Convocation 2009 – Graduate Interviews

This is the second 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 Mission, BC, and Missoula, Montana.

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.



Beverly Balaski
Master of Nursing

Beverly travelled from Regina, Saskatchewan, to convocate with her Master of Nursing degree, a program she was able to complete in just over three years thanks to a leave from work.

The real-world applicability of courses was one of the things Beverly enjoyed most about her program.

?With Athabasca, I found that . . . I was able to integrate it into my work quite quickly, and even as I was doing the classes it didn’t take until I graduated to see the benefits.?

For those who may be considering the program, Beverly’s advice is to ?just do it.?

?Enjoy it and don’t focus on the marks,? she adds, noting that this can be difficult when many adult learners tend to strive for perfection. ?As long as you do your best, you don’t have to have that 95 [per cent] to the detriment of really enjoying it.?

Beverly hasn’t ruled out further studies, but for now she just plans to relax?and enjoy travelling without having to search for an Internet cafe so she can do her homework!

Congratulations, Beverly!



Cathy Barter
Master of Nursing

Getting to know fellow students from around the world was one of the things Cathy especially enjoyed while completing her Master of Nursing.

?Just getting to know the classmates, and learn from [them], it just made the whole process enjoyable.?

A PhD may be in the future as well, but Cathy plans to take some time to relax first.

For those still in the program, Cathy’s advice is to just keep plugging away. ?The instructors are amazing, they’re very willing to help, and just keep on track and you’ll get through.?

Cathy travelled from Riverview, New Brunswick, to attend convocation and enjoyed a vacation at the same time, taking in the sights of Edmonton, Jasper, and Calgary, including a trip through the mountains.

Congratulations, Cathy!



Shannon MacKenzie
Bachelor of Nursing

Shannon travelled from Calgary, Alberta, to attend convocation, and completed her Bachelor of Nursing degree in four years.

She plans to continue working after graduation, and although the health field is undergoing restructuring in her home province, says that her degree will open more doors within a nursing career.

?I might do my Nurse Practitioner [program] or do my master’s later on,? she says.

Meeting new people and making friends was one of the most enjoyable parts of the AU experience for Shannon?with one of the biggest surprises being how easy it was to procrastinate when it came time to study!

Congratulations, Shannon!



Vikas Kukreja
Master of Science, Information Systems

While completing his Master of Science degree, Vikas enjoyed the flexibility of working online?a learning mode that encourages students and instructors to stay in touch after the program is complete.

?I don’t lose any contact with teachers or my classmates, and that was the most enjoyable part,? he says.

There was a learning curve when adjusting to distance education, but ?then the second course became so easy,? and subsequent courses easier still.

The degree will allow Vikas to specialize in his field and he has several research ideas in mind for a PhD. For students just starting out in the program, Vikas says that AU’s credibility makes it a good choice. While travelling during his studies, he found that it was one of the few universities mentioned at the Canadian embassy in Dubai.

?The greatest return you get is when you invest in yourself,? he adds, and encourages students to pursue their goals.

Congratulations, Vikas!

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