Jennifer Bryan

Jennifer Bryan

What education have you taken?

I have a Bachelor of Physical Education Studies with a double minor in Geography and Psychology and I am currently in the last semester of my Bachelor of Education After Degree with a focus on Senior and Middle years.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I’m proud of returning to Brandon University as a mature student and striving for and attaining the academic achievements I set out to achieve. It was a difficult decision to give up a good paying job and move back to Brandon to become immersed in the poor student way of life, but it is all paying off.

I’m proud of receiving the gold medal in physical education studies when I graduated in 2015. I didn’t know about the medals that were awarded when I started the program so to receive one was a true honour.

I have been extremely dedicated to my studies and that dedication has paid off with a number of scholarships being awarded to me, including the President’s Leadership Scholarship, which I have received twice. But I am most proud of the physical education scholarships I have received that were awarded to me by the faculty in the Physical Education department. It means so much to have my hard work and time spent helping my fellow classmates acknowledged in this way.

Away from school, I am very proud to be a member of Kin Canada. I am an active member of the Kinette Club of Brandon and was also a member in Thompson when I lived there. Kin Canada is an all Canadian service organization and through fundraising, meetings, conventions, and fellowship, this organization has taught me so much, but has also been a means of emotional/mental/social support.

Tell me about yourself.

I am a “Thompson Turkey”, born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba and proud of it. I graduated from R.D. Parker Collegiate in 1995 and attended Brandon University straight out of high school with not much success since I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was fortunate enough to play on the Brandon University Women’s Basketball team for that one season and made many lifelong friends.

After realizing that university wasn’t for me at that time, I got into the work force and through a promotion with Princess Auto moved out to Moncton, New Brunswick for 2 years. Living out there was a wonderful experience but it was far from family so I returned to Brandon and then soon after went back to Thompson to be closer to family and friends.

In Thompson I took on many different jobs, each offering more and different challenges as time went on. I started out working as a substitute teacher, then worked at selling and purchasing goods in the mining industry, which later led to a job as Purchaser for the Regional Health Authority, with a brief promotion to the Supervisor of Materials Management/Corporate Travel/Purchasing. I left this promotion behind to take on a job in Recreation as the Pool Manager for the City of Thompson and then took a completely different job as a Fire and Emergency Services Dispatcher, still working for the City of Thompson. It was during my time working with the City that I also took on coaching basketball at my old high school and realized how much fun I had in the school environment and that I needed to pursue my dream of being a teacher.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

I have always been a teacher, whether it was playing “pretend” school with neighborhood kids when I was 4, helping my mom put up her bulletin boards, or being a teacher assistant in high school for a physical education class and coaching volleyball and basketball teams. I always enjoyed school and taking on that teacher role. As a substitute teacher for the Mystery Lake School Division from 2004 – 2006, I came to realize that I was good at teaching and enjoyed working with kids.

I have always enjoyed sports, coaching, and physical activity so the decision to enter the Physical Education Studies program was an easy one and I enjoyed every minute in that program with the amazing faculty we have teaching and mentoring us.

Choosing geography as a minor was also a perfect fit since I believe learning should be experiential and what better way to learn about the world than to travel and experience it for yourself. I hope to take the knowledge I have gained, from the classrooms and lecture theatres of Brandon University and from my own travel adventures, to share it with students in my future classroom.

What is your philosophy in life?

“Fake it ‘til ya’ make it!!

Say Yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” – Tina Fey

You may not have all the answers or skills but go ahead and give it a try anyway, since you will likely surprise yourself with how good you really are and how much you already know.

Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself teaching somewhere in Manitoba, though I am still tempted to possibly try teaching overseas. I will be doing my last student-teaching placement in Kuwait, so if I like it maybe I will pursue that. I caught the “travel bug” years ago and want to explore the world. I plan not only see Kuwait while I am away student-teaching, but also to visit Switzerland, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe this spring before returning to Brandon for graduation. I want my future to be filled with teaching, adventure, and family so will also be looking into adopting a child from overseas once I have a teaching position.

Nominator’s Comments

Jennifer Bryan, 39 years old, graduated from Brandon University with a Bachelor of Physical Education Studies, and is currently finishing her last year of her Education degree. Jennifer has been placed on the Dean’s Honor list and inducted into the President’s Honor Society every year, from 2012 – 2015. Jennifer graduated with greatest distinction in Physical Education and was the recipient of various awards: Brandon University Physical Education Bruce Brinkworth Scholarship, Presidents Leadership Scholarships, Prairie Ford Dealers Association Scholarship, Brandon University Gold Medal in Bachelor of Physical Education Studies, Peter Dobson Memorial Scholarship, and the Donna and Bill Parrish Scholarship for Aboriginal Students.

Jennifer returned to school later in life to complete her education. In addition to her course load, Jennifer helped out extra-circularly in the community, public schools and on campus with Campus Recreation, Bobcat Athletics, and with the Brandon University Physical Education Club (BUPEC). She was very helpful in guiding and emotionally supporting younger students in their studies.

Jennifer has been on staff at Mini U since 2013, and has done excellent work with every position she has held: instructor, administrator, and head instructor. Jen’s life experience, work ethic and flexibility are her strongest assets, allowing her to excel at a variety of jobs, including pool manager, health authority head of purchasing, emergency medical dispatcher, substitute teacher, and YMCA before/after school instructor. Jennifer is a true leader, always thinking of and helping out others, yet still maintaining a high standard of achievement. I believe she would be an excellent candidate for this honour.