other ways. Prior to working for the provincial government, I worked in a similar capacity in the private sector to protect the health and safety of workers as well as the environment. Being able to see how my work improves the quality of life of workers and by extension their families and the broader community is by its very nature rewarding. I find developing public policy challenging (in a positive way) because there are many competing needs and many perspectives on what things should be done by government. It feels great finding solutions that meet everyone’s needs.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

While I was an undergraduate chemistry student, I obtained a part-time job with a hazardous waste management firm. This job had a number of inherent health and safety hazards and my ‘exposure’ to chemicals is what led me to gain a keen interest in chemical health and safety.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

When I graduated with my undergraduate degree in chemistry, I didn’t feel that I was quite ready to leave the academic world. I turned to the University calendar and discovered the certificate program in occupational health and safety, which I completed. During my studies in occupational health and safety, I discovered the specialty of industrial hygiene of which chemical health and safety is a subset. I discovered that chemists, when provided with some additional training, can make excellent industrial hygienists and set this as my career goal. In the years following graduation, I worked as an industrial hygienist, safety and environmental coordinator in the private sector and actively focused on my professional development. The provincial government then hired me as their senior industrial hygienist, which for me was a dream come true. Along my professional path I became a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and through the professional chemists association, I obtained my Professional Chemist (P.Chem.) designation. After working in the public sector for some time, my interest in public administration grew and I began expanding my education in this field, which I had not predicted pursuing when I was an undergraduate student.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in chemistry?

It is helpful to recognize is that chemistry is broadly considered to be the ‘central science.’ From a practical perspective, this means that people who earn a chemistry degree can follow many different career paths. Careers can range from analytical, pharmaceutical or paint chemists to environmental or occupational health and safety professionals, to name a few.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Before searching for a job, consider your career path – what you want to do in the future. You might not get there in your first job, so pursue jobs that help you gain experience towards where you want to end up. When you do get a job, do your very best as it is the reputation you earn, the experience you gain and the service you provide that will help propel you forward.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

When I was still a junior in my career, I managed to make my way to attend an international industrial hygiene conference. This was years before I obtained my professional certification in the field. While at the conference, I attend a ‘fun run’ that was associated with the conference. Those who signed up for the fun run were put on a bus to be taken to and from the run location. Sitting next to me on the bus was a seasoned industrial hygienist who had an immense level of wisdom and technical expertise. This kind and amazing gentleman took me under his wings by mentoring me for many years until I myself reached senior professional status. As we lived in different countries and email hadn’t become a thing yet, we communicated mostly by telephone. As the saying goes, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I am forever grateful for the kind generosity of my mentor.

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Computer Science Alumni


Conrad WiebeConrad Wiebe, B.C.Sc. (Hons)/07

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a software architect in the visual effects industry. The software we develop is used worldwide by artists to create images and visual effects for some of the biggest motion pictures. I find this job very rewarding because it allows me to work on complex, multidisciplinary projects. It is very rewarding to see the direct impact our work has on our clients and to see our software used in so many motion pictures. There are many challenges in this profession. I get to work on intricate programming and design problems which present challenges on a technical level. In practice, a lot of challenges in my career are related to communication, organization, managing teams of developers, as well as collaborating with clients. These types of soft skills are an essential part of the job.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

From a young age I have been fascinated by computers and electronics, and always strived to figure out how they worked. I wrote my first video game at age 12 and started doing freelance work writing commercial websites and programs while in high school. I enjoyed it a lot, so I continued with it and my career path slowly evolved.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I did not know exactly where my career would end up. I just worked towards getting good at writing software because I knew I enjoyed it, and my career has evolved from there. I expected my career to focus primarily on writing software. Although this was the case throughout much of my career, my responsibilities now focus a lot more on leadership. This new role includes mentoring developers and designing large-scale systems rather than being intimately involved with every small detail of a project.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in computer science?

If you are passionate, or think you would enjoy a career in computer science, I would suggest you take the introduction courses for computer science or try experimenting in programming using online resources. If you find it interesting, continue on with it! Also, the industry is fairly male-dominated at the present time. I would strongly encourage women who have an interest in computer science to pursue this career. The entire field would benefit a lot from a cultural shift to help close the gender gap.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

The University of Manitoba computer science program has a Co-operative Education program. This allows students to do three industry work terms in the area of their choosing. This work experience is immensely helpful in finding a job when students enter the workforce. It also gives students the opportunity to experience different areas of the profession and find out what they like best.

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Zach KlippensteinZach Klippenstein, B.C.Sc. (Hons)/13

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am an android engineer for Square. I am currently a developer for the Square Register which is the Android point-of-sale app. Occasionally I also work on backend services and website development. I joined Square because I wanted to support people making a living by doing what they love and this is still my strongest motivator. The hardest part of my job is trying to distill a large and growing set of complex features into their simplest form without losing functionality for larger merchants. It's very rewarding to see merchants figure out creative ways to compose separate well-engineered functionality to do things that none of the developers imagined.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

My first job out of university was working on global payments infrastructure at Amazon. After a year and a half, I was fascinated with the scale of the technology but I didn't feel fulfilled in my position. I wanted to work more closely with the people who actually relied on the technology every day.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I have been interested in programming since middle school. I played with Android development for fun while I was studying at the University of Manitoba, but I never thought I would work on the platform professionally. I also never considered "payments" a field that I would identify with. Amazon was just a great opportunity to experience a new city and a technology stack bigger than anything I had worked on before. I have always been fascinated by how different systems are integrated together so, in hindsight, the highly complex payments industry is a natural fit for me.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in computer science?

Enroll in the Co-operative Education Program. Having the opportunity to see how real systems are built and how real teams work is invaluable, even if you're only planning to do computer science research. Choose a non-scientific field that interests you for your electives or minor. You can learn about esoteric APIs on the job, so take advantage of the breadth of subjects available to you while you can. If you are a white male, learn about things like hidden biases and take a gender studies course. A lot of technology culture ends up being toxic and discriminatory simply because of ignorance and I think a greater focus on humanities in engineering programs could help start to rectify that.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Again, do the Co-operative Education Program. If going for an interview makes you nervous, take an interview preparation workshop at Career Services and keep practicing your interview skills until you feel confident. Spread out your co-op work terms. It's interesting seeing how different teams work. Networking is crucial. Especially in Silicon Valley, most hiring is done through referrals. Another advantage of the doing a co-op is the large group of alumni that are more than happy to chat with you, both in and outside of Winnipeg.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

My team at Amazon was nicknamed "Beach" and as a joke we always had a collection of beach balls lying around. A few months after I started at Square, someone near my desk brought a giant beach ball and a bunch of mini ones and I still run into them on a regular basis.

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Economics Alumni


Doug TisdaleDoug Tisdale, B.A./90, M.A./02

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

My job as a regional program manager with the federal government involves implementing new and existing programs in a corporate and/or operational environment. This includes leading a team of officers and dealing with human resources issues such as performance assessment, setting individual and team objectives, developing work plans, dealing with grievances, delivering disciplinary decisions as well as recognizing excellent achievements and contributions.

Some of my greatest challenges include working through competing interests of our various stakeholders and partners and gaining consensus in order to move initiatives forward. Additional challenges are generational issues as they relate to staffing and performance expectations. Continual organizational change within the federal government and within my specific agency also makes the work very challenging. As a manger, it is my responsibility to implement organizational changes, gain the support of my personnel and deliver results to internal and external clients while ensuring good governance and stewardship.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Diverse professional opportunities that arose within the federal government were the main influences on my career path. My profession as a public servant provided me with the opportunity to branch out and experience some very different occupations. This allowed me to pursue further education and develop expertise in areas that were previously unknown to me.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As an undergraduate student I did not really know what type of career I wanted to get into so I didn't envision myself in my current career. After high school I was working full time in a science based job when I decided to pursue an education in economics. I began working for the federal government as a casual employee while still attending university.

As I was doing my graduate degree I knew I would probably stay with the federal government in some capacity, but I never envisioned working in my current department. Although my university degrees have not always been directly related to all positions I have held with the federal government, the skills and competencies I learned while attending university have definitely allowed me to succeed, especially as a regional manager with the federal government. I refer to oral and written communication skills, critical thinking, independent judgment and ethical decision making and a sound understanding of local, national and international issues.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in economics?

I would advise students to get to know their professors. Don't be afraid to approach professors with questions, problems or issues. Professors are encouraged by and interested in students who take an active interest in learning and excelling in their field. Many of these educators will become your colleagues and mentors in the future.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Don't discount any potential jobs without doing thorough research to determine exactly what is required and involved with the job. You may find a field to work in that isn't exactly what you envisioned or studied in university but the skills and competencies you developed during your studies will serve you well and open up all kinds of opportunities you never considered.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

My career path was almost entirely unplanned. I seized opportunities as they arose and I took chances by moving into unknown positions because they provided me with challenging work, allowed me participate in continuous learning and ensured that my professional life always stayed fresh and interesting. One of the reasons I've stayed with my current department is because my daughter thinks my work is pretty cool! These are some of the reasons I volunteered to participate as a career mentor.

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Neil DuboffNeil Duboff, B.A. (Hons)/79, LLB/84

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I practice law. This allows me to help my clients understand the legal system and safely and efficiently structure their lives and businesses. It is rewarding to know that I can use my experience and training to make a difference. The greatest challenge for me in the profession is when I meet lawyers who forget that the foundation of our career is helping clients.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

My first degree from the University of Manitoba was an honours degree in economics. Through my studies I became interested in development economics and social causes. My practice working with Indigenous Canadians allows me to use my development tools from economics and law to assist first Canadians grow and overcome the economic and legal burdens they have faced over centuries.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

When I was studying economics I had no plan on entering law school. When I was in law school I had no understanding how I could use my legal training to pursue my passion for social causes. What has changed for me is my passion to make Canada an economically strong and passionate country.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in law?

Speak to practicing lawyers about the work they do, the time commitment required and the stresses and benefits of being a lawyer. Try to visualize yourself being a lawyer and assess if this might be a life path you would find challenging and enjoyable.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Talk to lawyers and let them get to know you. Become more than a resumé – let the lawyers (the firm) know you as a person.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Prior to entering law I worked as a bank manager. When I went back to law school the bank started Saturday banking and I was able to work as a manager of the central bank branch for Saturdays. On these days I got to be quite close to a number of customers. A number of these people went on to become politicians and leaders in the business community. When I started practicing these contacts from the bank became close clients of mine in my law.

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Victor SayVictor Say, B.A./79, M.A./82

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a currency analyst as well as a fund manager. The most rewarding part of my job is making the right calls on the market and generating profits for clients. The most challenging part is keeping abreast of the changes to the market and timing when to get in and out of the markets.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

My late mother worked in a bank and often brought me to her office. That sort of mapped out what I wanted to do after graduation.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

My mom worked in the current accounts department of the bank so I was leaning towards that. However, after taking courses in banking and financial markets, I realized that being a foreign exchange trader was more my cup of tea. I stayed on as an foreign exchange trader for 12 years then moved into private banking.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in economics?

I believe that an economics degree has equal opportunities to an engineering or commerce degree. The degree helps you to get your foot into the door but it's your performance after that really matters.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, there were decent job opportunities, but looking for them was somewhat challenging as we did not have the internet back then. My first job was as a treasury executive in a shipping company which I took because I believed it would open the door for me when applying for a banking job. True enough, an opportunity came up seven months later and I stayed in that industry since. So my advice is to take whatever job that comes your way as it will open the door for the one that your prefer.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Initially I traveled a lot for work. I was sent to different branches throughout the world and met business leaders which helped further my career.

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Environmental Design Alumni


A. Megan TurnbullA. Megan Turnbull, B.Env. D/05, MFA

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

My career has led me to work as a freelance multidisciplinary digital media artist and filmmaker to a wide variety of clients and projects. I work as director, editor, animator and writer, depending on the project and team. I have completed projects for DAVID’s Tea, Banfield Marketing and Communications Agency, the National Film Board of Canada, Place d’Orleans Mall, the National Arts Centre of Canada, the Canadian embassy in Vienna and various musicians. I really enjoy the challenge of telling people’s stories and relaying their message in a visually compelling manner. You can view my portfolio at www.ameganturbull.com.

I am currently working at the Canadian embassy in Vienna in a marketing and communications position. The rest of my week I dedicate to client work and artistic endeavours. I find it is challenging finding work here as my German is not at a very high level yet.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

After completing the environmental design program,I worked on residential projects in Winnipeg and the Whiteshell, but I wanted an adventure so I applied for landscape designer positions in Hong Kong and moved there in 2007 to work for Urbis International. While in Hong Kong, I worked predominantly on a project in Dubai, which I found to be disenchanting in its disregard for sustainable design. I did, however, discover that I enjoyed presentation methods and conveying design stories to clients, so I decided to return to school to study digital multimedia technology, with a focus on video and animation. After completing my studies, I moved to Ottawa and worked with Banfield Marketing and Communications Agency, while also working on my own films and other client work. This was a very rewarding and busy time. So busy, in fact, that I had to choose whether to focus on commercial or artistic projects. I decided to focus on my artistic filmmaking and take a hiatus from commercial work, so I returned to school once again to take the Master in Fine Arts program at Concordia University. While there, I was able to work as a sessional instructor while pursuing my studies. After completing my course work, I moved to Vienna to work on my thesis.

As far as activities that helped me to map out my career path, I would have to admit that many of my opportunities arose out of applying for things and waiting to see what I would get. Being friendly, enthusiastic and resourceful is also quite important if you move around as much as I have, because it helps build a community and support structure that is important if you predominantly work for yourself. And of course, saying “yes” to projects and opportunities, even when they seemed daunting or intimidating, has really shaped my career.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As a student I did see myself in a similar career to my current position. I always knew I wanted to do something studio based and working directly with clients. The medium seems to have changed many times, from landscape architecture, to advertising, motion graphics and short films, but the work dynamic and creative environment has remained the same.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in environmental design?

Go for it. Be prepared to work your butt off!

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

  1. Apply for jobs you may not even think you have a chance at getting. The more you apply for, the more opportunities you will have and the more experience you will gain, which allows you to be more selective about the work you do.
  2. Don’t believe everything you hear about “finding your calling” or “having your dream job.” In the end, you are paid to do a job because it is a job, not a dream. All you can do is your best and try to do work that you’re proud of so that it leads to similar opportunities.
  3. Be nice to people.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

My career path wasn’t direct or straight. I envied the people who knew what they want to be right out of high school. My own path was much more meandering, which has provided me with a lot of interesting experiences. Sometimes not having a clear path can be a good thing because you try so many things along the way.

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Nigel GrammerNigel Grammer, B.Env. D./08

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I work as an estimator and project manager for a general contractor in Kenora. We work on a wide variety of projects ranging from houses and elaborate cottages on the lake to post-secondary education facilities. I take drawing sets provided by designers (architects, landscape architects, interior designers, etc.) and calculate what the cost to build the project would be. This is often done in a competitive bid environment where multiple companies submit an estimated cost for each project and the lowest bid tends to be awarded the contract. Once awarded a job, my role moves into a project management position where I oversee all aspects of the project with the intention of finishing the project within budget and on time.

The most rewarding part of my job is helping the build team take the various materials and work together to create what had previously only existed as ink on paper.

The biggest challenges with this position are dealing with any unforeseen hurdles that can crop up during the course of a project, or dealing with vague or inaccurate drawings that cause the initial estimating process to be less reliable than it should be.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands and pursued an apprenticeship in carpentry after graduation with the intention of finding a way to build my own designs. While working as a carpenter, my familiarity with plans led to opportunities in the office during times of bad weather doing estimating work for upcoming projects. This experience led to work with other firms estimating projects in a competitive bid environment. Successful bids lead to projects requiring office support which is where the project management side of my career began.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Not at first. In the beginning I was enamored with the design process, and in many ways, I still am. But as time passed I became increasingly aware that my preferences and skill set were more in line with a practical and tangible role in the physical creation of a structure.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in environmental design?

Realize that being an architect, city planner or interior designer is not the only possible outcome from this degree. The built environment is acted upon in many ways at many scales and the understanding gained in this program can be beneficial for a remarkably diverse array of employment opportunities.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Know your strengths and work towards a role you will find fulfilling. Don’t be too proud to take entry level positions- Hard work and demonstrated ability will lead to opportunities.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I actually intended to avoid architecture as a profession entirely after graduating from the program. However, the interest that led me into the program in the first place, and the knowledge and skills gained through its completion eventually led me to where I am today - which involves near daily interactions with architects and designers.

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Nils Kristian VikNils Kristian Vik, B.Env.D/09

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am the owner of a specialty coffee shop in the heart of Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District which opened in 2011. Fast forward 5 years––I extended the insights and experiences I learned through operating Parlour Coffee to help open a second café, Little Sister Coffee Maker, and begin operating a wholesale roasting operation called Dogwood Coffee Canada Ltd. I am in charge of general oversight of these businesses and take on special projects to push them forward but also to help carve a unique niche.

The most rewarding experience of operating my own business is creating and fostering new relationships. The greatest challenge within this profession is maintaining a particular level of quality and attention to detail that I am personally proud of whilst meeting the needs and expectations of clients.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

The experience that introduced me to the idea of opening a café with a particular sense of identity was a studio trip in the final year of my undergraduate studies. I believe that the environmental design program helped foster a passion for thoughtful details and practices. Through this lens, I was able to re-approach my entrepreneurial habits.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I definitely did not see myself being in the coffee business while I was a student––I didn’t even drink coffee until my final year. I thing that changed for me was that I wanted to see my ideas and plans realized rather immediately versus sitting on paper for some time. One thing that didn’t change was my enjoyment of planning and executing minor details.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in Environmental Design?

I would suggest throwing yourself completely into your studies and being open to the outcome. I was never set on having a particular career, but I was interested in soaking in as much information and experience as possible. Also, I would highly discourage ever pulling an “all-nighter”. I always slept, at least a few hours, every night and my studies never suffered.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

If you don’t see the job you want, make your own work. Self starters always win.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I got Samuel L Jackson’s autograph. Other than that, I basically changed careers a few months after receiving the Rado Design Award for the Best New Protoype at IDS11 in Toronto while working for EQ3.

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French Alumni


Joan PadgettJoan Padgett, B.A./86, M.A./92

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I’ve worked as an editor and instructional designer for various companies for over 15 years. As an editor of art museum publications I edit scholarly essays written by curators and art historians for books that accompany exhibitions at galleries across Canada. As an instructional designer, I design and write training curriculum to teach adult learners specific skills and specialize in e-learning delivery: online self-study, webinars and virtual classroom.

What I find rewarding about editing is playing a part in shaping a writer’s work to enhance the author’s voice and make the content clear, accurate, engaging and meaningful to the reader. With instructional design I enjoy the dual aspects of analysis and creativity: I have to analyze both employer and learner needs; I have to write content that meets those needs and make it engaging and interesting; and I have to use graphic design skills to make the content visually appealing and to make abstract ideas more concrete.

The greatest challenges with both jobs usually revolve around deadlines. Content may get to me days or weeks after I’m expecting to receive it, but printing deadlines or overall project deadlines usually stay the same. I need to be able to work well under pressure and to not expect that any given day or week will flow the way I want or expect it to.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

The tips below helped me to map out my career path, but they are general in nature and will be useful regardless of your career choice:

  1. Be willing to try new things and take on new challenges, even if they seem daunting at first and you’re not sure you can do it. Of course you can do it! And if you get stuck, ask for help.
  2. Take responsibility for your actions: admit to mistakes, show up for work on time and meet deadlines to build trust and respect.
  3. Take time to self-reflect and acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses. Work at building on the former and minimizing the attitudes and behaviours that may be holding you back in your career.
  4. Remember that no one owes you a job and that few of us are in positions so specialized that we can’t be replaced. To be successful in your career, arrogance and complacency are not your friends.
  5. Be a lifelong learner. After you graduate, your education doesn’t stop. Take workshops, seminars, or certificate programs. The workplace is constantly evolving and if you don’t evolve with it and keep up with new technologies and methodologies, not only will your career options be more limited, you could lose your job and find it difficult to land a new one.
  6. Be a team player and an employee others like to work with. It’s far more likely that co-workers and employers will make an effort to help you further your career goals and give you good references if you make their jobs easier because you don’t create workplace conflict.
  7. Build a network of contacts within your profession. Those contacts will tell you about job openings and will expose you to new people who may be able to help you later in your career.
  8. Be true to yourself and your needs. It was important to me to work part-time when our son was younger because we wanted to have a work-life balance at home. I was working part-time when I applied for the technical editor position with the software company and it was advertised as full-time. During my second interview I said that I wanted to work part-time, and they still hired me, which leads me to the next point, below.
  9. Work hard and honour the trust your employer has placed in you. As my manager said to me at my six-month review, “Joan, you do in three days what a lot of the staff here does in five.” Few things help your career more than doing excellent work consistently.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

No, when I was in school I didn’t see myself being an editor or an instructional designer. I thought that I’d become an academic and teach at a university, so I had to do my Master of Arts degree first, then a PhD. Working on my masters made me realize that I didn’t want to spend my life researching and writing papers and books on a narrow field (literary criticism) that would be of interest and value to so few people. So my plan to become an academic changed, but what stayed the same was my understanding that my career would revolve around my analytical and language and writing abilities.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in French?

Like completing a degree in English, completing a degree in French literature is a gateway to career opportunities in communications and education fields. A French degree doesn’t mean you have to work solely in that language, or train later to become a teacher or translator. I find that those who learn another language have a far better understanding of grammar and syntax than those who speak only one language. My study of French literature definitely helped shape the skills I use now as an editor and writer of English content, from correcting grammar errors to reorganizing text to make content more logical and easier to understand.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

It’s rare for people to find an ideal job upon graduation, especially in the arts and humanities, so my advice is to avoid thinking that certain jobs are beneath you. Every job is a growth opportunity because you’ll learn what you do like to do and don’t like to do and what you’re good at and not good at.

If you’re in a job that doesn’t make use of all your talents and abilities, take control and create opportunities that can make use of other skills you want to develop. For example, in one of my first jobs after getting my masters degree, I asked if I could revamp the design of a newsletter and write all the content, and my employer said yes. My motto is, “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” The worst that can happen is someone tells you no and then you move on.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

After my first year in my masters program, I applied for a program where I could teach English in a French high school. I got to teach in the city of Nantes in the Brittany/Loire region and in addition to travelling in that area, I also made several trips to Paris, as well as trips to the south of France and Spain. I lived in an apartment with two Germans and an Australian and met lots of great people. It was a fantastic experience, although it did confirm for me that I didn’t want to be a school teacher!

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General Science Alumni


Ashley ToltonAshley Tolton, B.Sc./04, PBDipEd/08

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I have been an academic advisor at the University of Manitoba for 10 years. I currently work in the Faculty of Science. Daily, I interact with students helping them to facilitate making connections between their career goals and academic plans; helping them get where they want to go. Sometimes this is developing course plans at other times it is looking at alternate options or supporting a student with resources in times of stress or academic difficulty. University is an exciting time of change and growth for students and it is rewarding to see students learn and grow as they navigate their future by developing and gaining practical skills and experiences.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

My degree was one step in the direction of my current job. When I was a student I had the opportunity to volunteer on and off campus. It was these experiences and contacts that allowed me to take the skills I learned in the classroom and apply them to real life career settings, opening doors for job opportunities.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

No, I don't think I was even aware that academic advising was a career option. As an advisor now, I see students looking for career options with limited knowledge of pathways available to them and how to get there. Resources like career compass are a great way for students to get to know themselves and the careers out there to help make informed decisions.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in general science?

The Bachelor of Science general degree offers students a breadth of science knowledge and I would encourage students to take opportunities both in and outside the classroom to enhance their university experience; volunteer, talk to your professors, join a student group, find a cause close to your heart and support it, ask questions and get to know yourself. These experiences will only add to your classroom learning and link classroom learning to real life.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Embrace planned happenstance; you don't know where connections you make and experiences you have in and outside the classroom will lead you!

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

As a summer student I was able to work in a lab with honey bees. Testing bees for various diseases and mites has given me a lifelong appreciation of the little pollinators!

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German and Slavic Studies Alumni


Andrea KampenAndrea Kampen, B.A./12, MLIS

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I currently work in the Library Archives and Information Management field. I am drawn to this field because I enjoy connecting people to the information they are looking for. Whether it is a book to read for leisure, a relative’s records in an archive or connecting a researcher to articles published in their subject, it is incredibly rewarding to use search skills to empower people in their learning. I enjoy considering the challenging questions surrounding the topics of information access, privacy and articulating the importance of libraries and memory institutions.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

During a project in my undergraduate degree I was tasked with finding a review of a film from the 1930’s. I visited the mircofilm section of the library and had the most incredible librarian help me find my resources. During this experience I realized that the hunt for information could be a career. Information can be conveyed through so many different ways - image, text, audio -and having a second language can impact how the content of the various mediums is perceived. My undergraduate degree in German prepared me to think critically and creatively and gave me an opportunity to develop my soft skills in a supportive and challenging environment.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I decided early in my undergraduate degree that I wanted to pursue a Master in Library and Information studies. This program doesn’t require a specific undergraduate degree, which allowed me to focus my undergraduate experience to prepare me for further education and career.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in german and slavic studies?

I would encourage people to think beyond the work/travel or literary opportunities that the German program can offer. Getting a degree in another language can impact how you understand the world around you and can increase sensitivity to other cultures but also help you gain access to information that may otherwise have been imperceptible.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Build relationships and do not discard opportunities that may not seem to directly fit into where you think you’re going. Down the road that professor or peer you connected with may have the connection to bring you closer to your goal. The job market is difficult and thinking creatively about how the skills you learn in your undergrad can be applied is going to make you a strong scholar and employee.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

A fun fact is that I have no idea where I’m headed next!

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Kristin YaworskiKristin Yaworski, B.A. (Hons)/14

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am currently employed by the University of Waterloo, where I am also pursuing a Master of Arts in Intercultural German Studies. My job is to assist those in the German department with various tasks, such as grading assignments, monitoring online language courses and collecting and organizing data for the department’s website. What I find most rewarding about this job is the opportunity to use and improve my German language skills. The greatest challenge is assisting others with their language learning—at times multiple teaching strategies must be employed in order for a student to have an “aha” moment.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I grew up in an area of Winnipeg where many individuals speak German or have German ancestry. This led to me attending a German bilingual program throughout most of my younger years. However, it wasn’t until I enrolled in German language courses at the university level that I began to develop a passion for the language itself, as well as the culture. I began to recognize the doors that knowing another language would open for me. I no longer imagined having career opportunities in Canada but also in Germany. I talked to the head of the department about what I needed to do to improve my language usage, attend university in Germany and continue on in academia. I am incredibly grateful that I was indeed given the advice I needed to do all these things.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I always knew that I wanted to work within the realm of academia and education. However, as I continue my studies, I find that I am constantly contemplating new careers and areas of study to pursue.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in german and slavic studies?

If you have even an inkling of interest in German language, culture or history, do not hesitate to pursue this degree. The skills and knowledge that you will acquire during your studies will prove invaluable to you, not only in your career, but also in your day-to-day life. I have learned to think critically, communicate effectively and expanded my intercultural competence. Also, reach out to faculty members in the department and engage them in a meaningful conversation about what you hope to accomplish in your studies, academically or professionally. Their knowledge can prove invaluable to pointing you in the direction you want to go.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Be flexible and take chances. Consider taking a job that requires you to relocate to a different neighbourhood, province or country. Moreover, apply to jobs that may be slightly outside of what you might deem to be your skill set. The challenges presented in these situations will only prove to be meaningful learning experiences.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

As a result of my studies, I’ve managed to spend a considerable amount of time living and studying in Germany. Fully immersing myself in the culture there made me question a number of the beliefs I held about myself and my identity as a Canadian. It became clear to me, during this time spent abroad, that my future life and career plans could involve living outside of Canada—a somewhat frightening but thrilling thought.

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Global Political Economy


Anna LevinAnna Levin, B.A./09

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a community food facilitator at Food Matters Manitoba. As a charitable organization, we work towards ensuring good food for all Manitobans. There are many parts of our city and province where there are barriers keeping people from eating well. My job encompasses a wide range of things that aim to address those barriers, from running direct programming in communities (like kids cooking classes or gardening workshops) to behind the scenes support for community members who are running their own projects (such as helping with evaluation or sourcing funds and materials). I work in the city of Winnipeg and travel to Cross Lake and Fox Lake in northern Manitoba to support projects in those communities.

The most rewarding part of my job is the connections and relationships I've built. It's amazing to work with kids and see them develop the skills and confidence to be able to prepare a meal. I have also met some really incredible people on my trips up north and have learned so much from them. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing a project come together and witnessing the impact that it has. On the other hand, one of the big challenges of the job is how hard it can sometimes be to get a project started. Another challenge in my profession is lack of job security. Every project is dependent on funding and it can be stressful living from contract to contract.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I was always passionate about social justice and world issues and always wanted a career related to that. After high school, I took a year off and travelled to Mexico and Central America. Seeing the disparity in different parts of the world had a lasting impact on me. It solidified my desire to pursue a career where I could help make positive changes in people's lives.

In university, I explored a couple of professional programs, but neither of them felt like the right fit. I was drawn to the global political economy program because it is so broad and combines different subjects. Writing my major research paper on community economic development was when I knew for sure that I wanted to work in the field of community development.

Another impactful experience in university was getting involved with the student garden. It was my first experience with gardening and I made some strong connections with students from other fields such as city planning and agriculture. I gained an understanding of food issues from a lot of different perspectives and also the tremendous power of food as a community building tool.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As I already mentioned, I have always wanted to make a positive difference in people's lives and that idea stayed with me throughout my education and career, but how I go about doing it has changed. I started university thinking I wanted to be a nurse, then switched to engineering after one term and then decided that wasn't for me either. The next year I went into the GPE program because I liked the idea of keeping my options open by learning about a wide variety of subjects. I also liked the 'global' aspect of the degree because I thought that I might like to work in international development or international affairs.

By the end of my degree, I had less interest in working overseas, having learned so much about the issues and interesting initiatives going on here at home. My interest shifted to food as a community building tool, and that's how I ended up where I am now. So while I am still in the field of community development, and still working to help make positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities, the way that I'm interested in doing that has definitely changed over time.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in global political economy?

In retrospect, I definitely wish I had complemented the degree with more practical experiences. I think having had summer jobs in a related field or even volunteering would have helped a lot when I was looking for work after graduation. It would've helped in terms of having experience on my resumé, but also in terms of having connections in the small non-profit community. It also might have helped with the shock of landing in a 'real life' community development role if I had been exposed to some of the challenges that come with the work before hand, rather than just the theory. So, my advice would be to try to think about what it is you're interested in doing and find some ways to get involved in that work early on.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Keep an open mind and look for opportunities in unexpected places. I applied for every job I could find that was even slightly related to what I wanted to be doing. My first job was working at the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg and I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to find a more degree-related job. But I saw how the Boys and Girls Club job could be a bridge to that kind of job, drawing on the experience I did have, but also giving me a chance to develop a lot of new skills, so I took it even though it wasn't my first choice. And I ended up loving it and staying with the agency for 3 years, growing into a more challenging position that was even closer to what I wanted to be doing. It was an incredible learning experience that totally changed my perspective on a lot of things. So - you never know what surprising jobs may turn into great opportunities.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

The scariest (career) choice I ever made was quitting my full time, permanent job with benefits at the Boys and Girls Club for a 3 month contract with a tiny little food related organization called Fruit Share. Nobody could understand why I did it! But that was how I made the leap from the world of youth work to the world of food security work, and it paid off in the end. A year later, when I applied for my current job at Food Matters Manitoba, it was my experience at Fruit Share that put me in the running for that position. So I don't think I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for that risk.

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David Cavett-GoodwinDavid Cavett-Goodwin, B.A./06, M.A./08

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a senior policy analyst with the Department of Labour, Government of Alberta. I lead a team that supports the development of a labour market information and intelligence (LMI2) system to help government, industry and public make more informed decisions about labour market policy/programming, workforce planning and possible careers.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Moving between the private, non-profit and public sectors gave me exposure to the many different kinds of people working in these roles, ideas, functions and priorities.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I imagined myself in a role that was able to make systemic change, of which government was certainly one of them. But over time I realized how difficult that can be on such a large societal-scale. Government is such a large organization requiring so much input from various stakeholders, with many competing demands.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in global political economy?

The global political economy program will expose you to a world of alternative viewpoints that will allow you to think critically about social, economic and environmental issues. Sometimes, it can feel like you are being pulled in multiple directions. Your broad-perspective may run counter to more specific academic fields but these are good learning opportunities to deepen your knowledge and expand theirs. Approach this strategically. Complex world problems require schools of thought that encourage complex thinking and problem solving.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Continue to develop specific skills for the marketplace beyond just reading and writing such as data analytics, project planning/management and web management. Develop your ‘brand’ as a specialist in XYZ. Broad, generalist knowledge is good and useful for big-picture thinking, but employers still require certain specializations. Having both would position you well for competitions. There are a lot of candidates with Bachelor of Arts degrees in the marketplace; learn what value-added you bring that makes you different from the others.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

One day I was running around downtown Ottawa and I nearly ran into Jack Layton, former NDP federal leader. It felt strange to see a popular figure in real-life; always be in the present moment to appreciate where your life is going.

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Kelly TeixeiraKelly Teixeira, B.A./06, MPR

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a university advisor at St. John's-Ravenscourt School, an independent university preparatory school in Winnipeg. I advise high school students about university admission requirements, provide assistance with applications for scholarships and post-secondary education, and help students with first year course selection. I also act as the primary liaison between St. John’s-Ravenscourt and post-secondary institutions. People often mistakenly believe I am a guidance counsellor. However, I do not offer counselling or career guidance, as we have trained professionals in that area. My role is more of a systems and policy translator.

The most rewarding part of my job is helping students with their decision making. I have the opportunity to support students as they make their own choices. I also love the challenge of learning various policies and procedures, researching the differences between programs and figuring out the unspoken elements to programs and institutions. The most challenging part of my role is working within a high school setting but dealing uniquely with the post-secondary landscape. What matters to one group, is not the same for the other.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I’ve had a number of experiences that have really helped me get to where I am today. Each one has shown me that I possess different skills and at the same time, gave me the opportunity to realize what I do and do not want in a career. Too often, people only speak about finding out the things you like to do - I firmly believe that both are equally as important.

I originally wanted to go into athletic therapy. However, after taking first year biology I quickly realized that biology and I we were not friends. I went to a see a University 1 advisor to get information about supports, tutors or anything that could help me improve. The advisor proceeded to ask me an important question: "why?" I completely credit him with helping me to realize that if you don't enjoy the journey, you most likely aren’t going to enjoy the destination. He was the one that told me about the global political economy program. He made the connection that all the courses I chose as electives, and had done very well in, were actually program requirements.

While completing undergrad program, I was fortunate to be employed on campus. I quickly realized that I needed to work with people. I also knew I wanted to travel and was not ready to settle down. I secured a job with as a student recruitment officer at the University of Manitoba. It was here that I really began to figure out what I liked to do, not just what I enjoyed learning about. This job gave me the opportunity to travel and promote something that I believed in.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I absolutely did not see myself in my current job. When I think back through all the careers I considered (athletic therapy, law, policy analysis, international relations, communications and marketing) I can see why they were at one time or another, a possibility. The reasons for considering them are still the same; the thing that has changed is I now realize what I don't like about each discipline. My current job that allows me to combine all the things I liked about each of those career options. I enjoy working with people and being active; I like doing research and comparing similar/different policies, process and procedures; I adore traveling and meeting with different people from different countries, backgrounds, languages; and I enjoy communicating with people, developing marketing strategies and helping people create their public image. That said, ultimately I really value being able to help and provide a service to others.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in global political economy?

  1. Be prepared to read and write, a lot.
  2. Stay up date on current global and national affairs.
  3. Choose electives from areas outside of the program departments. Global political economy is all about exploring issues from various perspectives and learning how they impact one another.
  4. Try to gain international experience during your degree. People will automatically assume due to the name of the program that you will have had international experience.
  5. Find a group of peers to connect with. You will be sitting in many classes comprised of people who are not in the global political economy program and are, therefore, limited in their perspectives. Once you get to know people other people in your program, you will start to find them in other classes.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Be open but selective. You need to be open to different experiences because everything you do will help you in the future. It may serve as perspective or it may only help you identify what you do not enjoy doing. Most likely, you will not be applying for positions that request a global political economy degree. Therefore, you need to be prepared to apply your skills within various settings and for different purposes. This interdisciplinary degree is such an amazing opportunity. Life is interdisciplinary, it is not rigidly placed in one department and this degree offers you the chance to expand your critical thinking skills, not only for academic purposes but for your work activities as well.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

During my undergraduate degree, I was accepted to go on a university exchange program through St. Paul’s College and the Faculty of Arts. This opportunity took me to San Luis Potosi, Mexico where I took human rights Law, Spanish and political and anthropology courses all taught in Spanish. I did research on how environmental impacts can directly affect our human rights and worked as an intern with the State Commission for Human Rights. This was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I had been to Mexico many times before, however, having the opportunity to actually see different professions at work in another culture was incredible; seeing the behind the scenes reality of human rights in another country was shocking.

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History


Kevin OliverKevin Oliver, B.A./13, B.Ed./15

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am the student life coordinator at the University of Manitoba. My primary role is the management and promotion of the University of Manitoba Co-Curricular Record and UMCommunityLINK, an interactive online portal for finding co-curricular opportunities. I also play an integral role in communications with students, event planning and our mentorship program.

What I find most rewarding is helping students find ways to get involved with our campus community. The greatest challenge is reaching students that are unaware of the many benefits of getting involved on campus.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Being involved on campus through Bison Athletics led me to other opportunities such as volunteering and student councils. Realizing that these involvements were large contributors to my personal and professional development, I wanted to position myself in a way that I could help others on their educational journey. This led to pursue an education degree and a full-time job working with post-secondary students.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Midway through my Bachelor of Arts, I knew I wanted to be an educator. I didn’t realize that I would be putting my skills to use in a post-secondary institution for non-academic learning opportunities through the Co-Curricular Record.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in history?

Regardless of your academic focus, consider getting involved in a meaningful way throughout your degree through any of the many opportunities available to you so that you develop a wide range of soft skills (communication, problem-solving, teamwork, etc.) that are most sought after by employers.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Cast a wide net. It’s amazing how many ways you can make use of the degree you have achieved.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I am a recent grad and therefore I’ve only been traveling down my ‘career path’ for about a year.

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Human Geography Alumni


Michael CrockattMichael Crockatt, B.A./96, M.A./00

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am president and chief executive officer of Ottawa Tourism, which is the destination marketing organization for Canada's capital. We are a team of 34 sales and marketing professionals tasked with promoting visitation to Ottawa. As a relatively new president and CEO, every day is a learning opportunity. I enjoy the challenge of balancing the needs of numerous stakeholders. The most rewarding aspect of this position is that our team is actively and measurably contributing to economic development in our community, and it is achieved through strong alignment with our partners.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I was fortunate to have worked with bosses that allowed me to have experiences and involvement outside the day-to-day responsibilities of my job. I regularly volunteered for projects, for community related initiatives and for involvement in business and industry groups.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

The short answer is no, I did not see myself in this type of position, especially at the beginning of my academic career. I learned quickly that I was much better off pursuing academic courses in which I had a personal interest. Through the rest of my undergraduate degree in human geography and then my master's program in geography, a career in transportation became a clear path for me. I pursued that path for over 15 years with the University of Manitoba Transport Institute, the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

Throughout my career, I became more and more involved in the tourism sector (as it is closely related to the aviation sector). In 2015, I left the airport world and joined an aviation, transportation and tourism consulting firm, which gave me new experiences and deepened my involvement in tourism. When this position with Ottawa Tourism became available, I knew I had to go for it and I have now made the transition from aviation to tourism.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in human geography?

Go in with your eyes open for new opportunities, new experiences and new people that will help guide your career decisions. Any early career success I had was assisted by the connections I made in my academic career.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

It is never too early to start developing a network. Take every chance you get to interact with people who are already working in your field.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Travel and transportation is in my blood. My father and both of my grandfathers worked in the transportation industry.

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Human Nutritional Sciences Alumni


Carolyn SaxtonCarolyn Saxton, B.Sc. HNS/05

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a quality control manager at McCain Foods in Othello, WA. I oversee the overall microbiological, food safety and product quality of over 180 different frozen potato products and approximately 450 million pounds of product per year, including major product brands such as McDonalds, KFC and Burger King. I manage a staff of 36 individuals and operate a yearly budge t exceeding $550,000.

One of the most rewarding parts of my jobs is the knowledge that millions of consumers are enjoying safe food products every day. One of the greatest challenges in my position is continually dealing with the unknown. For example, potato processing involves the handling of live raw material every day and each day encompasses a new challenge. Another challenge is understanding the product needs and requirements of a wide variety of customers. We sell products to 40 different countries throughout the world and each country has different cultures and expectations. My goal as a quality control manager is satisfying the quality and food safety expectations of each and every customer we supply.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I met with academic advisors who helped me to get a better understanding of the different options within the human nutritional sciences degree and what type of positions are available through each stream.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

No, I did not. I started down the path of human nutritional sciences expecting to graduate and become a dietitian. Once I realized that the positions in dietetics were somewhat limited, I started exploring the foods side of the degree as opposed to nutrition. After sitting down with an academic advisor and getting a better understanding of the degree options and range of career options, I switched my major over from nutrition to foods.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in human nutritional sciences?

Understand what careers and different opportunities are available to you after you graduate. Don't wait until you have completed your degree to understand what you can do with your degree. Apply for summer positions at the employers of your choice. In my experience, many employers do not advertise summer positions, internships, and/or co-op programs, but if you reach out to them directly and express your desire to be a permanent part of their team, many are willing to give you opportunities.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Be open to possibilities. More often than not, the job you end up in isn't necessarily the position that you had in mind upon graduating. If you are open to different possibilities you may find yourself going down a career path that you never expected, like making French fries!

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

For a field trip in one of my courses we went to the Food Development Center (FDC) in Portage La Prairie. While walking into the FDC, I looked over at the McCain manufacturing facility which is directly across the street and thought to myself 'maybe we'll be lucky enough to get a job there one day'. As luck would have it, I started my first job at the McCain facility in Carberry, Manitoba and two years later was promoted to the quality manager position.

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Chelsea SzachuryChelsea Szachury, B.Sc. HNS/15

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am the founder of The Bar Lady. We provide chocolate bars that are compliant with many dietary restrictions (dairy, soy and preservative free, gluten friendly, etc.). I am also the education coordinator for Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op. I work in the Northwestern Ontario region to promote nutrition and food literacy through many different educational outlets. Partnering with teachers, we develop ways to intertwine food and nutrition into the education curriculum. The most rewarding part of my job is providing students with the tools to make more knowledgeable food choices by helping them understand the food system and the role nutrition plays in healthy living.

The most challenging part of my career is the 'time poverty' when it comes to educating. There is so much information that can be passed on and there are simply not enough hours in the day for one person to teach a community. There needs to be more of us. With more nutritional professionals working towards food literacy, communities will find a happier and healthier population.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Unlike many human nutritional sciences students, I did not volunteer at hospitals or health clinics. This is a great option if you are interested in working in the healthcare sector but I knew that I wanted to start my own business so I focused on networking with local entrepreneurs who have been successful in the health and business fields.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I knew I wanted a career in nutritional sciences, however, I did take courses from other faculties such as business, agriculture and English. I became extremely interested in both business and nutrition which led me to find a happy medium between the two by starting a nutrition-related business. The Bar Lady currently has a line of 10 different products and distributors throughout Ontario and Manitoba.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in human nutritional sciences?

With appropriate and educated application, nutrition can be an extremely influential part of one's life through their entire lifecycle. Nutrition can nourish premature babies, provide stunted youth with the tools their growing body requires to thrive, support a mother through pregnancy and breastfeeding and is also a key component in the management of chronic diseases. If you find the influence in which nutrition has on one's quality of life fascinating, then this degree may be exactly what will lead you into a fulfilling life career.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Expand outside your comfort zone with jobs and location. My job responsibilities are very wide and diverse because of the small population I work with. I have had many different experiences due to the fact that I live in a small rural city. I operate a greenhouse, teach students of all grade levels and work daily with farmers to develop more sustainable economic and agricultural ways for our region. If you want to try your hand at many different opportunities, I would suggest broadening your job search. Find out what you really like to do; it may be quite different than what you thought you would like to do.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

My entire job is fun! The diversity definitely keeps it interesting. My chocolate bar business brings a lot of joy to my career; who doesn't like making chocolate? Aside from chocolateering, I find the most fun in working with the community. Hearing stories from the farmers who have grown up on their fourth generation heritage farm, seeing the children smile as they transplant the seedlings that they've raised themselves and knowing that I've made a difference in a community are heartwarming and fun at the same time. Life is about learning. Learning is about life experiences. What fun is life if it doesn't include food?

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Jorie JanzenJorie Janzen, B.H. Ecol./02

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

As a registered dietitian working in sport nutrition I wear several hats. I work full time as the director of sport dietetics at the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba (CSCM). At the CSCM I work with an integrated support team consisting of an exercise physiologist, strength and conditioning coaches, a sport psychologist, athlete services manager, the communications and marketing coordinator and the general manager of the centre. Together we provide services to National, Olympic and Paralympic level athletes in Manitoba. I also keep a small private practice on the side, which includes sports nutrition for health and performance, as well I work with individuals, athletes and teams and corporations. I have provided services from the grass roots level up to the NHL level in sport. I also provide services to those with eating disorders who either just completed the eating disorder program or are waiting to get into the program. I provide mentorship for students who are interested in a career in sport nutrition. For past 13 years, I have been providing opportunities for nutrition students, recent grads, dietetic interns and dietitians to both observe and get hands-on experience in working in sport nutrition.

My job is not 8 to 4 or 9 to 5, nor is it Monday to Friday. If you want to work in sport you have to be both flexible with and protective of your time. This has been and continues to be a challenge for me. Coaches and athletes are not always available during normal working hours. Or, they need to discuss issues and concerns before they can move on with their work. This can mean calls, texts, emails, face time/Skype meetings late into the evening, beyond your already full workday. It is exactly this that I do find rewarding and challenging at the same time. I absolutely love what I do (most days!) and love knowing that those I work with know they can count on me when they need me. And at the same time, drawing the line as to when to shut things down so that I can recover and be my best can be a hard thing to do.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

When I first started at the University of Manitoba I had no idea what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. I thought that teaching would be great. I was also really interested in the social sciences but I just couldn't commit to either area. I went to Career Services for assistance and what showed up was the field of nutrition. The defining moment that lead me to where I am today was a course in the nutrition program that required us to conduct an interview with a dietitian working in the area we were interested in. I assumed that had to be diabetes or the elderly as these were major topics in the course work. However, my schedule could not line up with the dietitians I tried to connect with. One day, out of desperation to get my assignment done, I flipped through the Yellow Pages (that was a business phone book we used before the internet came along) and found a sports nutritionist. I had absolutely no idea what a sports nutritionist did; but I am sure glad I made that contact. The dietitian took me under her wing and not only mentored me but truly gave me my start in sport nutrition…thank you Rennie Benedict!

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As a student, I had no idea what a dietitian really did, never mind working and specializing in sport nutrition. So, no, I did not see myself in my current career. In fact, in my last year when I was starting to think how I could work in sport nutrition I was told by a classmate that I could never be a sports dietitian because I was not a high-level athlete. I have to admit, I was pretty bummed when I heard those words come out of her mouth. After all, I am not a high-level athlete and there were no courses at the time in sport nutrition. That said, I am not a quitter and I was not going to let a little thing like not being a high-level athlete stop me from pursuing an area I had fallen in love with. Does someone specializing in diabetes or cancer have to have experienced diabetes or cancer? Or, being a great athlete does not necessarily translate into becoming a great coach. Those experiences can absolutely help, but they don't guarantee you will be able to work in the area. So, instead, I decided to keep all potential opportunities in dietetics as options for me and my career path. This included the area in sport nutrition.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in human nutritional sciences?

My advice is simple. Follow your passion(s). That said, you will have to put in a ton of free time and labor to gain the experiences and practical skill set to work in this field of sport dietetics. Volunteering, networking, studying and having patience and perseverance will help get you to where you want to be. Some of the activities that helped me gain practical experience include:

  • Volunteering with the Women's Health Clinic in delivering Body Image, Self-esteem and Weight Preoccupation presentations. I learned so much from the training program, those also training in the program and the delivery and interactions with participants in the sessions. I unfortunately work with amazing athletes and too often they have body image issues, disordered eating or eating disorders.
  • Volunteering at the Running Room helped build my skill set in gaging the audience as to what level of information was needed. Not everyone who is active wants to be a high level athlete!
  • Volunteering and being mentored by a dietitian working in sport allowed me to both gain knowledge, practical experience and network with coaches, athletes and learn what committees I could participate in.
  • Becoming a Dietitians of Canada student member provided me with the opportunity to join and eventually participate with networks.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

I did not jump into a full-time sport nutrition position straight out of internship. There was no such thing at the time and I had much to learn before it could even become a reality. As a registered dietitian I started working in two long-term care facilities, then to a larger facility while working evenings and weekends on my private practice - which I mainly focused on sport nutrition. I then spent several years working with the WRHA Surgery Prehabilitation Program for my day job and continued to build my private practice. Eventually, my contract work with the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba grew into a permanent part time position for my first year. It then quickly moved to a permanent full-time position. Perseverance and networking were definitely major contributors to my success in sport nutrition.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

My position with the CSCM is the only permanent, never mind full-time sport nutrition position in the province! Yes, I am truly blessed.

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Julia RempelJulia Rempel, B.Sc. HNS/12

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I've been working in clinical research for five years. My first four years were spent at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (RCFFN) running clinical trials looking at certain foods and ingredients such as novel oils and their effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors, or on other chronic illnesses such as diabetes. I am now working at the University of Manitoba Bannatyne Campus in internal medicine. My current position entails coordinating a clinical study examining the effects of co-morbidities such as depression and anxiety on immune-inflammatory disorders which include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. The purpose of this study is to better understand the health impacts of problems like anxiety and depression on the general health of people, the ability to work, quality of one's life, stress, fatigue, etc. On top of organizing the administrative aspects of the trial with my coworkers, I run the two to two-and-a-half hour appointments with participants. These appointments include basic anthropometric measurements, cognitive tests, questionnaires and can include a psychiatric interview that I conduct with them.

The most rewarding aspect of my job is the psychiatric interviews. People open up and share their life stories with me, talk to me about personal and intimate details and sometimes break down and cry as we talk about issues and experiences they have had in their lifetime regarding depression and anxiety. At times, the participant will be very thankful for the opportunity to get to open up to me and hugs me after the appointment. It's wonderful to be able to connect with people. My greatest challenges are working with certain participants who can be cognitively impaired, or impaired in their ability to walk or write. To be a coordinator for this trial, you have to be patient and caring. Furthermore, there is the challenge of both coordinating the study full time, and still having time to recruit and schedule participants as well as complete all administrative work on top of everything. The days are busy!

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I acquired an interest in research after a fourth-year Functional Foods and Nutraceutical course. On top of acing the course due to my interest in the subject, I emailed the professors about any part-time work for students and was hired on full-time during the summer before my final year of university. Having these connections aided me to acquire a full-time position at the RCFFN after my graduation.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Definitely not. I honestly had no clue what I was going to do up until my fourth year of university as I did not want to go into dietetics. I was planning to do a master's in food science and then choose my career path after. Things fell into place after I worked in a student position at the RCFFN. I decided not to pursue my master's degree and I have no regrets about this decision.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in human nutritional sciences?

Apply for your internship early if you are interested in dietetics. Furthermore, be prepared to travel if you are looking for a full-time dietetics position. If you are interested in research, get as many volunteer or part-time work experiences in that field as you can and try to make connections. It really is true that sometimes it is all about who you know. If you are in research and plan on pursuing further education in nutrition or food science, be prepared to get your PhD as most academia/research associate positions require a PhD.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Start early and exhaust your options with where you apply and also use your connections to your advantage.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Once I helped coordinate a study where I had to wake up certain days at 3:30 a.m. We traveled to Hutterite colonies for a 6 a.m. arrival to do our baseline and endpoint anthropometric measures and blood collection before their breakfast. They fed us such good food!

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Taylor FriesenTaylor Friesen, B.Sc. HNS/12

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I work as an academic advisor in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences advising students in the human nutritional sciences and food science program. The most rewarding part of my job is helping students through the program and being able to apply the knowledge I gained as a student. Seeing students get excited about a program and field that I also share the same excitement for is amazing.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Volunteering and involvement with the faculty is what first landed me a summer job in the Advising Office. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the university and when I got a call to come back I couldn't say no!

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I actually saw myself being a clinical Dietitian. I still have goals to work in the field of dietetics but I love my job and can't imagine doing anything else at the moment.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in human nutritional sciences?

A lot of students go into this program with the goal of dietetics, which is awesome. However, I encourage students to keep in mind that field of nutrition is huge and if dietetics doesn't work out there are many other opportunities out there such as research, government, teaching and more.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Use the campus resources that are available to you. Career Services is a great resource for career planning, job searching and resumé and cover letter writing. Apply for the jobs that are out there. Even if it's not your ideal job, it helps build up your resumé and may even end up leading to your dream job.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I actually started off taking business at the University of Manitoba and was two years into my degree when I discovered human nutritional sciences was an option. I immediately went to see an academic advisor and switched career paths there and then.

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Life Sciences Alumni


David BoguskiDavid Boguski, B.Sc. (Hons)/06, M.Sc./09

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a research assistant at the University of Manitoba in the department of biological sciences. My research explores the molecular genetics of mosquito sexual differentiation. By identifying the genes involved in mosquito development, we can subsequently disrupt their expression and their products in an effort to control some of the most serious disease vectors. I am also the founder of Biodive Scientific Inc., a company specializing in fisheries and aquatic science research. I manage multidisciplinary fish-related programs ranging from single-unit assessments, such as species at risk, to large-scale biological surveys.

The technical advances in molecular biology yield tools that are often transferrable within the multi-faceted study of science. The most rewarding aspect of my career is the knowledge that the discoveries and advances I have made, or contributed to, in science, will supersede my time on earth – my career gives me a sense of purpose. I am rewarded each day knowing that I have the luxury of working in an environment that fosters creativity and exploration. The greatest challenge within this profession is the utility value of key science subjects relative to their difficulty. Constraints that accompany research such as limited time, resources, and knowledge of opportunities, make it challenging to acquire proficiencies. Basic research in Canada is not well funded and opportunities in science are highly competitive and often closely allied to industrial programs with an already saturated workforce. Accordingly, the over-abundance of highly qualified young researchers without jobs persists and these individuals often resort to short-term employment and/or contract work. A career in science requires flexibility, versatility and adaptability to meet market demand.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

From an early age, I became fascinated with the natural world – always keen to catch insects, fishes, reptiles and amphibians. My respect for Mother Nature and passion for the outdoors was instilled in me by my parents who encouraged activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing. I continued my pursuit of knowledge in natural systems throughout my undergraduate and graduate degrees where I would work tediously at the bench and in the field to delve more deeply into biology. My experiences travelling and working in Canada's most remote and rugged regions, as well as the intellectual advances in biology, have helped shape my career pathway. From the start of the adventure up to the present, I have journeyed along the road of discovery.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Yes. I have always seen myself following a career in biology. Little has changed, in that, I find my work immensely rewarding and exciting.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in biological sciences?

It may sound cliché, but pursue your passion. I never find waking up in the morning difficult knowing that I am doing something that I love. Developing your skills in science communication (writing, public speaking, leadership, project management and teaching) and building and maintaining a professional network will set you apart from your peers and allow you to excel along your career pathway.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

First, establish what it is about science that most interests you and align your interests with those of other people who are currently working in that particular scientific field. Then, build your skill-set by networking, volunteering, taking courses, working over the summers. Also, take advantage of the Career Mentor Program. It is no longer practical to do only fieldwork as a career in biology, so if field studies are your passion, ensure you develop complementary skillsets. Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for guidance. Remember, potential employers are looking for two key things: your competency in the position for that you are applying and your ability to work well with others. The key to job searching is perseverance.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I have been fortunate enough to participate in multiple Canadian Arctic fisheries research programs. I have had no shortage of wonderful adventures and exposure to various cultures. One fun fact that comes to mind is that I have enjoyed many a night sleeping outside in a quinzhee or igloo. You would be surprised at how warm it is inside your shelter when it is so cold outside.

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Lukas SchroederLukas Schroeder, B.Sc. (Hons)/15

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a laboratory technician at JC Wilt Infectious Disease Research Centre. My research project is to screen samples for specific antibodies against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and their role in HIV infection. I find it incredibly rewarding to be involved with research which could lead to new ways to help prevent and treat HIV. One of the challenges I have faced is learning how to analyze the data I have collected through my research.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

One of the biggest factors that contributed to my career pathway was enrolling in the co-operative program for microbiology. It allowed me to gain invaluable working experience in different laboratories. In my final co-op work term I began the work that would eventually become my current research project today.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Even at a young age I had an immense interest in infectious diseases so I knew long before I became a university student what career I wanted to get into. Once I entered university I began working towards my microbiology degree right away. During my time at the University of Manitoba, the vision for my career remained the same and focused.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in microbiology?

Having a passion for learning new things is important in the area of microbiology. It moves rapidly with new discoveries, technology and newly emerging infections.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Having work experience in a laboratory is crucial. It is something that many employers are looking for. The best thing to do early on in your degree is speak to professors at the University of Manitoba about summer research opportunities. Then, build on those experiences with the co-operative program or honours research project.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

At a very young age I would attend open house events at the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML). I was able to meet and speak with many research scientists who worked there and asked them what qualities and experience they look for in new hires. I learned from them that the co-operative program was an excellent way to begin a career in the field of microbiology.

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Mandy HoedlMandy Hoedl, B.Sc./12

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a resource management technician with the Dryden District Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). My mandate is to ensure the good stewardship and sustainability of our natural resources. In this position, I play a role in fish and wildlife monitoring and research of forestry planning, lands tenure and environmental compliance. My job involves a lot of boots on the ground, eyes in the air and boats on the water fieldwork. Half the time my office is the beautiful wilderness of northwestern Ontario and that is the most rewarding part of my job. A big challenge I face in this profession is trying to preserve and protect our natural resources in an ever-changing environment. The MNRF as a whole needs to adapt with these changes and determine new and improved ways to maintain our mandate.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I've always enjoyed spending time outdoors and have never been afraid to get my hands dirty. I grew up on a farm with lots of animals and have always loved going camping, fishing, horseback riding and hiking. Science was always my favorite subject in school and it didn't hurt that I excelled in biology and chemistry, which lead me to believe that a degree in science was my future.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

All throughout high school and even into my first couple years of university I was dead set on becoming a veterinarian. I did a co-op work term at an animal clinic and even worked at one for several years. One summer, I decided to branch out and apply for a summer student position with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). I gained a wide variety of experience in various areas and I began to realize how much I enjoyed the diversity of the MNR and not being stuck inside all day, every day. I didn't abandon biology but simply moved in a different direction and so began my journey through the MNR. I bounced from contract to contract, working as a fisheries technician with the broad-scale monitoring program in the summer and an assistant fisheries aging technician at the regional aging lab in the winter before finally landing a permanent, full time position.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in biological sciences?

A Bachelor of Science degree is quite unique in that you can keep your studying broad or become very specialized. If you know science is the right path for you, then you've already made the most difficult choice. The wonderful thing about this degree is that whatever science-related career you choose, this degree will take you there and even if you change your end goal, this degree can still get you there!

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

You must be patient and very persistent when embarking on the search for a job because you cannot expect to jump right into your dream job immediately after graduation. You'll find the career you're looking for if you keep at it and, in the meantime, you may have to work a few odd-ball jobs because your student debt will be there waiting for you immediately after you graduate.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I worked as a bank teller for 8 months post graduation before I landed my first contract as a fisheries technician. I went from formal business attire to fish covered rain gear in a matter of days!

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William WatkinsWilliam Watkins, B.Sc. (Hons)/78, M.Sc./82

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a zoologist for the Manitoba government working in the biodiversity, habitat and endangered species section of the Wildlife and Fisheries Branch. My activities focus on rare species and species at risk including bio-inventory, population monitoring, conservation status assessment, recovery and management planning and the development of policy and legislation. My management projects have ranged from endangered prairie butterflies to polar bears. I am currently a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the body which advises the federal Minister of the Environment on the listing of species under Canada's national Species at Risk Act for protection. I also teach evening courses in biology and environmental studies at the University of Winnipeg.

I find working to preserve Manitoba's biodiversity for future generations personally rewarding and I particularly enjoy being part of a group of people that bring a high level of passion and dedication to their work. One of my greatest challenges is to identify potential funding partners and build effective cooperative partnerships for the management or recovery of species at risk. Another challenge is the diversity of the organisms that I work with. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the recovery of endangered species and I find that I must be a perpetual student learning as much as I can about each new species or group of species that I work on to develop conservation strategies.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I grew up in a family that instilled a love of nature in me and fostered an inquisitive outlook towards the natural world. When I entered university I was looking for a career in science that had an outdoor component to it. I had enjoyed biology in high school and at the end of my first year at the University of Manitoba I accepted an invitation into the zoology honours program. My first career-oriented summer job with the Canadian Wildlife Service was important in affirming my decision to become a biologist and in sparking an interest in working for government. My professors in my senior year as an undergraduate were instrumental in helping me decide to enter graduate studies after my first degree. I completed a master of science at the University of Manitoba that was primarily lab-based and applied to enter a doctoral program in eco-physiology at the University of Alberta. I left the program before completing it to accept a position with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship where I have worked for over 30 years.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As a student I initially saw myself having an academic career in the sciences. My first career-oriented summer job was in government and made me realize that options other than academia existed. I am currently in a position doing exactly what I had hoped to do after graduation. However, it took a number of years working in several related but different positions before I moved into my present position. Each one of them taught me important skills that I currently apply in my work.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in biological sciences?

Life experience and practical skills are often as important as coursework and good grades for a career in wildlife biology. While at university, take every opportunity to develop outdoor skills such as camping and canoeing. Species identification is critically important to a field biologist and it isn't usually taught in the classroom, so begin learning to identify the common birds, mammals, fish, plants and insects in your area and keep working at it until you feel confident in your identification skills. Develop the life-long habit of reading every day and read material related in the broadest sense to your chosen career.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Network! Join organizations related to your career and attend events to meet people. Ask them to send employment bulletins to you. There may be positions available that are not posted on the employment bulletin boards or sources that you routinely search. Look for consulting firms, government departments and non-government agencies that you might like to work for and email your resumé and cover letter to an appropriate manager. Follow up on a regular basis to inquire about employment opportunities. Find volunteer opportunities to develop new skills and build your resumé. Think about related positions that might require the core analytical, integrative and communication skills that you developed in your degree program and be open to new experiences and opportunities.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I once had lunch with Canada's Governor General as part of a team invited to discuss polar bear conservation and the role of Winnipeg's International Polar Bear Conservation Centre in research, conservation and public education. During my career I have had the opportunity of meeting many interesting people from First Nation elders to distinguished scientists, environmental crusaders, authors, photographers and politicians.

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Mathematical Sciences Alumni


Diane HagglundDiane Hagglund, B.Sc. (Hons)/92

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I run a market research firm that specializes in enterprise technology. I love being a business owner and finding ways to deliver constantly increasing value to my clients by being smart instead of just working harder. I also enjoy learning about new technology and working with super smart people. The most challenging part is dealing with the minutia of business ownership – taxes, regulations, etc. – which are just plain boring.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

My first “real” job in the 90’s was doing tech support for a math software company. I ended up being responsible for monitoring and responding to the online discussion board focused on this kind of software. It took only one thoughtless, highly public post on my part to learn how important it is to respond to people who are having problems in a tactful way. This is a skill I used heavily when supporting my field team as a product manager and that I continue to use to this day when dealing with clients, talking to press and even in my personal use of social media.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Definitely not. I never even knew any of the jobs I’ve had during my career existed until I was doing them.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in mathematical sciences?

Do it! Mathematics teaches rigorous critical thinking skills like absolutely nothing else – it’s like going to the gym for your brain. You will use those skills your entire life in ways you can’t possibly imagine. But do take the time to learn softer or more creative skills so you can deal with the rest of the world that isn’t as logical.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Take time to understand your potential employers’ business and show that you know what it is they do. Employers hire because they have a problem that they need solved. If you can solve their problems, they will hire you and promote you. Take on tasks that are a stretch for your capabilities so you learn constantly.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I got my “big break” job in 1996 when I faxed my resume to a recruiter for a different job. It turned out that recruiter had just been fired, but one of his co-workers found my resume sitting in the machine.

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Native Studies Alumni


Christine CyrChristine Cyr, B.A./99

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am the director of the Indigenous Student Centre. My job consists of working with a team that includes Elders to provide the very best service to students. We offer advising, programming, cultural activities, leadership and mentorship opportunities. My specific role is to manage the Indigenous Student Centre team. My personal goal is to lead and empower the team in our collective goal of inspiring, guiding and supporting students in the very best ways possible. What’s rewarding to me is that every single day, I feel like I’m making a difference. I have a job that is challenging, engaging and that requires me to use all of my gifts and skills in service to others.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

My life has been filled with challenges that included growing up in poverty, being a young single mother and being disconnected from my cultural identity. The thing that kept me grounded and strong was the belief that others had in me. I had so many “champions” who pushed me, challenged, nurtured and had faith in me – even when I didn’t have faith in myself.

One of the most important experiences of my life happened in my second year of university. Up until that point, I had remained disconnected from my culture because of the environment that I had been raised in. I took a course called “Aboriginal Wisdom and Spirituality.” This would be the first step in my lifelong commitment to being a proud Indigenous woman. It was because of this course that I realized my passion for working with and for Indigenous peoples.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I didn’t start out with a plan to work in a post-secondary environment but I knew that education was going to be the way out of poverty. When I first came to university, I wanted to be a nurse. It was a career that I understood, that would allow me to help others and that I could be proud of. Once I was here, I changed my mind a few times, eventually ending up in pre-med. But medical internships and the dawning realization of what that career would mean to my family life eventually led me to decide that becoming a doctor wasn’t for me.

When I graduated from the University of Manitoba, I was very fortunate that I was able to work in areas that were important to me like teaching traditional Indigenous values in science to First Nations students throughout Manitoba and then helping Indigenous university graduates find meaningful employment. Those were great experiences that solidified my passion for working with the Indigenous community.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in native studies?

My major was native studies and the courses I took in that department ended up defining both my life and career path. For me, learning about the true history of Canada and the Indigenous peoples of Canada who have been visionaries and heroes has been transformative. I learned about Indigenous women in Canada, language and the land and the spiritual traditions of our ancestors. It was one of the most eye-opening, stimulating and transformative experiences of my life.

For students interested in pursuing an Arts degree, I would say that your experience will be fulfilling on so many levels. Arts courses stretch your mind, they challenge you to question what you know and how you see the world and help you to define your place in the world.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

My best advice for all students is to begin to build your career while you are here, while you are a student. We have an outstanding Career Services department with career consultants who can help you navigate your choices and changes. When you put a huge effort into getting an excellent education, part of that has to be preparing for what comes next.

While I was a student, I had to opportunity to do two summer-long internships. Even though I didn’t end up in that career field, I am so happy I had the chance to explore these options while I was a student and there was still time to make course and program changes. I encourage all students to make career planning part of their education.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

During one of my summer internships, I worked in a genetics research lab and the first time I had to handle real live human tissue samples, I prepared all of my tools, psyched myself up and then promptly fainted. It was one of my first clues that maybe I wasn’t cut out for a career in medicine.

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Jennifer StormJennifer Storm, B.A./09

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

My first job after graduating was as an Aboriginal student recruitment officer at the University of Manitoba. Currently, I'm working in the Northern Medical Unit recruiting Family Physicians. Recruitment is about promoting opportunities, being supportive and helping people make some big decisions in their education or career. If you summarize all my job duties, I'm basically your first friendly face and handshake when you're coming up to a big transition in your life. I get to be the one to either hold your hand, or watch you run on your own, whatever you need!

The biggest challenge is that 'recruitment' sounds like a dirty word when, historically, people viewed it as a job that tries to sell you on something. It's not like that. It's not about filling quotas, it's about helping people make a decision, regardless if it is the right fit for them or not. It was just as satisfying sending someone to another institutional recruiter if that school has the right program/atmosphere for them. It's the same with the physicians I work with now. For example, some doctors signed up just 'test the waters' and now we're celebrating their 30 years of service in Churchill. However, not everyone is a good fit for the North and that's okay too.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I never said, "I want to be a recruiter when I grow up." It was following my interests and passions that lead me here and I feel very blessed both professionally and personally. I chose to study native studies because I wanted to know more about myself as an Indigenous woman. I grew up in the city but came from a reserve and I graduated high school without much knowledge about the history of where I came from. When I experienced racism, I knew it was wrong, but I didn't have the tools to address it. I didn't know how to confront racism constructively. I realized I wasn't going to be given the answers without seeking them out for myself—so I did. I enjoyed my classes enough that I switched my major from psychology to native studies. I also volunteered every year at the Graduation Pow Wow and the Elders Gathering on campus.

After I graduated, I did not immediately get the jobs I wanted, such as a coordinator or scaabe (Elder helper), but I learned that I was always given the jobs I needed. Ceremony is not always about what it can give you or what you think you deserve at the time, it's about what you can give to others that makes you a successful person and that will give you the greatest teachings. Step outside of yourself and do the things that need to get done, even if in a moment of entitlement you feel you're above it, because that's how you become the doer, the helper, the scaabe.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As a student I originally wanted to be a counsellor, someone who gives advice and fixed other people's problems. I soon found out that is not how counselling works, at all. Now, I give people advice all the time now, they actually seek me out for it! I also get to meet lots of people from all over the place and hear their stories, help them sort through challenges and celebrate their successes. It really is a good deal for me. Life has a funny way of redirecting you from where you think you want to go and, in my case, it was needed, appreciated and fulfilled.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in native studies?

Give it a shot. It worked for me and hopefully it will for you too. The good thing about university is that there are electives and room to go out and discover your niche. How would you know if you're interested in engineering if you've never taken a class? Some high schools are now offering native studies classes, but it only scratches the surface. If it interests you, explore it. Native studies is becoming more and more important, no matter which career you choose. If native studies is your passion, then you have to go with it; that fire is in you for a reason.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Humility. You just worked hard to get your degree, worked hard at jobs to pay the bills, volunteered and networked to get your resumé top notch. You do deserve a job. Sometimes your dream job isn't waiting for you with open arms and you need to know that it's ok. It's disappointing and stressful, but normal. Don't be above starting off at a job you feel over qualified for. Maybe you have a master's degree but you can only find jobs as someone's assistant. Be thankful and take the job. Do the best you can with it and people will see you. A big part of networking is being remembered in a good way. If they see you work hard and being helpful they will remember you when they see your name for a position you've applied for in their organization. They will remember you when they see a job advertisement that would be perfect for you. It's not just about who you know anymore, it's also about what they know about you too. Don't be the entitled recent graduate who is too smart to be wiping up spilled coffee or too important to volunteer to take the meeting minutes. The community is a lot smaller than it seems, trust me. In no time, people will start knowing who you are. Let them know how good you are at working hard.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I never thought of recruitment as a job while I was in school. There are so many options out there that no one is necessarily talking about how that might be the perfect fit for you. I saw a job posting on the University of Manitoba website for an aboriginal student recruitment officer and it got me excited to see a job related to my degree was available. The job required me to travel all over Manitoba and visit communities to do presentations, organize events, etc. Through that job I was able to advise thousands of students and experience Manitoba in a way I'd never have had the opportunity to otherwise. I remember one specific afternoon when I convinced colleagues to stay at work late to meet me and a student I had just picked up from his hotel because he traveled all the way to Winnipeg from Lac Brochet just to have a tour and get set up for school. He never told me he was coming, he called me at 4:00 p.m. and said "I'm at this hotel, I came to see the University, can you please come get me?" He had never been to Winnipeg before and he didn't realize that I might be busy or that the University is actually far away from the airport. He didn't know how to use a bus or a taxi and he was too shy to ask anyone at the front desk for help. He only knew me, the girl who came to Lac Brochet to talk about university. I remembered what my and his Elders taught us, about the importance of caring for one another; all those lessons about humility, patience, reciprocity, understanding and compassion. I was able to do that work every day. Recruitment might not be for you and it doesn't really matter what job title you end up having. My point is, you can make any work as meaningful as you want if you take our teachings with you. Miigwetch.

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Karen BeaudinKaren Beaudin, B.A. (Hons), M.A./14

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a community resource coordinator at the City of Winnipeg, Community Services Department. I work in a community development field and enjoy working with community groups in the Downtown and Elmwood areas. I find it rewarding to work in the community to create new programming as identified by the community members. There are challenges that take time to overcome, such as budget issues and conflicts amongst groups and community.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Volunteering with various Indigenous organizations and working with community groups allowed me to network and make new contacts. I enjoy working with people and this job opportunity was a community development position that gave me the opportunity to work with people in the community.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

No, I did not see myself in my current career. Professional development, attending workshops and going back to university to get a social work degree was an asset. There is always something new to learn; the community is changing all the time.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in native studies?

Take the time to volunteer with non-profit organizations and build a relationship with people in the community. Participate in community workshops and talk to Elders in the community.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

There are many sites on the internet that advertise jobs. Another opportunity is to get your name on community distribution lists, where the community jobs are posted and advertised.
Networking at different events, meetings in the community and building relationships with people may sometimes lead to job information and a potential employer getting to know you and your skill set.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I have had the opportunity to work in various jobs with the City of Winnipeg. I have worked as a dental assistant, a community development worker and an Aboriginal outreach worker. My current role is as a community resource coordinator working in the Downtown and Elmwood neighbourhoods.

I started teaching square dancing to the kids in Lord Selkirk Park many years ago and now square dancing is offered as a program in the community. I also helped coach a 10 year old boy's hardball team at Turtle Island. At some of our games, it was like watching the Bad News Bear movie where the kids were laying on the field, picking dandelions and not really focusing on the game. The team was provided with two hardball workshops and really improved their game. They won a few games and did really well in the playoffs.

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Shauna MulliganShauna Mulligan, B.A./15

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I work in two places currently, both of which my degree has helped me with. Firstly, I work at St. Boniface General Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as an Aboriginal Health Care Aide. Secondly, I work as a writing tutor for the Access and Aboriginal Focus Program. The most rewarding part of my job in Aboriginal health services is seeing babies go home with their families and seeing components of culturally appropriate care being given. For tutoring, the most rewarding thing is seeing students succeed in areas in which they were struggling.

The challenges I face within my two jobs are very different. Within the hospital, dealing with the systemic and institutionalized forms of racism is difficult because challenging those ideas creates conflict. I am happy if people understand what I tell them, but there are some who simply refuse to let go of old methods of thinking. With tutoring, the biggest challenge is motivation. When students approach me with little to no motivation, it is challenging to help them develop the skills they need to succeed.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Working as a teaching assistant in the third year of my undergraduate degree helped me to understand what professors go through when they teach and this helped solidify my plans to complete a master's degree and teach at the University of Manitoba. Taking that first native studies class helped me discover my passion for learning about Indigenous peoples and the unique challenges they face, but it was my experience as a medical assistant in the Reserves that helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my education. I put the two together and found that there is research and teaching I can do on the subject of Indigenous veterans and currently serving soldiers, which will be the focus of my master's thesis.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I started attending university to become a nurse, but that changed when I took the required native studies course. I started taking more and more native studies courses and I started to think about what I could do with my degree after I graduated. I knew I wanted to study more, I just didn't know in what area. I didn't figure it out until my third year of university when I began to put my practical military experience together with my native studies learning experience. If a teaching position opens up in the department of native studies after I complete my master's degree, I will be leaving health-care after 15 years of service. This will give me the opportunity I need to pursue a PhD in native studies.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in native studies?

Find that one thing you are really good at and hone it. Whether it is writing, research, networking, critical thinking or leadership, find a professor who is willing to challenge you in and help you develop. Don't discount your experiences and your community. They are both valuable sources of information.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Keep in contact with the professors that encouraged you. I found the Access Program tutoring position through a professor, who recommended me to the program director. Having that support was instrumental in getting my application considered for a position generally geared towards master's and PhD level graduates.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

As part of my work with the University of Manitoba, I have been interviewed by two different papers. One article was on Métis identity, and the other was on the importance of the Graduation Pow Wow and Indigenous graduates. I will also be featured in the 2016-2017 Faculty of Arts Handbook.

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Physical Geography Alumni


Michelle CurryMichelle Curry, B.Sc. PhG (Hons Co-op)/13, M.Sc./16

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I work for the Meteorological Service of Canada as a meteorologist in the Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center. In my position, I produce the weather forecasts for a broad area of Canada; Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, and eastern Nunavut. I also get the opportunity to produce marine forecasts for the eastern Arctic and Manitoba Lakes and the air quality forecasts for the eastern prairies. The great thing about my job is that the weather is constantly changing, so my day always looks a bit different. It's rewarding to be able to produce a product (in this case a forecast) that I know is directly impacting Canadians, particularly if there is the potential for adverse weather conditions. Since weather is constantly changing, my job can be extremely challenging at times trying to figure out what will happen and how to best communicate that in my forecast.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

There were two experiences that helped me decide to pursue a career in meteorology. The first one was visiting the Winnipeg weather office (where I now work) at the beginning of my university program and seeing what an amazing environment and office it was. The second was taking my first atmospheric science class in my geography program and realizing I could actually pursue this as a career. Being a part of the cooperative education program helped me make decisions relating to my career path along the way as I got more exposure to the different options available to me.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

After my first cooperative education placement at the Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Manitoba, I actually planned to pursue graduate education and eventually a career in research and academia. I went back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to continue my education or apply to Environment Canada to be a meteorologist. In the end, I decided to apply to Environment Canada and am now almost two years into my career with them.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in physical geography?

First and foremost, make sure you focus on your math and physics courses in the first two years of your program! These courses are the foundation for the rest of your career both in university and beyond. I also highly recommend taking courses in computer programing. Weather and climate models are an extremely important and quickly growing field in atmospheric science and understanding computer programing is a huge asset regardless of what field you go into. Finally, doing a cooperative education program and making professional connections in the field is invaluable as you move into your career. These connections may make the difference for landing your dream job!

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Don't pigeon hole yourself. I think many people limit themselves to either an ideal job, or what they "think" they should do with their degree. In reality, there are so many options from research and academics, to government agencies and private companies. For example, students from the physical geography program have gotten jobs as meteorologists, technicians, water survey technicians, fire weather forecasting, private sector forecasting, forecasting or technician jobs for private industry (oil and gas, energy, agriculture). The best thing you can do is to start making contacts early in your program and ask what opportunities they are aware of or people they can put you in contact with. Don't be scared to apply for a job that might be a bit outside of your comfort zone or that you weren't first considering.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Since weather is a 24/7 phenomena, so is my job. As a meteorologist I work rotating shift work, including the night shift. While night shifts may not be a highlight of my job, getting two to six days off between rotations definitely is! Also, it is a great conversation starter at a party when people ask me what I do.

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Psychology Alumni


Brittany LitsterBrittany Litster, B.Sc. (Hons)/14

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

As a research assistant at Health Sciences Centre, I work with a dedicated team that focuses on multiple sclerosis (MS). Most of the week, I'm in the neurology clinic collecting data, ensuring quality entries and interacting with patients. The rest of the time, I'm entering and scoring various questionnaires for a larger research project that involves participants with MS, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psychiatric disorders. The most rewarding part of my job is the knowledge that the information I gather will help many patients in the future. That being said, the greatest challenge is that I don't get to see the immediate results.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

During my degree I only took courses I was truly interested in and volunteered in areas that I knew would be both rewarding and enjoyable. My interest in psychology led me to volunteer in the psychiatric wards at Health Sciences Centre. I also took Mental Health First Aid, which was offered through the Canadian Mental Health Association. This opened up doors to several possible positions related to crisis intervention or research in mental health. I'm still mapping out my career pathway as my next pursuit is to apply to medical school. This goal has guided me to find opportunities that provide exposure to the medical community which led me to do research with MS patients.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As a student I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do once I graduated. I figured I would have a career in research, but the options were so vast that it was overwhelming to decide what to focus on. About halfway through my degree I changed my career direction toward medicine instead of psychology. I joined the Career Mentorship Program through Career Services which allowed me to shadow and interview professionals from both areas. This opportunity provided me with a better idea of what these careers actually entailed. I was then able to better focus my goals when it came to finding positions or volunteer opportunities that interested me. I continue to be interested in research, although now my focus is much clearer.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in psychology?

I would recommend starting to map out your career early in your degree. I regularly kept in contact with my academic advisor and took advantage of the Career Services office. They connected me with their Career Mentor Program to explore multiple careers and get first and second hand experience in those professions. The field of psychology is vast and unless you know exactly what you want to do with your career it's a good idea to dip into the different areas of psychology. You can accomplish this through courses, volunteering, job shadowing or your honours thesis project. After exploring a bit you may be surprised what really catches your interest.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Never give up. Job searching can be disheartening when after handing out dozens of resumés you never receive any interviews. To increase your chances make sure your resumé is tailored to each specific position you're applying to. In addition, match buzzwords from the job description to your resumé as most companies now use a computer algorithm to filter through resumés before human eyes even see them.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

The great thing about entering into research is that it opens doors to multiple areas within your chosen field. There are many possible topics to study with various jobs and responsibilities along the way. As well, the research you conduct can inspire other individuals to find their own passion to explore different topics based on your discoveries. During my work as a research assistant, I had the opportunity to collaborate with my coworkers to write a systematic review of previous research to help find where there are gaps of information that require further investigations. I hope that our findings will inspire other young researchers to fill these gaps and help them along their career path.

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Eriza BrunoEriza Bruno, B.A. /14

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am currently employed as a mental health housing support worker with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. My role is to assist people who suffer with mental health issues secure, or maintain housing. I assist with their housing search and act as an advocate for them. I also assist with salvaging their tenancy if they are having issues with their landlord or the Residential Tenancy Branch.

What I find most rewarding about my career is the direct contribution I make to people's well-being. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing I made a direct impact in someone's life. I believe in the housing first initiative and that having a place to call home plays a major role in someone's mental health recovery.

One of the biggest challenges I face in my position is fighting the stigma about mental health. Many people do not understand how difficult it is for people struggling with mental illness and some landlords are not impressed when they find out a tenant has a worker assigned to them. On top of the stigma, searching for housing in the city is very difficult with the low vacancy rate and stereotypes about mental health can make it difficult to secure housing.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Since I migrated to Canada I have worked in various support roles and I have always enjoyed being able to interact with people and helping make small differences in their lives. I have experience with community work, group homes and I briefly worked within the school system as well. I always knew that I wanted to be in public service, which is why I never drifted off the field.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

Yes. I always enjoyed working with people, which is why I kept my job as a support worker while studying. I was always interested in human behavior, which is why I majored in psychology. I believe that I am exactly where I wanted to be.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in psychology?

Don't be discouraged when people tell you that there are no opportunities for psychology graduates. People often say that psychology is too broad and that you need to pursue a Ph.D. to find a job. I think that the fact that psychology is a broad interest provides flexibility. With a psychology degree you are able to work in schools, family services, corrections, mental health and more. As long as you are genuinely interested in the field and are proactive in looking for opportunities, you are bound to have a fulfilling career with your degree.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Send out those resumés! As long as you are confident in your ability to do the job, then apply even if the description does not ask for a psychology degree. You have nothing to lose by applying.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

A few months before I was due to graduate, I had a phase of panic (which I'm sure most candidates for graduation get) so I sent out my resumé to almost every job that interested me, even when the description asked for a completed degree. Luckily, I was called for an interview for a housing worker at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. To my surprise, I was offered the job and I am about to spend my third year in this position. I have loved every single day since I started. As I mentioned, you have nothing to lose by sending out your resumé. Most students wait until they get their diploma to start their job search, but as long as you are genuine and passionate about what you do, the opportunities will be there waiting for you.

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Gillian SidonGillian Sidon, B.A./14, B. H. Ecol./15

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I currently work as a rehabilitation counsellor where I assess clients prior to their involvement in treatment. What I find most rewarding is the continuous strength and resiliency I observe in every client. There is always going to be obstacles in every work place and one lesson that I have learned is the ability to be mindful. It is important to be mindful of the self when you are in a profession such as counselling.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

There have been many contributing factors that have brought me to where I am today. Firstly, I was a member of the University of Manitoba Bison soccer team for five years throughout my education which helped me to build "soft skills". Secondly, I received an internship through World University Service of Canada where I went overseas to work at one of the local Universities in Vietnam. This experience provided me with a cultural component and diverse set of lenses. Additionally, I went through an intensive training program to volunteer as a Sexual Assault Crisis Counsellor for two years. This experience opened up many doors and allowed me to apply my formal education in a practical setting.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

As a first year student, I never saw myself in my current career path. I initially wanted to study physical therapy; however, I really enjoyed my courses related to psychology. I got involved in extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities where I realized that I had found my niche.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in psychology?

Ask yourself why you are interested in this line of work in the first place. Go out and seek opportunities through volunteering to get an idea of what it may look like for you in the future. Immerse yourself in as many experiences as possible because this is a profession of continuous development. There is so much to learn and explore, and if you have a real passion for this type of work you will excel.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there in the job market. Apply for jobs even if you don't think you will get them. When going to interviews, use it as a way to gain exposure and a sense of what potential employers are looking for. Volunteering and working part-time while in school will definitely help you to advance after graduation. Additionally, in order to gain more responsibility and opportunity you might consider accepting a rural job position. Work experience is crucial post-graduation, so take advantage of any chance you get.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I am a young individual in a position that most people wait their whole lives to obtain. If you put in the extra effort outside of your studies you will be rewarded.

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Jennifer ThorsteinssonJennifer Thorsteinsson, B.Sc./00, B.A. (Hons)/04, M.Sc. Clinical Psychology

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am currently employed as a behaviour analyst and psychological assessor at St. Amant. I find it very rewarding to be a part of the process to help connect young adults and adults with services that will support them throughout their lives. I also enjoy when families achieve the "aha" moment when they realize the effectiveness of the behavioral supports. The greatest challenge is with helping families get through an extinction burst so that they can get to a point where things get better.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

As an undergraduate student I volunteered in a research laboratory that allowed me to apply what I was learning. This helped me to figure out what I did and did not want to do in my career.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

This is what I expected to be doing and I am very happy with my job.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in psychology?

If you are interested in psychology, talk with to your professors and offer to volunteer in their labs. This will give you some hands-on experience and put you in touch with other students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These students can help you understand what your experience will be like.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Start with your professors to see if they have a paid research position. Doing a practicum will put you in contact with prospective employers. Join different psychological associations such as Manitoba Psychological Society or Manitoba Association for Behaviour Analysis to access job postings on their website. When searching for jobs online, use broad categories rather than just specific diagnoses. Also, make use of social media sites such as LinkedIn.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

As a part of my job I organize different events to celebrate psychology month in February. This provides the general public an opportunity to learn what behaviour analysts do.

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Rebecca EarleyRebecca Earley, B.A. (Hons)/15

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a career consultant at the University of Manitoba. I work with students to help them discover their dream career and help them to achieve their goals once a pathway is clear. My job involves working with students one-on-one, delivering workshops to groups, planning events, and coming up with resources that can be used by students. The most challenging part of this position is staying current amongst constant changes and maintaining a strong knowledge of career information. I need to know about educational programs all over the world, new careers, local businesses, and the best techniques to allow someone to confide in me and to work towards uncovering a student's passions. I love learning and reading, so this, while challenging, is also something I enjoy quite a bit. The most rewarding part of my job is getting to know a student very well – working closely with them, getting to know what is important to them and eventually seeing them succeed and reach their goals. There is nothing more rewarding than helping students discover their plans for their future. It always makes me happy to get an email from a student saying they got their dream job!

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

Throughout my degree, I got involved on campus and in the community. I knew that I wanted a career helping people, so I found volunteer and work positions that gave me experience working with others. Through these experiences, I was able to discover plenty of things about myself that helped to shape my career pathway. This gave me insight into the things I wanted to do and avoid in a career. I volunteered with Peers: Students Helping Students for three years, which showed me my passion for supporting students. It also helped me to get my work-study position at Career Services, where I began learning about career development and discovering that I loved everything about this profession.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I chose to do a psychology degree with the plan of becoming a clinical psychologist. At the time, I thought this was the only way I could help people the way I wanted to. The further I got in my degree, the more it reaffirmed my desire to work with people as well as my interest in social science. What changed, though, was that I slowly began to discover that there was a whole world of amazing careers helping others that I could take on with my undergraduate degree.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in psychology?

The most important advice I have is to seek out experience above and beyond your academics. My psychology degree helped me to strengthen my writing skills, develop my presentation abilities, and gave me a critical eye when evaluating research and psychometric tools. Since my goal was to work with people, I also made sure I supplemented my education with experience in the community. This gave me even more skills that I could put on my resumé and it also connected me with people who would eventually help me to get the job I have today.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Develop connections with people in the organizations you want to work with and take advantage of the network you've already made. Be aware of all of the amazing skills you have from your psychology degree and don't be shy in showing them off in your application. Be creative in where you look for work and try to stay hopeful. It took me well over three months to find a job after I graduated –this is typical for anyone looking for work, with all kinds of backgrounds. It was a lot of work to find my first job, but after the countless hours of searching and applying it was the most amazing feeling in the world and made it worth it. Keep your chin up and start early!

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Before my current position, I spent a year working in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Residence, which supports middle and high school students striving to be professional dancers. It was an amazing job where I got to have a lot of independence and responsibility. I was able to use so many of the skills I developed through my education and experiences as I supported students, managed staff and ensured the residence ran smoothly. My psychology degree was a huge help to me in this position. One of my major projects was to write a new discipline policy, which I diligently wrote in the same way I wrote countless papers in my undergrad, using academic research to back the policy I recommended.

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Sociology Alumni


David BowmanDavid Bowman, B.A./07, M.A.

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I have been a crime analyst with the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) since February, 2014. Prior to WPS, I was a business analyst in the Strategic Research Department at Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation. As a crime analyst, I identify patterns, trends and suspects for a variety of crime types. It is rewarding to know that my work contributes directly to the protection of our community.

Crime analysts are asked to synthesize evidence, intelligence and crime data to gain a complete picture. This is challenging given the nature of the criminal environment, in that deceit, incomplete information and unreliable sources are common. It is important to be able to think creatively alongside investigators, as well as independently in an analytical context. Outside of my work as a crime analyst with WPS, I am an instructor in the department of criminal justice at the University of Winnipeg. It is incredibly rewarding to remain involved in the local academic community through teaching.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

My career has always been guided by extracurricular involvement in the community. While attending Simon Fraser University, I was a member of the six-time world champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, winning two world championships with the band in 2008 and 2009. Upon returning to Winnipeg in 2011, I became a member of the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band, which played a large part in my decision to pursue a career with WPS. It is important to invest in your community – the best employers understand and appreciate the value of an engaged citizen.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

The field of criminal intelligence analysis has grown considerably since my time as an undergraduate student at the University of Manitoba. I had always viewed myself working in the justice field, but it wasn't until criminal intelligence analysis became more widely adopted by Canadian law enforcement agencies that I began to pursue this specific career path.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in sociology?

Pay attention in your research methods and statistics classes – these are employable, quantifiable skills.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Understand that modern career paths are non-linear. Set-backs and lateral movement are to be expected. Keep in touch with your network of university peers and professors following graduation, as often these relationships will lead you to your next career opportunity.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

My career path continues to grow and evolve on a daily basis.

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Julia PeristerakisJulia Peristerakis, B.A. (Hons), M.A./14

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a researcher/curator at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I conduct in-depth human rights research to inform the content development of museum exhibitions. It is very rewarding to see my research come to life through exhibits and to see visitors reacting and understanding human rights issues. There are many challenges involved in displaying and telling human rights stories, including working with communities that have been subjected to major rights violations. A large part of my work is to critically evaluate these considerations.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

While studying the University of Manitoba, I had the opportunity to present at an international workshop on Indigenous rights in North America and meet other academics working in the same area. This really helped me to connect with the people who were working in the areas in which I wanted to work. I also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant during both my undergraduate degree and during my graduate program. This provided me with the skills and experience for my research assistant position at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

I have always enjoyed doing research and was drawn to human rights and social justice issues, but I never imagined that it would lead to a position in a museum. Research and community engagement is what I wanted to do in my career, however now I am able to publish and present my research and use it to create unique museum exhibitions.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in sociology?

Sociology is such a broad discipline that can be applicable in so many careers. Critical thinking and research skills are very transferable; I was surprised to discover how useful theses skills have been for different types of jobs and how they help me to understand social issues.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Winnipeg is a small city and therefore has great opportunities for networking. If you find someone working in the field you would like to be in, ask them out for a coffee and find out how they got there. Don't feel limited in what you can do and be open to using your skills in an unconventional way. Seize opportunities while you're in school to work on special research projects or attend and present at conferences.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I wrote my entire thesis while working full time as a research assistant at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and while this was a particular challenge, it demonstrates the need to be adaptable and willingness to be open to opportunity when it knocks!

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Kimberly BallantyneKimberly Ballantyne, B.A./14

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding?

Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD) is an Aboriginal-led, charitable organization serving the urban Aboriginal community of Winnipeg. It offers a number of services including literacy, education, post-secondary training and employment counselling. We provide personal and academic supports to assist clients with the opportunity for growth, development and success. I am the director of employment services for CAHRD and lead a team of twelve employment counsellors and support staff who provide dedicated career advice, coaching and recruitment services to Winnipeg's urban Aboriginal population. What is unique about our organization is that all the supports our clients need are under one roof. The thing I find most rewarding about my job is helping the Aboriginal community find employment, education or training.

What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

CAHRD understands that the Aboriginal community faces different challenges than the non-Aboriginal community. It recognizes and understands that our community faces multiple barriers such as a lack of education and training, affordable housing, and social supports such as daycare. Despite these challenges, we work as a team to help those who walk through our doors achieve their short and long term goals.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I am from The Pas, Manitoba and I was raised by my grandparents, Flora and Malcolm Crane, who taught me the value of education. In 1999, my high school hosted a career fair. I was drawn to the University of Manitoba booth and spoke with recruiters who informed about the different program offerings. It was then that I knew that I was going to attend this school. Ten years later, I moved to Winnipeg to attend university. It was the hardest but most rewarding goal I had accomplished up until that point. After completing my degree, I first came to CAHRD as a client and a position for an employment counsellor came available. I applied with the help of my counsellor and got the job. Five months later, I was asked to apply for the director of employment services position. I am amazed with all that I have accomplished in such a short amount of time and owe my success to my positive attitude and education. I'm so thankful for all the support I had along the way from my family, friends and CAHRD.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

No, but I always knew I wanted to help my Aboriginal community. While attending university, I actually changed my major three times before I decided on sociology. Once I choose my major, everything fell into place. It was very stressful at times and was hard to juggle everything at once, but I knew that getting an education was something I really wanted. I am so thankful for the career path that I have chosen and where I am right now.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in sociology?

My advice to students interested in pursuing a degree in sociology is to never give up, stay focused and ask for help when you don't understand something. Be organized, take lots of notes and use your quizzes to prep for exams, they do help a lot.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

For non-Aboriginal students, there are a number of places you can go for assistance with your job search. Go to Career Services for help with your cover letters, resume and interview skills. Learn to network when you are job searching, post on social media and look at job websites. If you are Aboriginal, come to CAHRD and register with employment services. We are located at 304-181 Higgins Avenue. You can also call us at (204) 989-7117.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

If I had not chosen my career path I would not have met my partner Emil. We now have a beautiful three year old daughter named Nova and a son due in April who we have named Leo. I feel very blessed and thankful and would not change single thing.

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Michael DyckMichael Dyck, B.A./08, J.D./11

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a criminal defence lawyer in Winnipeg. I provide legal advice to clients, negotiate with crown attorneys and advocate for my clients in court. From first court appearances, to guilty pleas and sentencing hearings, to trials, it is rare that two days are ever the same. I love the challenges of thinking quickly and creatively to be persuasive. I enjoy the connection I have with clients and colleagues as well as the business/entrepreneurial side that I get to focus on because I work at a private firm. Advertising and business development are things I turned out to really enjoy and I have spent countless hours working on and adding content to my website. Some of challenges I face include ethical issues that arise almost daily and ensuring that I am providing the best legal services for my clients.

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

I wanted to be a lawyer while I was in junior high school. I attended the Mini University program at the University of Winnipeg and took a criminology course. I thought it was very interesting and that my somewhat argumentative nature and quick thinking would help me become a great lawyer.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed?

When I first arrived at the University of Manitoba, I knew I wanted to pursue a law degree and my focus did not waver. In law school, I toyed with the idea of working in corporate/commercial law. However, my personality suited better to courtroom work so I ultimately focused on criminal law.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in law?

First, you have to be prepared to take on a significant amount of student debt that you will slowly pay off over the early years of your career. Second, a law degree is not a licence to print money. There are many lawyers who are unsuccessful. I think it is important that you enjoy the day to day work because otherwise you will not be motivated to work hard. Third, lawyers are respected and having a law degree can open a lot of doors, especially in politics. Finally, there are many different areas of law that fit many different personality types. Not everyone is going to be a courtroom lawyer and not everyone is going to love researching issues in estate law.

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Searching for jobs as a lawyer can be difficult. My best advice is to connect with former classmates and talk to them about opportunities that they may know of. If you know lawyers that have been practicing for a few years, talk to them and see what they recommend.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

Most people do not associate the word fun with lawyer. I suppose a fun fact is that as a lawyer you will find an almost immediate dislike of all lawyer jokes and that most new people that you meet are incredibly keen to tell you the most recent one they heard. If someone starts talking about what to do with a lawyer buried up to his neck in sand, it is probably best to just walk away.

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