Vanessa Bodnar

VanessaBodnarWhat education have you taken?

I attended Ste. Rose School from K-12 and graduated in 2008.  I will be graduating from Brandon University May 2013 with a B.S. 4 yr. honors.  My major is Biology, in the Ecology and Evolution Stream, and my minor is Geography.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

At graduation from Ste. Rose School, I received many generous scholarships from my home community.  I was also a recipient of the Senior Celtic Award, for having over 100 points earned from academic, athletic, and extracurricular achievement.

During my years at Brandon University, I gratefully received other awards for academic and athletic achievement including Dr. Henry Heard Marshall Scholarship in Botany and Business Council of Manitoba Aboriginal Education Award.

I have had fun volunteering in the Student Leader program, Western Manitoba Science Fair, and the Brazil pavilion during the Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival.  I am currently involved in the Brandon Badminton Club and the Omulu Capoeira Guanabara Westman group.

Tell me about yourself/ your background/ your history.

I was raised on a mixed farm near Rorketon, MB. My parents instilled in me a love for the country life, whether it is checking on cattle in the pasture, biking to the lake for a swim, or relaxing in the sauna.  They also taught me the importance of hard work and humility.

I play a wide variety of sports including gymnastics, soccer, badminton, basketball, volleyball, long distance running, baseball, track and field.  I love outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and camping.  I like to play music and draw sometimes too.  I also enjoy helping with maintenance of the university greenhouse.

One of the most challenging lessons I have learned is how to deal with difficult people.  I had problems with bullies off and on from elementary school to high school.  People saw my sensitivity as a weakness and used it to their advantage.  I felt like I was alone.  It took me a long time to realize that dwelling on the cruelty of people leads to pain and distrust.  I had to forget about vindictive people and focus on the kind hearted ones. Fortunately, I had good friends and family who helped me through those years.  I am very happy to have a loving and supportive mom, dad, sister, and fiancé.  We all enjoy a good laugh and being a bit crazy sometimes.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

I have always enjoyed being outdoors and finding adventures.  I find studying plants can be interesting and calming.  Botany and Biology seemed to fit naturally in my life.  I am fortunate to have had wonderful help and guidance that led me to these options.

What is your philosophy in life?

I like to keep learning and being open to different ideas.  Being open, mind, body, and spirit, makes me more alive.   I also try to remember that everyone can use a little kindness and understanding in their lives.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I could see myself conducting research in plant ecology and agriculture.  I am also considering a Masters program in the coming years.  I eventually plan to do some travelling, raise a family, and grow a very nice garden.

Nominator’s Comments

Vanessa Bodnar is in her Honours year in Biology. Vanessa has been an excellent student and has participated in research with Dr. McGonigle including field work this last summer in Churchill. Vanessa has won a number of awards and prizes during her term at BU.  She represents the high standards required for studies and research in Plant Biology.