Minds We Meet—Tianna Vonkeman

Interviewing Students Like You!

Who are your fellow students?  It can feel like you’re all alone in your studies, but across the nation, around the globe, students like you are also pursuing their AU education, and The Voice Magazine wants to bring their stories to you and vice versa.  If you would like to be featured next, do not hesitate to get in touch!

Lethbridge, Alberta’s Tianna Vonkeman recently enrolled in AU and is in the 3rd year of her degree in the Bachelor of Professional Arts in Criminal Justice.

Tianna completed her diploma from Lethbridge College before enrolling at AU with the goal of being “accepted to law school, specifically University of Victoria’s JD/JID Program.”

“I was debating between Lethbridge College, Athabasca, and Royal Roads for my degree.  When I spoke to an adviser at University of Victoria they helped me narrow it down to Athabasca or Royal Roads and I decided Athabasca gave me more freedom as I wouldn’t have to travel to the campus for any classes.”

Tianna has started her first two courses at AU and has been enjoying CRJS 492: Criminal Organizations.  She added, “I do find the lack of structure from AU intimidating, and with coronavirus I have had a hard time carving out time for my studies.  I took online schooling before AU, but I had a study spot that is now closed to the public and it’s been challenging to find a way around those obstacles.”

Tianna grew up in Lethbridge before moving just outside of London, England, in her 20s.  After meeting her now husband, she stated, “I lived with him there for a couple years and, after we were married, we decided to move to Canada.  He went back to school the first couple years after we moved back and got a diploma in Information Technology.  Shortly after, I started a job in corrections and finished my courses with Lethbridge College.  We have recently added a new family member, he’s a 10-week-old Siberian Husky named Tikaani, and all of our free time has been training and playing with him.”

Tianna doesn’t have much time for hobbies because of her hectic work schedule, stating, “I come home everyday excited to play with our puppy and spend time with my husband.”  However, she recently had the time to finish The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, mentioning, “It was an amazing book that kept me on the edge of my seat.  I …  finished it (in 2 days!) because it was so hard to put it down.”  As for television shows, she mentioned, “Most of what we watch at the moment is puppy training videos which have been very helpful and informative.  We normally watch UK shows, our favorite one right now is called Taskmaster which is a game/comedy show.”

Tianna’s bucket list is unique, revealing, “The number one thing on my bucket list would be swimming with humpback whales in Tonga.  Tonga is one of the places where humpback whales give birth and it is one of the few places where you can swim with them.  Every time I watch a YouTube where someone has swum with the whales I honestly tear up.  I can’t imagine the smallness and connection you feel when you are swimming with such a majestic creature.”

When asked if she could move anywhere in the world, she stated, “I would probably choose Italy or New Zealand if I had to move anywhere again.  I loved my time in Italy and found the culture and food intoxicating.  My husband and I have talked about moving to New Zealand because of their government responses and nature reserves, but we doubt we will move to another country again.”

I also asked about who she’d like to meet, if she could meet anyone at all.  “If I had the chance to meet any person, I would have loved to meet Princess Diana.  When I was growing up, I didn’t have many friends and would often choose to go sit in the library instead of playing at recess, I vividly remember sitting and reading any book I could about Princess Diana.  She seemed so elegant, kind, and thoughtful even though she was publicly humiliated and hurt by the British press and royal family.  I remember being distraught when I came home from school and saw the images of her car accident.  I found her strength of character so inspiring.  A couple years ago I worked for the UK government and we had a celebration at the Houses of Parliament which Prince William was meant to be at, and I so badly wanted to say how much Princess Diana inspired me, but unfortunately he was called away for the Air Ambulance that night.”

When asked about her proudest moment, Tianna stated, “My proudest moment would be moving to another country.  The year before I moved I had a bad breakup, decided to make a spur of the moment vacation to Japan, and, while travelling, met a guy who introduced me to my husband.  I am glad I had the courage to take the risk to move and be part of a relationship after the previous year was so difficult.  I learnt so much from my time overseas that couldn’t be taught in a classroom.”

In the future, post-AU, Tianna hopes “to graduate and go to the University of Victoria for their JD/JID program.”  She mentioned, “My ultimate goal is to become a lawyer.”

As some final thoughts, Tianna stated, “I am very excited to continue with Athabasca and hope the next semesters go better than this past one.  I hope everyone is staying safe and looking after themselves during this unprecedented time.”  Best of luck Tianna!

[Minds We Meet is one of the perennial favourites of students, so it was no surprise that one of them over the year was nominated.  For me, these articles are a large part of the mission of The Voice Magazine, to help us get to know the many, many others who are on similar journeys, no matter how far apart or different we may be.  This particular feature dates from early October, and it was noted “I loved the candor of Tianna, especially when she revealed her heart about sitting alone at lunchtime, not having many friends in elementary school.” ]