Alumni Testimonials

What I loved most about this experience is even as an alumni I got to take the course and use it to further my passions in education. […] My major take away from this course and my time at VIU in the department is how relevant Anthropology is. I use the skills I learned through my degree every day that I am at work. I am proud to say that I am an anthropologist and even prouder that I got to use [this course] as a way to hone my skills.

-Vickie Gould (VIU 2020)

In 2007, I was in my last year of high school and my dad, who had recently taken an anthropology class at the then Malaspina University-College, suggested I take an anthropology class as an elective. I thought I was going to be a teacher and I could take a few electives to satisfy my graduation requirements. At the time I was not even sure what to expect, but it turned out to be one of the most important decisions I had ever made.
Anthropology courses opened my mind to many ways of being and enriched the way I see the world today. After several years abroad, I always felt a calling to come back to the Anthropology Department at VIU to finish the Anthropology degree that I still had not finished. The quality of education and care given by the professors of the Anthropology Department is astounding. I started back again in the Fall 2016 and graduated in Fall 2017. After starting an internship/summer job at the Nanaimo Museum in the summer of 2017, I was offered a full-time position. I am grateful for the dedication my professors gave me while advising me through my internship and directed study.

-Chelsea Forseth (VIU 2018)

One of the questions that it seems like nearly all Anthropology students are asked falls under the lines of "Anthropology? What on earth are you going to do with that?" While it is true that you are unlikely to find a job posting specifically looking for an Anthropologist in the local newspaper, anthropology students can forge a path of their own. The truth is that the skills and attributes that draw students to the study of anthropology, and the lessons that are learned through a degree will follow throughout a career regardless of where that path takes you. As a graduating student I am looking forward to incorporating anthropology into my Post Baccalaureate Education program at VIU. I cannot think of a better base through which to become a teacher.

- Jaime Stephens (VIU 2018)

"[...] As of approximately 8:50 p.m. tonight, I complete the final classroom session of a wild and wonderful ride at Vancouver Island University. It is the beginning of the end of an era.
I should add that, as a departing student, I aspired to claim the post of Valedictorian in this winter’s graduation proceedings. I wasn’t successful. And that’s okay. This is not a time to be sad or upset. This is a time for celebration. This is not a concession speech; it is a victory speech. It is also an opportunity for me to say goodbye and reminisce."

[Excerpt, read Samuel's full speech]
- Samuel Joseph (VIU 2016)

"I was pretty leery coming back to university as a mature student 20 years after graduating high school, but once I grounded myself as an Anthropology Major there was no questioning that I was in the right place. One of VIU's most wonderful attributes is how personalized a student's experience can be. The class sizes are small and many powerful conversations can evolve within them as a result. At VIU it is possible to develop meaningful friendships with your professors and when your professor has the opportunity to really get to know you, then they become better situated to steer you in a more personalized direction best suited to your interests and skills. I have witnessed professors at VIU repeatedly go above and beyond for their students. It is PURE inspiration, as a student, to be in a learning environment where the professors believe in you in this way and this kind of support and guidance becomes a pivotal contributor in laying a strong and unique foundation for student success. Thanks VIU!! I will be forever grateful for so many wonderful and insightful moments experienced throughout the process of acquiring my degree here."

- Katriona Auerbach (VIU 2015)

"I came to VIU as a mature student who transferred from North Island College, and even though I knew I was a bit older and a stranger to Nanaimo, I knew that I mattered. I received nothing but support and encouragement from the staff and faculty in the Anthropology department."

- Cari McIntyre (VIU 2015)

"I took many courses at VIU that impacted me so greatly that I left with the feeling that every person on this planet should - no - must take this course in order to make the world a better place. Although I experienced that across a variety of disciplines, it was most often, and most emphatically in Anthropology. Anthropology at VIU is a life changing program. So much of who I am today - my worldview, my thought processes, the ways in which I interact with others and deal with adversity - was influenced by my journey through Anthropology. I was granted opportunities to publish my work, to present at conferences, to engage with the local and global community, and to develop deep connections with professors. I learned how to learn, how to think, and how to see the world through perspectives I never imagined possible. I think what I'm trying to communicate is, the VIU Anthropology program is so much more than a collection of courses that will teach you facts; it's an experience of personal development where you learn to question what you always assumed to be true, and you learn that, instead of just the lifestyles you have been exposed to, there are innumerable ways to be a human being, and excitingly, never enough time to come to appreciate all of them."

- Celia White (VIU 2013)

"Attending VIU Anthropology classes significantly impacted my life. Being fully engaged in the classes you cannot help but examine and refine some of your world views. For me awareness and views in certain areas were strengthened or changed to the point that I made major life changes to create harmony with my views and actions. Two and a half months after graduation I obtained employment with an NGO because of the classes I had taken at VIU.
I have been traveling in Central America for 18 months and I will return to El Salvador [2015] to continue my travels. Knowledge from the Anthropology classes improves my experience while traveling, deepening my understanding of what I witness. This knowledge increases my safety and assists me in developing meaningful new relationships. I feel the Anthropology of Education class has been a benefit even in teaching scuba diving in Honduras, as students came from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. I highly recommend VIU's Anthropology department and courses. The quality of instruction along with the genuine concern for students is impressive."

- Kathleen Fenner (VIU 2011)

"I was fortunate enough get a job in Nunavut with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) as the Policy Analyst in the Social Policy Department in 2011, and it has been an amazing experience so far. I work on files that put what I learned at VIU to good use every day.
In my work, I represent QIA on the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, the Nunavut Food Security Coalition, and the Qikiqtaaluk Socio-Economic Monitoring Committee. I have managed the bilingual (English and Inuktitut) publication of two books based on the work of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission, which examined the impacts of government decisions on Inuit mid last century. 
Currently I am leading a team of community based researchers in a project about the community impacts of resource development. The research project has brought together a group of project partners - including Laval University, the Nunavut Literacy Council, and the Nunavut Anti-Poverty Secretariat - to assist QIA on this work.
I often wear my 'Global Studies/Anthropology' hat as I try my best to advocate alongside Inuit. All of my work at QIA puts to use skills learned at VIU during several classes, including Research Methods, the Anthropology of Homelessness, and Ways of Seeing. I even used the consent form from 'Homelessness' as a template for the one we'll use in this project!
I know that the learning and experiences I had at VIU continue to deeply influence my life and my work. Qujannamiimarialuk [a big thank you] VIU!"

- Bethany Scott (VIU 2010)

"My time in the Anthropology department at VIU has been well spent. It has taught me to be accepting of the beliefs and traditions of other cultures. As well, Anthropology has taught me to be critical in my thinking and what I see and hear every day; it has given me the confidence to move on to graduate school."

- Kris Carter (VIU 2008)

"Vancouver Island University’s anthropology program transformed my life. The department’s multi-faceted, multi-stream approach allowed me to explore many fascinating avenues before settling on a career as an applied cultural anthropologist.  Anthropology not only broadened my horizons, the department’s many talented and dedicated professors challenged my belief system, honed my critical thinking skills, and provided the critical framework from which I moved on to do graduate work and start a successful tutoring and research business (working with clients who experience barriers to their academic success). Believe me, taking anthropology courses at VIU is the best thing that you can do for yourself. I guarantee it will rock your worldview—and that’s a good thing!"

- Liz Harvey-Carter (VIU 2006)

"I am very proud of my alma mater. After attending Concordia for graduate studies, I found that [VIU] gave me a more rounded view of anthropology than those that the students from even Concordia received. I have a better understanding and consequently, more adaptable way of considering issues, a different way of seeing, if that makes sense. Most of the students have been to universities that taught only Social Anthropology and have no background in the other sectors of anthropology, such as, the physical, biological, linguistic, and archaeological aspects. To tell the truth, they have expressed the wish to have had the same training. Hurrah for [VIU], keep up the good work! Maybe if all taught the full spectrum, there would not be this "Crise de Coeur" in anthropological/ethnographical studies that is being inflicted on us graduate students now. [...] All my instructors at [VIU] have been enthusiastic about the courses they teach, inspiring always, and have been supportive of me and all their students. Their welcoming "open door" approach meant a lot knowing how much work is involved in teaching at a university level. I strongly advocate students to consider taking anthropology at [VIU] and even encourage students at Concordia to transfer there!"

- Marie-France Germain (VIU 2006)

"As a student in the Anthropology Department of [VIU], I was inspired! My instructors inspired me to imagine, to question, to notice what intrigued me, and most of all to act on my own curiosity. My first tentative steps at research were not dampened, but encouraged, and amazingly out of it came something new and unexpected (in the archaeological record). Here the instructors exemplify a true spirit of enquiry, to which their own lives and studies are a testament. My education was exciting. It can't get better than that!"

- Nancy Greene (VIU 2004)

"I highly recommend Vancouver Island University’s Anthropology program for anyone seeking a rich, interesting and interdisciplinary education. As a former graduate, I can honestly say that majoring in Anthropology was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made. By embracing its philosophies and principles, I now look at the world in new and nuanced ways. The faculty’s passion for mentoring was palpable and contributed to a unique and dynamic learning environment that not only inspired me but left me wanting more. Their diverse research interests in archaeology, biological and cultural anthropology culminated into a rich and powerful program that continues to serve me well. For both my MA (UWO 2003) and PhD (McMaster 2012) research, I was able to draw from these experiences to develop an integrated and comprehensive template for investigating the impact of environmental protection and tourism development on a Bedouin population in southern Jordan."

- Laura Strachan (VIU 2001)

"The anthropology department at [VIU] prepared me well for graduate work at UBC. In the process of preparation I found encouragement, challenging ideas, flexibility and exciting knowledge in the classroom. If you are a "mature student", trust me, [VIU] and the anthropology instructors are supportive. I had tipped the age 60 line when I graduated from [VIU] and was accepted in grad school at UBC (now completed, 2004). [VIU] anthropology tops my list of learning experiences."

- Jackie Bate (VIU 2001)

"I must say my fondest memories and my best experiences were at [VIU] which I cannot say enough about. I am always recommending [VIU] to people thinking of doing their BA degree. You have the best teaching staff, the best location, the friendliest and most supportive staff."

- Lori McFayden (VIU 2000)