Mesha Richard

What Education have you Taken?

I did my elementary school in New Brunswick, high school in Ontario, one year of community college in Ontario for Developmental Service Worker, before deciding in to head off to university. I attended the University of Western Ontario in London for Political Science, but I am finishing my last year as a visiting student here at BU. This does not mean that I do not plan to take further classes down the road, only that after this spring my initial degree will finally be complete.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

While attending college, I worked with a riding program specifically geared towards individuals with disabilities. It was wonderful getting to work with both the people and the animals. Now that I live in the Brandon area I continue my love of animals by volunteering my time at the Brandon Humane Society, where I am also their Facebook page administrator.

Tell me about yourself/your background/ your history

I come from a family that has moved around a lot. I was born in New Brunswick and lived all over the province. Then I moved to southern Ontario, then Alberta, then back to Ontario, and now Manitoba. My father always said you have to explore your own backyard before traveling elsewhere, so we drove everywhere and I think I know all the back roads in the Maritimes at this point. Now, I need to work on discovering more of my surrounding area here in Manitoba in the same way. I was raised in a log cabin in the middle of the woods with an icebox and wood stove, but I’ve also lived in the big city (my father has lived in Toronto for some time now and summers were spent with him growing up). Nowadays I reside in CFB Shilo, since my partner is in the military. He’s with First Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (IRCHA). This is why my schooling has changed and my last year will be completed here at BU. I will be the first person on my mum’s side of the family to graduate from university. I love working with people (I’m not a quiet office cubical type), working with animals, travelling, reading, and always learning new things. Photography is my hobby (I do the photos for the Humane Society for instance) and I also used to be in a band as a singer for five years while living in southern ON.  My favorite food is Indian, or anything spicy, and I love to cook.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

I was raised by opinionated active parents, who told me that I could be anything, do anything. I wanted a career where I could work with people and where I could maybe also have the opportunity to travel and continue my education. I never had a set goal in life for a career, and my university multidisciplinary course selection attests to this. However, I felt that getting involved eventually in government would be a way to do good and make change from within the system.

Explanation: I was attending high school during the Harris government in Ontario when, the summer between my grade 10 and grade 11 year, the high school was illegally closed. We took the issue to court over the summer and forced the reopening of our high school. At the time I even spoke out on TV about the issue.  The following year the government closed the school illegally for a second time, since the court ruling was for the school to remain open for a minimum of five more years, and we no longer had the financial resources through the parent teacher council to take it to court again. The school closed and I was forced to graduate at a different high school. After graduation I applied to universities only to find out that my complete transcripts had vanished, and I was ineligible to attend any post-secondary institution. I would have to wait until I fit into the mature student  category. Once I made up my mind to return to university a second time, five years later, I decided that politics was definitely where I needed to be.

What is your philosophy in life?

My favourite movie of all time will always be “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  I may not always succeed in my attempts at work, family, education but if I can live a life like George Bailey then I’ll have lived a life worth living.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

This summer I’m working on sorting out a work placement abroad. I hope to be able to travel off and on for my work over the next few years before settling down closer to home. I’ll have lived in the countryside, the big city and also on a military base. I’ll have already lived in four provinces and travelled all across this great country. Later I’ll have also seen other nations and learned from working internationally. What other politician can say that? Most politicians come from a law or economics background, and too few have any experience with the majority of social sciences. I want to change that.

Nominator’s Comments                      

I’m very pleased to nominate Mesha Hollee Richard. She has joined our department and university this year as a visiting student, but has taken several of our courses, so we know her well. Besides being an outstanding student and having a delightful personality, she exhibits a thirst for knowledge the likes of which I haven’t often experienced in my many years as an instructor at BU, particularly because she is happy to share that knowledge with her instructors and colleagues. An excellent overall choice for International Women’s Day.