Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Students

SOCIAL WORK

Pushing her own limits so she can help others

Ashley Pierobon has always been inclined toward helping others, but it was not until her own experience with mental health that she gained a deeper appreciation for social work.

This quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross embodies where her passion for social work stems from: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

The social work program at TRU has transformed Ashley’s world view.

“It provided a safe space to explore topics that were extremely challenging to unpack. I learned about privilege, oppression, hierarchy, marginalization and how my social location affords me much more than I ever realized. This program opened my eyes to how powerful knowledge and learning can be and the importance of challenging societal beliefs.”

She built connections with professors who inspired her to push limits and strive to achieve goals.

“The support I received from them was pivotal in my growth and shaping the social worker and person I have become.”

TRU fostered Ashley’s career goals with valuable field education. She made connections with mentors who have helped her personally and professionally.

“The connection between theory and practice provided a space for me to self-reflect. This created a deep awareness of where my passion lies and the goals I hope achieve as a social worker. Additionally my final practicum placement is now the start of my career as practicing social worker.”


Ashley Pierobon
The support I received from them was pivotal in my growth and shaping the social worker and person I have become. Ashley Pierobon

SOCIAL WORK

TRU's Aboriginal community supports students

Social workers have helped Trisha Shorson in her own life — through the women’s resource centre, the child welfare agency and victim services. Aboriginal support workers helped her during high school.

“I am now just wanting to give back, and I feel that I have a great amount of experience that can relate to future clients.”

She decided on TRU because of the feeling of support and the sense of an Aboriginal community at the school. Trisha also liked how Kamloops has a big population, but not too big.

“I met a great amount of people and support here. I've gained a sense of family at the school's Aboriginal support building, and I have gained lots experience and built networks with possible future employers.”


Trisha Shorn
I am now just wanting to give back, and I feel that I have a great amount of experience that can relate to future clients. Trisha Shorson

EDUCATION

Education passion turns to pursuit of leadership role

Leena Yahia’s interests in equity and social justice education, higher education leadership, and organizational justice have led her to the Master of Education program at TRU.

She has a degree in English language and literature and a degree in pharmacy. After receiving a diploma in teaching English as a second language, her passion for education grew as she taught ESL in Vancouver and internationally. As well, Leena taught at the at the elementary, secondary and university levels for 12 years.

Quoting Justice Murray Sinclair, she believes that through education, “we can change the way we talk to and about each other.”

Leena appreciates TRU’s friendly and approachable instructors, along with the institution’s support for research.

“The opportunities for leadership and critical thinking are a great gateway to my dream of pursuing a PhD in educational leadership, and a future career in the leadership and administration of higher education.”


Leena Yahia
The opportunities for leadership and critical thinking are a great gateway to my dream of pursuing a PhD in educational leadership. Leena Yahia

EDUCATION

Showing First Nations youth the benefit of education

Growing up in a large family, surrounded by younger cousins, Tiffany Adams grew to love working with children from a young age. But her passion for becoming an educator was also fuelled by another source — the lingering effects of the Indian Residential School that once stood in Lytton.

“It has become my goal and passion in life to show the youth of my community, their parents and their grandparents that the education system that was once forced upon our people is no longer the type of education system offered today. I want my people to understand, as I have learned, that in order for us to survive and thrive in this ever changing and evolving world that we live in, we need to become strong, empowered and, most importantly, educated.”

The education program at TRU has been a life-changing experience for Tiffany. The small classes, the practica experiences and the expertise of professors have combined to make her feel ready for teaching.

“I felt like I was able to connect with each and every person in my cohort, and create friendships that go beyond the classroom — lifelong friendships. The professors were more than just teachers. They were always there to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give you that extra push when times were tough and you felt you could not go on.”

Two weeks after completing classes at TRU, Tiffany had two classrooms she could call her own for the remainder of the school year.

“I felt confident in taking on this endeavour and credit that confidence to my experience at TRU in the BEd program. My time at TRU had also opened many doors because I was able to build a number of connections with a number of schools (public and independent) through the many different practica experiences we had.”


Tiffany Adams
I felt like I was able to connect with each and every person in my cohort, and create friendships that go beyond the classroom — lifelong friendships. Tiffany Adams

EDUCATION

Supervisors an inspiration in pursuit of research

Hasan Kettaneh’s passion for educating and empowering others began when he worked with children who have hearing impairment as a certified Cochlear implant and rehabilitation professional.

“Helping these children satisfied me spiritually, emotionally, and holistically.”

After some additional training, he worked in Canada and more than 15 countries around the world which fostered his interest in intercultural communication and understanding.

“All these experiences helped me realize that it was time for me to further develop myself in education and leadership in order to be of service to more people around the world and make a bigger difference which is why I chose to start a master’s degree in educational leadership at TRU.”

Hasan likes the program at TRU because of the team spirit, connection, and inclusiveness among faculty, students, and administrators.

“Students can get timely feedback and support from their instructors and supervisors due to the wonderful open door policy. The diversity and inclusiveness of this program enrich the students’ learning experience and promote constructive and critical thinking in the classroom.”

Hasan has been inspired to do research on Glocalization — the ability to think globally and act locally in education and the simultaneity of both universalizing and particularizing tendencies — and its influence on student retention in higher education. He hopes to later focus his doctoral research on this concept and expand its application.

“My supervisors are always inspiring me and pushing me out of my comfort zone to achieve my goals and exceed expectations.”


Hasan Kettaneh
The diversity and inclusiveness of this program enrich the students’ learning experience and promote constructive and critical thinking in the classroom. Hasan Kettaneh

SOCIAL WORK

Hands-on approach allows exploration of interests

Karis Bergsma has been interested in social work for many years, and for many reasons, but it all comes down to her passion for social justice and social change in Canada.

She completed her first few years of general arts at TRU so it has always had a special place in her heart. And Karis appreciates the strong sense of community.

“What I love about the social work program at TRU is how it considers an Aboriginal perspective in every topic we cover. Within Canada especially, that is an important piece for social workers to be mindful of as we evolve into our professional careers.”

The hands-on approach used in the program has given Karis an opportunity to explore and discover what her career goals are.

“Having two practicums enables us to get a taste of what different fields and environments we can potentially work in.”


Karis Bergsma
Having two practicums enables us to get a taste of what different fields and environments we can potentially work in. Karis Bergsma

EDUCATION

Making a difference in the field of special education

For Vera Wu, education is the most effective way to make a difference.

As a counsellor, for example, she witnessed how specialized guidance helped students with special needs develop strengths not available in a regular classroom.

“Having learned 10 years of sign language and set up relations with the service groups for the disabled in my city, I am really interested in special education. And TRU gave me the opportunity to access the field I love.”

The small classes at TRU were a big attraction for Vera because they allowed her to learn through dialogue and debate.

“As I talk, I can think. Small classrooms mean more in-depth discussions and more time spent with each student.”

In addition, Vera appreciates the open-minded, helpful attitudes at TRU and individualized services for students.

“The MEd program is a formal start of my path in the educational field. My goal is to be a teacher while doing some research. I know there is still a very long way to go. But it is not too late to start.”


Vera Wu
Small classrooms mean more in-depth discussions and more time spent with each student. Vera Wu