Convocation 2007 – Graduate Interviews, Part 1 of 3

This is the first of a three-part Voice series featuring interviews with some of AU’s 2007 graduates.

For many graduates, convocation weekend was the first time they had seen the beautiful grounds and buildings of the AU campus, and they attended the ceremonies from places near and far, including Athabasca, Alberta, and Bangkok, Thailand.

The Voice would like to offer its sincere congratulations to all of this year’s graduates, and knows that their accomplishments will encourage all those students who are still completing their studies at AU.

Brian Harvey
Master of Distance Education

Brian is pictured here with his wife Carol.

Brian attended convocation with his wife Carol, and they travelled from Kitchener, Ontario, to take part in the ceremonies.

For Brian, the key to success in the Master of Distance Education program was being prepared. His advice to students in the program is to ?spend a significant amount of time working? if they want to do well in their studies, as many as five to ten hours each week.

Besides the satisfaction of having survived the program, one of the other benefits Brian experienced is having learned a lot about education; not only how to deliver and develop programs for distance studies, but also for a broad array of educational settings in general.

Brian is already employed in the education field, and is the chair of the business school at Conestoga College in Kitchener. He has already found the Masters of Distance Education program very helpful, and says that it has helped him to achieve some of his objectives.

He plans to use his experiences in the program to help increase the amount of online education available at the business school where he works. Congratulations, Brian!

Jonathan French
Bachelor of Professional Arts, Criminal Justice

Jonathan is pictured here with his girlfriend Jeni Kristensen.

For Jonathan, one of the best parts of being a student at AU was the people that he met and the new friends that he has made. He also enjoyed the classroom experiences that the program provided, and enjoyed the interaction with his professors.

Overall, Jonathan found that the most challenging part of his studies in the Criminal Justice program was maintaining a 3.0 GPA. He attributes some of his success to the support of his girlfriend Jeni, and thanks her for being there throughout his program.

Currently, Jonathan works as a recreation technician with the City of Edmonton, and his job involves planning activity programs for children.

In the future, he’s planning on continuing with his studies and says he will probably look into a Master’s program, possibly in another field. On the day we caught up Jonathan at convocation, though, his main focus was relaxing and enjoying the ceremonies; he summed up the mood of the proud graduates when he said that he’s ?just sort of happy right now.? Congratulations, Jonathan!

Lori Lambert
Bachelor of Arts with distinction

For Lori’s graduation from the BA program with a Psychology major, she had a cheering section of her own, including her husband, her parents, her son and her two daughters.

Luckily, she didn’t have far to come: Lori is a resident of Athabasca and works at the university in the research centre.

For Lori, one of the keys to success was the interaction with university staff, and she advises students to ?talk to your tutors.?

She has experienced AU courses both with and without a lot of instructor contact.

In the beginning, she says, ?I talked to my tutors all the time and it really did make it a lot easier. After a while I got really busy and I wasn’t able to talk to them or connect with them all the time and I felt it. I still did okay, but It’s a huge difference.?

Congratulations, Lori!

Dianna Pottier
Bachelor of Nursing

Dianna travelled from Ottawa with her husband John to join her fellow nursing graduates at convocation.

For Dianna, one of the keys to her success in the program was perseverance. She says that demonstrating the ability to stay focused and complete a degree is a great experience, and shows what kind of strength students have.

Her words of advice to current students? ?Persevere. You just have to keep going at it and It’s going to get done.?

Dianna completed her nursing degree over six years, while also enjoying her job at a children’s hospital in Ottawa.

More studies may be in her future: she is considering pursuing a Masters but hasn’t made up her mind yet. Her only big plans for immediately after graduation are a possible holiday with her family, but she has plenty of time to relax before then–she still has to wait another couple of weeks until they finish school.

Congratulations, Dianna!

Jonathan Brenner
Master of Health Studies

Jonathan completed his Master of Health Studies in just 14 months; he took advantage of a ?window of opportunity? and stayed focused on his program, taking as many courses as he could at one time.

He attended convocation from beautiful Campbell River, B.C., and his advice to current students is to seek to understand.

As he puts it, ?I think the idea is trying to gain understanding and expand your knowledge rather than just trying to memorize. Challenge your thoughts.?

Jonathan already has definite career plans that will put his Master of Health Studies to good use: he is in the process of developing a 94-bed complex-care facility in Campbell River. The planned facility will be an extended care residence for seniors, and it is expected to be ready in March. Jonathan will be kept busy as both the owner and administrator of the residence.

Congratulations, Jonathan!

Janice Dewar
Master of Distance Education

Relaxing and strolling the grounds just after the convocation ceremony, Janice told The Voice that she is proud of having earned her Master of Distance Education; not only because she believes a degree program is a significant undertaking, but also because ?It’s wonderful to be part of this particular university and to be part of this program.?

She travelled from Edmonton with her friends Linda Porter and Gail Baron, and was looking forward to ?an evening of celebration, an afternoon of celebration, and then a weekend of celebration with other friends.?

Along with keeping busy making plans for convocation, Janice recently returned from a trip to Italy. Now, She’s planning on having more time to focus on the other activities She’s interested in, including writing.

Janice develops and manages public education programming for a department of the City of Edmonton, and is looking forward to the new career opportunities that will be open to her with her degree.

Congratulations, Janice!

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