VIU Alumni magazine - Journey, Spring 2010

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Vancouver Island University alumni magazine

Text of VIU Alumni magazine - Journey, Spring 2010

  • Kirsten SchuldNursing alumna brings help andhope to victims of one of theplanets largest natural disasters


    Pub. Agreement No. 40063601


    VIU Journey 2010 - 1 Spring_Journey 2010 3.1 Spring 10-03-30 10:08 AM Page 1

  • Keep in touch with your fellow VIU graduates and rediscover the spirit of living and learning on the West Coast. Update your contact information at and stay informed

    about relevant news, reunions, and events.

    Have you purchased your Alumni Privilege Card?VIU alumni can purchase an Alumni Privilege Card for an annual fee of 10 and receive discounts from:

    Purchase your Alumni Privilege Card from the Development and Alumni Oce, 114-59 Wharf Street,Nanaimo, or the VIU Welcome Centre, Nanaimo campus.

    VIU Alumni RelationsPhone: 250 740 6215

    Fax: 250 740 6491E-mail:

    The success of any school is determined by the strength of its graduates.

    VIU LibraryVIU Gymnasium

    VIU TheatreDiscovery Room

    VIU ResidencesVIU Bookstore (Nanaimo Campus)

    Milner GardensFairwinds Golf Course

    Rediscover Your School Spirit

    VIU Journey 2010 - 1 Spring_Journey 2010 3.1 Spring 10-03-30 10:08 AM Page 2

  • ON THE COVER: PHOTO BY GUNTER PICHLER Journey Spring/Summer 2010 1

    C O N T E N T S

    09 Keeping it Clean VIU faculty and alumni are protectingVancouver Islands groundwater

    12 The Heart of DisasterNursing graduate Kirsten Schuld treated victims in the aftermath of one of theworlds biggest natural disasters: the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004

    16 From Kenya to CanadaHow a young woman in an African refugeecamp seized an opportunity to study at VIU


    02 Explorations w

    04 Steps wPlans for a new Powell Rivertrades facility; Wood-red brickoven built; Young donor supportssturgeon

    19 Alumni In View wTeachers overseas; Dan Agius;Celebrating the Olympics; First-ever Alumni Association

    23 AlumnEye w

    28 The Home Stretch wWriting your way throughlabyrinths

    29 Events w


    VIU Journey 2010 - 1 Spring_Journey 2010 3.1 Spring 10-03-30 10:08 AM Page 1

  • LettersThank you for hosting an event foralumni in Tokyo, Japan. I was veryexcited when Theresa Meyer informed

    me about the reception and I signed up

    right away. It was wonderful to see so

    many friends from VIU, and we made a

    lot of new friends too.

    I also received my rst copy of Journey

    at the venue and realized that I have

    been missing out on exciting news

    from VIU.

    If VIU plans to host another alumni

    event in Japan, I would be pleased to

    attend again. Thank you for the

    opportunity to revisit our memories of

    studying in Canada.

    Chiharu Kikuta Iwaskow (BA 06)

    I dont know if this will mean much to

    anyone, but I had to tell someone!

    When I was reading the fall Journey

    online, I saw a familiar faceGunnar

    Myhrer (The Spirit of 83, Fall 2009).

    I met Gunnar while he was a sta mem-

    ber at Nanaimo Youth Services group

    home where I lived as a foster kid.

    Gunnar was an instrumental part of my

    youth, and I never had the chance to

    thank him. I was a pretty rough kid in

    those days (1986), coming from the

    streets to the group home just before I

    turned 15. As a VIU Phys Ed grad,

    Gunnar spent his time playing sports

    and camping with us. Let me tell you,

    we were not an easy bunch to teach

    team spirit to! We were long haired,

    with metal music crankin and more

    interested in playing beer games and


    I was a very angry, violent, and

    addicted young girl, sometimes

    overdosing every week. Many people

    did not think I would live to see

    adulthood. I still had more struggles,

    but I returned to school years later

    (with my father by my side) and we

    both graduated from the same program

    one year apart. I now write about my

    foster home and street experiences

    through spoken word, poetry and song.

    I have never forgotten Gunnar! I hope

    he knows he had an inuence on at

    least one youth who almost didnt

    make it.

    My Malaspina classmates might

    remember me as Aimee Smith, but I am

    now Aimee Chalifoux, daughter of Ken

    and Margaret Chalifoux (both Mal grads

    and the reason I went back to school).

    Thanks to Journey I have a chance to say

    a very special thank you to someone

    who I never had the chance to thank. If

    you read this, Gunnar, as well as Stuart,

    Dan and LauraKinanaskomitinawaw

    thank you all!

    Aimee Chalifoux (BA 08)

    Aboriginal Employment Assistance/

    Youth Support Worker, Rising Spirit

    Aboriginal Youth Centre (NENAS)

    Letters to the Editor

    2 Journey Spring/Summer 2010

    E X P L O R AT I O N S

    This past October I had the pleasure of travelling to Japan to

    host VIUs rst international alumni event in Tokyo. For

    more than two decades VIU has been a leader in

    international education and our exchange partnerships with

    students and universities in Japan are very strong.

    We met at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo and VIU alumni

    shared stories about their lives at VIU and their lives in Japan.

    New relationships evolved and old

    ones were cemented. Graduates from

    last year mingled with graduates of

    nearly 20 years ago. Company

    presidents shared insights with

    continuing students. Excited alumni

    shared memories of Homestay

    providers who are now family, and

    friends on campus who have become

    lifelong friends. A constant theme

    was how much they miss Canada.

    Even before one graduate told her

    story of travelling more than four hours by bus to attend the

    event, all of the alumni agreed that no matter where they

    live, their hearts remain with VIU.

    Japan was our rst international initiative and it will not be

    the last. Over the past four months, a student in VIUs MBA

    program has been working with the alumni oce to create a

    strategy for engaging our graduates around the world. I

    know there are many opportunities to

    start an alumni program in your

    region. Please write me if you would

    like to organize an event.

    I welcome your feedback and

    encourage you to keep in touch. I can

    be reached at

    David Forrester

    Manager, Alumni Relations

    Vancouver Island University

    Building World Wide Alumni Webs

    VIU Journey 2010 - 1 Spring_Journey 2010 3.1 Spring 10-03-30 10:08 AM Page 2

  • Journey Spring/Summer 2010 3

    As many of you discovered while you

    were students at Malaspina or VIU, the

    classroom isnt the only place you

    learn. Education also comes from learn-

    ing outside the classroom. Indeed,

    many of our students develop skills and

    gain experience by augmenting their

    classroom studies with

    experiential education

    in professional organiza-

    tions. This experiential

    education is a critical

    part of VIUs teaching

    philosophy and we place

    a high value on estab-

    lishing and reinforcing

    links with industry that

    provide real benets to

    our students and partners.

    Annually, more than 500 students

    fulll practicum, internship, or co-

    operative education positions with a

    wide range of organizations. For

    example, last year a team of business

    students travelled north to Aklavik,

    NWT, where they worked with business

    and government leaders and elders to

    produce an economic development

    plan for the remote community. Our

    carpentry students helped renovate the

    Canadian Red Cross oce in Nanaimo

    and sheries students helped Trout

    Unlimited Canada restore cutthroat

    salmon populations in Qualicum Bay.

    Our MBA program matches 140 top-

    level business students with internships

    in Canada and internationally each year.

    A complete list of VIUs applied

    learning activities would easily ll this


    For many years, faculty members and

    career services sta have

    driven these industry

    partnerships, but I

    believe that our alumni

    can increasingly play a

    valuable role in our

    students education by

    oering opportunities

    for practical experience

    in the workplace. The

    benets to the

    organization by mentoring an

    enthusiastic, committed student are

    enormous. Plus, many students return

    with their degrees, becoming a

    valuable asset to the organization.

    If you are interested in being a part of

    this network, please contact the

    alumni oce to learn how we can

    create a valuable partnership with your


    I welcome your comments at

    Ralph Nilson, PhD

    President and Vice-Chancellor

    Vancouver Island University

    E X P L O R AT I O N S

    Presidents Viewpoint

    Spring/Summer 2010 Volume 3, Issue 1


    Oce of Development & Alumni,

    Vancouver Island University

    Executive Editor

    Director, Development & Alumni

    Teresa Moore

    Managing Editor

    Manager, Alumni Relations

    David Forrester (Phys Ed 02, Rec & Sport 02)

    Editorial Assistants

    Janina Stajic

    Rachelle Stein-Wotten


    Marilyn Assaf

    Matt Carter