(This article first appeared in The Neepawa Banner on July 29, 2011)
Brandon, MB — Mark Williams was one of the more than 500 Brandon University (BU) students to cross the stage at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in early June.
Like many others, this graduate from Neepawa was closing one chapter of his life, while another was just on the horizon.
“I got my Bachelor of General Studies in 2007. I majored in Phys. Ed., Geography and History. I took two years off to work as a T.A. in the Brandon School Division, then I was accepted in the Faculty of Education,” he said. “I’ll be teaching Grade 9 and 10 classes in Rossburn and I’ll be coaching the girls’ volleyball team this upcoming school year.”
Following the advice of friends who were attending BU, Williams immersed himself in campus life from the start.
“I was involved in BU Athletics: I was the coordinator of the volleyball team. That helped me build relationships within the school and allowed me to take more pride in the university community,” he said. “I already miss BU. It’s the best thing. It’s a small school and so you get to know your profs really quickly. That helped a lot,”
Another graduate who appreciates the experiences that BU has to offer is Bradley Mabon, another Neepawa native, who just finished a Bachelor of Physical Education.
Like Williams, he is preparing for a career in education and will be returning to BU to continue his studies in the fall.
“BU is nice and close to home, and it’s small. I like that,” Mabon said. “From my experience, with phys. ed. and a biology minor, it was absolutely fantastic. It’s very personal. I’ve had classes with six people in them. Most of my profs know me by name. You can walk up to them and ask them questions. I really like that aspect.”
Williams and Mabon, along with Keely Woods (B. Ed.) agreed that BU is an ideal stepping stone for students coming from smaller communities.
“You’re not just a number at Brandon University. Even if it’s a small university, I consider it to be prestigious,” said Woods, who first obtained a Bachelor of Arts with a major in History and a minor in Psychology in 2009 at BU. “I made a lot of great friends there, not only my peers but also the professors that I had. I don’t think you would have that same chance at a larger university. Also, they always have a lot of good activities going on with the student union that I always tried to get involved in.”
With her two degrees in hand, Woods has landed a teaching job in Pierson, where she begins her career in September.
Others from Neepawa who also graduated this spring include Scott Taylor (B. Sc.), Stephen Parrott (B.Sc.P.N.), Angeline Wahoski (B.Sc.N.), Megan Smith (B.A.), Carrie Pardoski (Grad. Dip. Ed.) and Tammy Ballingall (M.Ed.)
Along with physical education, biology and education courses and programs, Brandon University offers a wide range of arts courses, including languages, fine arts and native studies; science courses, including a new environmental studies program; music performance and music education; nursing and psychiatric nursing; rural development; and applied emergency and emergency studies.
For complete course information or other details, visit brandonu.ca or call 727-9762.