Amanda Kaskiw

What education have you taken?

I graduated from Rossburn Collegiate with Honours and received the Alicia Lawless Memorial Scholarship for demonstrating a compassionate and friendly personality. I obtained a Certificate in Office Administration from Assiniboine Community College, and am now in my second year of a Psychology Major and a Gender and Women’s Studies Minor at Brandon University.  I have also participated in the 2010 Explore Program at the Universite de Montreal, where I took French, and have also taken Conversational Spanish 1 at Assiniboine Community College.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

While growing up, I was a member of the Shoal Lake Helping Hands 4-H Home Ec. Club as well as the Rossburn Riding Mountain Wrangler’s 4-H Horse Club, where I was a member for ten years and held the position of Treasurer in my final year. Personal accomplishments that I am especially proud of include horseback-riding, playing a variety of sports including volleyball, basketball, and softball, playing the piano and singing. I was also a member of the Shoal Lake and Strathclair Highschool Band, where I played the flute. At Brandon University, I am a proud to be a member of the Women’s Collective and the World University Service Canada.

Presently, I am living in Brandon and have been involved with some truly great organizations. One of my favorite organizations has been the Brandon Humane Society. I think it is great that so many awesome people are willing to volunteer to give animals hope. I have been a volunteer at this Humane Society for about three years. While in Brandon, I have also been able to participate in what I think of as a “language exchange” where I volunteer with various organizations to help others learn English while they teach me their language. Recently, I have become active in a small charity called Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a small, grassroots charity that helps women and children in Africa.  In my Gender and Women’s Studies class, I was fortunate to hear Carolyn Mcbeath speak about the oppression women and children face in some regions of Africa. I decided that I wanted to help those women because I know how fortunate my life has been in comparison, and I simply wanted to “pay it forward” to those women and children. With the help of some other truly admirable and beautiful women, I was able to host a Chili Fundraiser at Brandon University, where we were able to raise $340. To compliment our Chili Fundraiser, we will also be hosting a Valentine’s Day Bake Sale on Valentine’s Day to continue raising money to help others less fortunate.

Tell me about yourself / your background / your history.

The best way to describe Amanda Kaskiw is probably as a girl with a wide variety of interests and a special passion for horses and animals who is compassionate, friendly, and has a great sense of humor.  I am particularly fortunate to have grown up in a large, wonderful and supportive family. I was particularly inspired by the many women in my life. My mother, sister, aunts and grandparents have all been great inspirations to me through their accomplishments achieved through hard work, perseverance and a positive attitude.  This inspiration and support has created a need for me to provide that support for others.  When in need of inspiration, I simply think of all the women who have taken the time to give me a leg up (literally, if I was horseback-riding) whether it be my 4-H leaders, piano teachers, professors, instructors, co-workers, friends or family.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

Psychology is interesting to me because I am curious as to how humans connect themselves to the world. Learning theories of predicting behavior is interesting, and I feel like I have an intuitive understanding of human behavior. Gender and Women Studies is fascinating to me because I love learning about all the inspirational women who have brought forward the freedom we have today as women. I also find contemporary issues such as masculinity and what being a woman in the 21st century means to be quite relevant and interesting.

What is your philosophy in life?

As my philosphy in life I would like to share the following quotes that hang on my bedroom door and above my bed!

“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

“Starting over is the bravest kind of starting there is.”      – Dan Taylor.

“Statistically, 100% of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.” – Wayne Gretzky.

These quotes provide the framework and courage for me to live my life, because they help put my successes and failures in perspective. They remind me that I shouldn’t become complacent with success, or upset or frustrated with failure,  and that sometimes the courage to try is the most important and satisfying achievement or lesson learned.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the near future, I plan on graduating from Brandon University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Gender and Women’s Studies. My desire to help others has me considering the field of Nursing at Brandon University. Ultimately, I hope that I can have a career where I contribute positively to the lives of others, travel and have my own family.

Nominator’s Comments:

I only recently met Amanda, but I immediately knew she was a truly wonderful person. When I met her, she was serving chili and the Ubuntu Fundraiser which she organized. Ubuntu is a privately run organization that does work in impoverished areas of Africa. I quickly recruited her to be part of WUSC and she has been a dedicated member since then. Amanda assisted with the most recent Textbook for Better Lives Book Drive and continues to be a supportive, engaged, and active member of WUSC. I am positive that there will be great things in her future.