Meet the Class of 2017: Faculty of Health and Community Studies

June 13, 2017

Health and Community Studies graduates are in your community

Graduates of the Faculty of Health and Community Studies have expanded their minds, refined their points of view and sometimes challenged their beliefs to their very core. Now they’re ready to venture into the community and weave themselves into the social fabric of our society. Whether in education, health care, social work, corrections or policing, we know they’re destined to make a difference—and we’re proud to congratulate them on being part of the Class of 2017.

Kass Green

Social Work Diploma


Opening up was one of the things I really struggled with in this program. I grew up thinking I had to do everything on my own, and I saw being vulnerable as something to be ashamed of—that it made you weak.

I wrote a reflection paper early in my second year about a time that I really thought I was putting myself out there but wasn’t doing a very good job. When my prof returned the paper, there was a handwritten paragraph at the end. She wrote about how proud she was of me for reaching the conclusions I had about myself in that paper, that it was a big moment for me, and that there were people here to support me—I didn’t have to do everything alone.

For the rest of the year, whenever I was having a rough time, I would pull out that paper and read her comments again. It was one little paragraph, but for me, it was huge. It felt so good for someone to acknowledge that I was trying, that they heard me and that they understood my struggle. It motivated me and made me feel sincerely proud of what I had accomplished. That’s a big deal for students. Too often we get wrapped up in the little things—like whether we’re getting an A or an A-minus—and we just need to hear that it’s all good.

As much as it could feel emotionally draining, working through big challenges together as a community of students and faculty members is something that really does pay off in the end. I don’t think I’m the only student who now sees all of the challenges we faced as the highlights.

I was accepted into the Bachelor of Social Work program at MacEwan in the Fall, so I’m coming back. I saved that paper with my prof’s comments. I’m going to hold onto it.

Brie Poshtar

Correctional Services Diploma


I hated high school, so I took two years off after graduation. When my dad told me it was time to take a post-secondary program, I knew I wanted to help people. I just didn’t know in what way. I was looking around on the MacEwan website when I accidentally clicked on Correctional Services. It looked interesting, so I went to the info session and met a prof who really inspired me.

I knew I was in the right program on the very first day. I grew so much during my time at MacEwan, but I’m probably most proud of the field placements I did in my second year. I was really shy and hesitant to step outside of my comfort zone during my first placement at a halfway house, but it was such a great experience—and I even ended up getting hired there part time afterwards.

We make case plans for people, help them get jobs, set them up with places to go after they’re released and connect them with resources. People who are on parole don’t stumble into it—they’ve worked hard to get where they are and to change their situation. They’re trying to do better and they need assistance. Knowing that I can help them do that really inspires me. And I love the fact that my career will let me talk to and connect with people who I would normally never have the chance to meet.

Now I’m getting ready to go to Victoria in September and finish my degree in justice studies. I’m excited. And I know that working with people who are on parole is exactly what I want to do with my life.

Rodan Sabejon

Early Learning and Child Care Diploma


I was getting ready to write a final for a business course one day and I was really upset, so I went to a friend’s house to take a break. We talked about how I really didn’t see myself in a business career. At the same time, I was having conversations and playing with her children. My friend said, “You should go into early learning.” Even though I had been volunteering with kids’ groups and loved being around my nephews and nieces, I had never really thought about that as a career. But it made sense, so I took a chance.

The program wasn’t at all what I expected. All I really knew about early learning was from my own experience growing up in the Philippines. I thought the children would sit down and we would teach them the ABCs and their colours. But being an educator for young children is so much more than that. Children are strong and they learn in so many different ways. Seeing early learning this way made me realize this is where I want to be, that this is what I’m really passionate about.

It’s about more than a career for me. It’s about joy. This work isn’t always easy—there’s a lot of problem solving and behaviours to work through—but it’s something I really love. To me, joy is feeling content and good about where you are and what you’re doing. And that’s what I feel when I think about all of the different ways I can help families and children.

Peter Ward

Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapist Assistant Diploma


I’m interested in almost everything and have had several careers—I worked at a rehabilitation centre, launched a few businesses over the years and was a currency trader before the price of gold crashed one day back in April 2013. I was tired of working at home and knew I wanted to go back to school to study something new—I just didn’t know what.

So I applied for three different programs at MacEwan, and the first letter I got was from the Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapist Assistant program. Early on, I really thought the PTA side would be for me because I like science and biology, but it was an OTA field placement at a school district where I found the perfect fit.

I’m a tinkerer, so I quickly discovered that I really like assistive technology and switches (simple buttons that don’t look like much on their own, but with a little imagination can do all kinds of amazing things).

I was hired by the same school board I did my practicum with and I’m already working on all kinds of different applications for switches. Right now I’m setting up a student who is in a wheelchair with an iPad that has two buttons he can use to help him communicate. It’s really cool, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg—there is so much potential in this field.

That’s why I’m really excited about the future and being able to work on projects like integrating computer games into assistive technology, finding ways to capture dialogue so students can use switch technology to write essays, and working on a way to share solutions among schools and school boards.

With a bit of entrepreneurial thinking, the possibilities are endless.

Katirena Ganovicheff

Child and Youth Care Diploma


I came to MacEwan knowing that I wanted to be a teacher. My goal had always been to work up north with children in need, but I realized along the way that teaching wasn’t the right way for me to do it. The only way I can explain it is that, for me, the school system feels really black and white—and I want to work in the grey area in between.

When I came across Child and Youth Care, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. But it was more difficult than I first thought it would be.

These past two years have been a whirlwind of emotions and busyness and practicums. The highlight for me probably has to be my first practicum. I was at an outreach school and got to see firsthand the correlation between home life and school life.

There were points during both of my practicums where I wondered whether this is really what I wanted to be doing. But at the end of the day, I would go home smiling. Even if it was difficult, I know I did what I was supposed to do and that made me happy. It’s hard, but I love that. And I know this is exactly what I want to do with my life.

Bryden Serafini

Police and Investigations – Police Studies Diploma


I look at the world in a totally different way than I did two years ago. It’s easy to walk into a situation and think you know why something is happening, but now I understand how important it is to suspend my own judgment—to see that people are in different situations not necessarily because they want to be, but because of the circumstances they find themselves in. There are so many things I take away from my experience in the Police Studies program, but for me, that’s one of the most important.

I’m from a small town in Saskatchewan and I grew up playing hockey, so of course I dreamed about being a professional hockey player when I was a kid—I even played at the junior level for three years in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League before I came to MacEwan. But I always admired my uncle who is an officer with the Saskatoon Police Service, and when a police officer came to our class in junior high school, I started to think that might be the right career for me.

I knew from the very first day at MacEwan that I was in the right place. Policing is the kind of career where you can work in a team, give back and be a positive role model in your community. Those are all things I know I want to spend my career doing.

Jennie Whiskeyjack

Early Learning and Child Care Diploma

IMAGE_Convocation_Jennie_WI have five children between 7 and 18 years old, and I hope when they watch me walk across the stage at convocation that they can see themselves finding success in their futures and making their path in society. I’ve learned many things while taking this diploma, including the idea that learning doesn’t stop with one diploma—or even a degree.

I had been working with infants and toddlers in a daycare centre since 2007, and when my employer moved me into the preschool room, I knew I was supposed to be teaching the children something—I just had no idea where to start. Now I do.

It begins with observation—seeing children, what they know and how we can use that to extend their learning, and what they’re interested in and planning around those interests. It’s also about relationships, role modelling, teamwork and making connections to the Early Learning and Child Care curriculum.

I told some of my younger classmates that I wished I had taken this program before I had children—that they now have a valuable head start. It’s not too late. I practice what I teach with my own children and others. I am still making a difference every day in teaching children, and being the educator they deserve.

Earning my diploma is something I’m proud of, but it was a challenge too. Fitting in a two-hour commute, doing school work, helping my children with their homework and finding family time wasn’t always easy. I had to learn a lot about managing and negotiating time. I did my work while I was at school as much as I could, and when I got home my children’s homework always came first. There’s no way I could have done it without my common-law partner, Warren, my mother-in-law and my dad, and the support of my reserve. They were my inspiration and motivation to keep going, and I couldn’t have started or completed this journey without their assistance. Teamwork was the key for me.

MacEwan University is proud to celebrate the Class of 2017. Congratulations to this year's graduates, medal recipients and distinguished award honourees.

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