By Jillian Austin
As a child, Janice Dutchak was often the voice of reason.
Staying “level-headed and calm”, she would help people solve conflicts, while striving to understand both sides of the story.
“People would always come to me to resolve disputes,” she recalled, adding she’s always liked to help people whenever she could.
That natural gift sparked a desire to pursue a career in law, and Dutchak will be making that dream a reality. After she graduates from Brandon University in 2023, she will be heading to law school. “I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, that’s something I’ve always wanted,” she said. Deciding what to study for her bachelor’s degree didn’t come as easily, but she found the right fit with the support and guidance of her professors.
“The professors were so nice, they were willing to guide me,” she said, adding Sociology was a subject that both challenged and interested her.
She ultimately decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree, with a major in Sociology, specializing in the Crime and Community stream. She will also be graduating with a double minor in Psychology and Political Science. In addition, Dutchak received her Justice Systems Certificate. As a busy full-time student, Dutchak said being a scholarship recipient helped immensely. She was able to focus on her academics and not worry as much about finances.
“I’ve been very thankful for (the scholarships),” she said. “They’ve been an inspiration for me, especially all the donors … and I hope to pay it forward someday too.”
Dutchak has thoroughly enjoyed her time at BU, where she met many new friends, and was involved in different activities including a new student club called the BU Sociological Society.
“I got to know more people that were in the same sort of field or hoping to do the same things in the future,” she said.
The global pandemic impacted a good part of her time at university, with many classes conducted virtually. She was happy to be able to be back in person for her final year.
“It was great to see faces and people smiling again and not just boxes with names,” she said. Born and raised in Brandon, Dutchak had interests in music and choir as well as yearbook and photography. She feels connected to the community, and it was important for her to attend BU in a city she knows and loves.
“Brandon has always been a friendly place where it is easy to find kind-hearted and generous people, which is why I am glad to call it home. It’s great to see people are back doing the things they used to do and connecting with others like they did prior to Covid.”
When asked what advice she has for future students, Dutchak said: “To not be afraid to ask for help, stay deeply motivated, be yourself, know your limits, and put your full potential into your work.”