Convocation 2009 – Graduate Interviews

This is the first of a three-part Voice series featuring interviews with some of AU’s 2009 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 Barrie, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta.

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



Bethany Tynes
Bachelor of Arts, English

Bethany travelled from Edmonton, Alberta, to attend convocation, and you may already know her name: She’s currently serving as an AUSU councillor.

Bethany graduated with a three-year concentration in English, and says that one of the most enjoyable things about studying at AU was the ability to learn at her own pace.

?That was a really huge benefit for me,? says Bethany, ?just because, with two kids, some days I don’t open a book and some days I can read two or three novels in a day.?

For those still in the program, Bethany’s advice is to ?just keep going when it looks bleak. Sometimes It’s really hard to get motivated and actually open the books, but just keep going.?

Bethany is already planning on more studies and is looking forward to starting AU’s MAIS program in September. Although the MAIS program doesn’t have a concentration in English, Bethany is hoping that plans for an English specialization come through.

First, though, Bethany and her family are heading off to spend the summer in Nova Scotia, so hopefully she’ll have lots of time to relax before resuming her studies.

Congratulations, Bethany!



Tanvir Gill
Bachelor of Professional Arts, Criminal Justice

For Tanvir, the most enjoyable part of the BPA program was the instructors. ?They actually work in the field . . . so we got a better perspective of what the field was all about and what we can expect,? he explains.

Tanvir completed a two-year diploma in corrections before beginning his BPA. He plans to go into policing, so having a retired police officer as a course instructor was a great benefit.

Tanvir travelled from Edmonton to attend convocation, and his advice for those thinking about the Criminal Justice program is to ?talk to the professionals working in the field first, to get a better idea of what You’re getting yourself into.

?Some people regret it after,? he adds, ?[because] It’s not what they thought it would be. Research what It’s all about.?

Congratulations, Tanvir!



Ana Meléndez-Rizo
Bachelor Professional Arts, Criminal Justice

Ana began her Criminal Justice studies with the Investigations and Security Management program at Grant MacEwan, and travelled from Edmonton to attend the AU convocation ceremony.

For Ana, the most enjoyable part of her studies has been the opportunity to get to know fellow students, professors, and faculty.

Now that her BPA program is complete, Ana is looking forward to pursuing her law degree?and there’s also a wedding in her future!

For those still in the program, Ana’s advice is to ?have fun with it. It’s a huge experience. It’s once in a lifetime that You’re going to get an opportunity to get your degree. Study hard, because you’ll definitely need the study time, but also have a work-life balance . . . once you balance everything together, then you’ll have an absolutely successful experience.?

Congratulations, Ana!



Tabitha Geraghty-Advocaat
Master of Distance Education

Tabitha completed her Master of Distance Education in just under four years, and travelled from Richmond, BC, to attend convocation.

The support that students receive was one part of the AU experience that Tabitha especially enjoyed.

?Athabasca University understands what It’s like to be taking education via distance, and the support is what gets you through.?

While the support of all the staff was important, Tabitha had special words of praise for Glenda, the administrative assistant in the Centre for Distance Education.

?She’s so wonderful,? adds Tabitha. ?[She] saw me through every stage of it.?

After convocation, Tabitha would enjoy the opportunity to do some research on distance education and how it applies to Aboriginal people in their communities.

Congratulations, Tabitha!



Cindy Knipelberg
Bachelor of Professional Arts, Criminal Justice

Now that her BPA in Criminal Justice is complete, Cindy plans on a career in emergency management, a field that will see her dealing with natural and man-made disasters.

As part of her pre-BPA diploma, she enjoyed the opportunity of doing a three-month field placement with the RCMP.

For Cindy, the most enjoyable part of her AU experience was the courses that dealt with comparative criminal justice, examining police forces and other security agencies around the world.

?I got to learn about CSIS, Interpol. . . It’s amazing to see how different cultures and different traditions form each police force, and how they deal with their crimes differently.?

Along with her career plans, Cindy hopes to continue studying at AU. ?I love the freedom, and I love the options of [saying] ?What do I want to learn this year?? It’s a great experience. I’d recommend it for anyone.?

Congratulations, Cindy!

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