Brush, Palette, and Psychology: Katelyn Brinkman, BA’15 is Studying Art Therapy
“Art therapy combines psychology, which was already my major, with art, which is my passion. I didn’t know I could pursue art therapy as a career. It really combines my two loves,” she said.
“The past two months have been full of learning for me. The program is challenging, but it proves to be such a rewarding field of work.”
The program at Concordia is the only master’s level professional training program in art therapy in Canada. Last year, they accepted only 13 students.
Brinkman is learning to assist those with emotional and psychological difficulties in dealing with their problems by coming to an understanding of what their art means.
“I’m excited to really discover what art means and to explore all the things I practice in art with painting and drawing and to find out what that means psychologically,” she said.
She is currently doing a practicum with Alzheimer Group, a day center for people who have varying degrees of the disease.
“The role of an art therapist is to assist clients in the therapeutic process of creating art,” Brinkman explained. “This type of therapist allows clients to explore art as a form of expression and self-meditation. It’s the role of the art therapist to assess their clients’ artwork and interpret the psychology behind it with the purpose of helping and providing therapeutic relief to the client.”
Brinkman, who hails from Avondale, NB, believes the interdisciplinary nature of her liberal arts background is an advantage.
“While attending STU, I developed a frame of mind that inspired me to want to help others. Through my liberal arts education I was encouraged to explore theories, genres, and cultures different than my own. As a result, I now feel equipped to embark on a career where I work with people from all demographics. It’s my intention to use what I’ve learned at STU, both inside and outside the classroom, as I further my education and begin to work as an Art Therapist.”
Brinkman came to St. Thomas so she could take a variety of courses and find what she liked—which turned out to be psychology and fine arts.
“I learned a lot about myself studying psychology, so it was really interesting,” she said. “I think I also like it because I can use it to help other people.”
After she completes her graduate studies, Brinkman hopes to work with disabled clients or within the criminal justice system.
STU Alum Advocates for Transgender Equality
AJ Ripley, BA ’08, was never one to sit quietly on the sidelines, especially when they witnessed prejudice, injustice or inequity.
Now, the STU alum is using their voice to advocate for transgender Canadians.
“I think it’s important to advocate because I want some young trans person out there who just got fired or kicked out of their house, or sexually assaulted to know that they have a community in me. That I can shout for them while they find their voice.”
Ripley hosted and co-produced “On Hold,” a documentary about Canadian transgender health care access which will air on Vice.com starting on October 7.
“When VICE approached me to host the documentary I agreed because I thought it was important to show Canadians what healthcare access looks like nationwide for trans people,” Ripley explained. “Even in provinces doing it well, like Ontario, there are issues with training medical professionals and transphobia, not to mention horrendous wait times for people looking to access gender reassignment surgery. What we learned through making the documentary is that waiting for these surgeries equates to death.”
Statistics show that 43 per cent of trans people attempt suicide. Ripley said calling it “suicide” takes the onus off the government.
“And that's who's responsible. Ask any psychologist, general practitioner, or healthcare professional who works with the trans community and they will tell you that suicide ideation and attempts drastically decrease once a trans person has access to transitioning (whether that's medically through surgery and hormones or socially through legal means such as name changes and proper gender marker indications on identification documents). These people are dying from lack of access and intentional neglect. Calling it suicide doesn't give the whole picture.”
Ripley said the New Brunswick trans community is especially vulnerable, as New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that doesn’t cover gender-confirming surgeries – something they hope will change soon.|
“I hope the doc will bring national attention to the barriers to access for trans people trying to navigate the healthcare system in our country,” Ripley said.
“I hope it will loosen regulations and gatekeeping around who can receive gender-confirming surgeries, and encourage a dialogue into expanding what type of procedures are offered. I hope the documentary will put pressure on the government to shorten wait times for trans people on the list to accessing these surgeries. And, ultimately, I hope this documentary will help prevent trans people from dying of neglect.”
Although Ripley has vowed to keep fighting until transgender people have the same rights as everyone else, they admit they can’t do it alone.
“If you're an educator, teach your students about gender inclusive language and the importance of names and pronouns. If you're in a position of power, hire qualified trans people. If you're a cop, stop arresting us. If you're a doctor, please treat us like every other patient.”
You can watch the documentary on Vice.com by clicking HERE.
You can read more about AJ Ripley on their blog http://transcanadamyway.com/.
“Hard Work, Late Nights and Sacrifice”– 19 Tommies Receive CIS Academic All-Canadian Award
This distinction is given to student athletes who compete in the CIS and maintain an A- or 80 per cent cumulative average or better in their courses.
Emily Francis, a fourth-year forward for the Tommies women’s hockey team, sometimes struggles to balance academics and athletics, but couldn’t imagine her university experience without hockey.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself, achieved things I never thought I would, and made lifelong friends. All and all, being a student athlete has been the best experience,” she said.
The Barrie, ON, native committed to the Tommies’ hockey team and applied to the university before ever visiting campus. She had a feeling St. Thomas would be the perfect fit for her, and it was.
Being named a CIS Academic All-Canadian is an added bonus for the Criminology major, and is the result of balance and hard work.
“This was something that I really wanted and worked for. It’s an honour to receive this award,” she said. “As a team we strive to have as many girls as possible reach this goal, because at the end of the day we are students first.”
Keeping the “student” ahead of the “athlete” can be difficult for some, but not for Francis. In her mind there’s a clear line, and her drive to compete with the Tommies fuels her performance in the classroom.
“The way I see it, if I do well in school I get to play the sport I love almost every day,” she said. “It’s so easy to do the bare minimum in the classroom and just focus on your sport, but finding a balance between the two will make your university journey that much more rewarding.”
Elizabeth McArthur, a Journalism major from Tay Creek, NB, joined the cross country team in her second year at St. Thomas and was worried she wouldn’t be able to juggle the responsibilities of a student athlete.
Now, she’s a CIS Academic All-Canadian.
“I’m so proud of myself. All the hard work, late nights, and sacrifice paid off, and I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “It just goes to show hard work, perseverance, and dedication to both school and athletics does pay off in the end.”
Finding the right balance between course work, training, and competing has been vital in McArthur’s success academically and athletically. Being a student athlete has helped her study and train harder.
“Being a student athlete gives me a lot of motivation to be better academically but still achieve my personal goals in training. Becoming a student athlete has definitely helped me come out of my shell a lot, and gave me the confidence boost I needed,” she said.
Full List of 2014-15 Recipients:
Jeremy Trevors, track and field
Erin MacIsaac, hockey
Paul Nozicka, cross country
Elizabeth McArthur, cross country
Andrea Fischer, hockey
Stephanie Gates, track and field
Jordan Moore, hockey
Felix Poulin, hockey
Jenna Scott, hockey
Bryce Milson, hockey
Emily Francis, hockey
Kristina Kocsis, hockey
Samantha Squires, hockey
JC LaFlamme, hockey
Stefan Savoy, cross country
Myfanwy Thomson, hockey
Rankyn Campbell, hockey
Jason Trott, hockey
Spencer MacDonald, hockey
STU Cares Day of Action Provides Students with the Opportunity for Community Service
Fifty students took part in the STU Cares Day of Action. The university partnered with the United Way to organize the event, which involved volunteering with one of five of its member organizations.
Students spent the day sorting clothes at the Fredericton Homeless Shelter, serving food and organizing shelves at the Community Kitchen, painting walls at Family Enrichment and Counselling Services, painting and gardening at the Marysville Community Centre (The Ville), and undertaking a mini-awareness campaign for Hospice Fredericton.
Through participating in service activities at these organizations, students developed a better understanding of people’s experiences—near and far—and saw how they might use their education to help others. Students learned about social issues affecting those living in Fredericton including food security, homelessness, community development, mental health, aging populations, and sustainability.
President Dawn Russell said an event like STU Cares is a perfect fit for STU, a university committed to community service and social justice.
“Through events like these and your class work, you come to know the world better and you come to know yourself better,” she said. “If you couple hard work, education and a commitment to society you can change the world by changing your neighbourhood—that is a priceless experience.”
Using Their Education to Help Others
“I got some hands on experience today,” one student who volunteered at the homeless shelter reflected.
“I want to venture into social work and this helped me believe I can make a difference if I try hard enough … I now think differently about the people I encounter on the streets or in everyday life and what they have to go through. I also think differently about having a roof over my head and my privacy.”
The United Way facilitates these types of events for corporate groups every year. The difference with STU Cares is a reflection component that enable students to engage in service activities and make connections between that service and classroom learning.
“The best part of this experience was knowing this will have a positive effect not only on me, but also in the rest of the community,” reflected another student. “It’s great that STU also gives us lessons outside of the classroom.”
Excellence in Academics and Athletics – 18 Students Recognized as National Scholars
These athletes—from the soccer, volleyball, basketball and golf programs—maintained high academic standing while also representing the Tommies on the court, the field, or the green.
Sara Banks, a third-year guard for the women’s basketball team, said receiving this award is the result of hard work and dedication.
“It feels great to receive this award and it means a lot to me,” she said. “It shows that with some hard work and dedication you’ll be acknowledged.”
The Riverview, NB native knew St. Thomas offered a focused liberal arts education, but being recruited to join the nationally ranked women’s basketball team turned her interest in the university into a commitment.
“So far the student-athlete experience has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve been able to meet people and travel to places I would never have had the opportunity to go to without being a varsity athlete,” she said.
“It’s been an eye-opening experience that’s helped me learn a lot both on and off the court.”
Some of that off-court learning was adjusting to the balancing act student-athletes face, juggling courses, workouts, practices and games. For Banks, who plans to double major in Criminology and Psychology, the biggest key to success is staying organized.
“Balancing academics and athletics can definitely be tricky,” she said. “As long as you stay organized and really put some effort toward your schoolwork being a student-athlete is very manageable.”
Jimy Beltran, a second-year middle for the men’s volleyball team also recommends establishing priorities.
“Above all, set priorities. I know you will want to experience as much as you can, but being a student-athlete requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice,” he said.
Beltran is an international student from Quito, Ecuador, who was drawn to the university’s academic programs. He said receiving this award is an affirmation that he’s on the right track.
“I think the combination of being a part of a highly competitive team as well as being involved in a demanding academic environment has pushed me to be a more organized and mature person,” he said.
For Beltran, who’s majoring in Economics and Catholic Studies, it’s been a worthwhile sacrifice that has benefited him academically.
“I’m a very active person—I like to be busy both physically and mentally—and I think that if I gave up my athletic involvement my academic performance would suffer.”
CAA National Scholar Recipients 2014-15
Alisha Benedict – women’s soccer
Brittany Jenkins – women’s soccer
Elaine Gillis – women’s soccer
Emily Cronkhite – women’s soccer, women’s volleyball
Rebekah Romero – women’s soccer
Nicolas Levesque – men’s volleyball
Jimy Beltran – men’s volleyball
Sarah Watts – women’s volleyball
Shanna Cohoon – women’s volleyball
Amy Reid – women’s volleyball
Quentin Sock – men’s basketball
Jayme Hunt – women’s basketball
Sara Banks – women’s basketball
Erin MacIsaac – golf
Emily Francis – golf
Emmanuel Nizeyimana – men’s soccer
Josh Drennan – men’s soccer
Nicolas Brown – men’s soccer
Sara Banks - women’s basketball
Nurturing and Inspiring Students – Leigh Rivenbark Joins the St. Thomas University Musical Theatre Program in Fine Arts
A native of Fredericton, Rivenbark’s always dreamed of teaching full-time in his hometown and giving back to the community—that dream is now a reality.
“I feel a sense of calling to do this now,” he said. “I’ve been lucky to work as a professional director for many years, but I feel a deeper level of satisfaction when I teach. You are changing students’ lives in a major way.”
His calling to teach was reinforced when he received a letter earlier this year from a former student, who cited a moment in his class as the “first time she felt real pride.”
The letter had a real effect on Rivenbark.
“I was very moved that my class inspired her to become an arts educator. Her letter reinforced my passion for teaching.”
Aside from the positive influence he hopes to have on his students, Rivenbark is looking forward to directing the Musical Theatre class production of Rent from March 2-5, 2016, and contributing to the growth of the Musical Theatre program.
“Rent is a powerful and life-affirming musical. I think my students and audiences will connect with its edgy rock score and relevant themes,” he said.
“I also look forward to building on the foundation that Dawn Sadoway laid. Thanks to her exceptional work, the enrolment for Musical Theatre has doubled in only a year. And there's much opportunity for growth. There's a huge untapped market in the New Brunswick for students that crave professional musical theatre training in their home province."
In the classroom, Rivenbark sees himself as a mentor who focuses on nurturing and inspiring his students.
“In my teaching practice, I find that students thrive not only when they’re nurtured but when they're challenged,” he said. “I see myself as being a mentor rather than an authority figure. After all, my students are the future of musical theatre. I may be teaching them today and then working with them professionally down the road.”
Rivenbark is teaching four classes this year—Musical Theatre; Voice and Movement; Voice, Breath, and Body; and Music Theory—all of which he hopes will feed into the musical theatre component with an emphasis on creating a well-rounded performer.
He’s eager to get involved outside the classroom as well.
“I’m excited to get involved any way I can - whether that means mentoring students, sitting on committees, or supporting the work of my colleagues. I’m here to be used as a resource,” he said.
Rivenbark holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Alberta and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.
Live & Learn Student Skills Workshops -- Fall Schedule 2015
Location: GMH 301
September 11: How to Get Involved
Megan Thompson – President, STUSU
On campus and in the greater Fredericton Community, there are amazing opportunities to enrich your university experience. If you’ve wanted to get involved in an initiative or organization but have held back, now is the time to step up. This presentation offers a mix of information and inspiration for new students who want to put themselves out there.
September 18: FSACC Consent Workshop
Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre
Learn what sexual consent is, and when and how to ask for it.
September 25: Confidence and Communication in 15 seconds or less
This is not your typical “How to Give a Presentation” workshop. Working with STU Improv, you’ll learn how to engage your audience, field the tough questions, and become more confident. Be prepared to participate, become a ninja, and give a speech on a topic with only 15 seconds of preparation.
October 9: VOTING: How to Exercise your Democratic Right
Shania Maguire – Vice President, Education, STUSU
After five years of attack ads, question periods, and political speeches, it’s time for us to pick a new government. The federal election is on October 19th, and your VP Education is here to help get you to the polls!
October 30: You Can Do It All: Time Management
Brianna Matchett – Vice President, Student Life, STUSU
Students often run the risk of taking on too much. Your Vice President Student Life will teach you the art (yes, the art!) of balancing priorities, scheduling, and self-care.
Location: GMH 304
Facilitator: Linnet Humble, Writing Centre Coordinator
September 18: Note-Taking Tips
You know you should be taking notes, but you may not know why or how to do it. In this session, students will learn tips for taking useful notes, along with strategies for organizing and revising notes for review.
September 25: Organizing an Essay
Whether you’re writing an essay for English or a research paper for psych, there are ways to ensure you’re communicating your thoughts clearly on the page. Learn how to group ideas into paragraphs and how to write introductions, conclusions, topic sentences, and thesis statements to match.
October 16: Finding Sources for Research Papers
Find quality sources for your paper from the comfort of your dorm room! This session will show you how to find books and peer reviewed journal articles using the library’s online search engines. Students will practice identifying search terms, choosing and using databases, accessing ebooks and other full-text sources, and requesting items that aren’t available at UNB Libraries.
October 23: Using Sources in Research Papers
Avoid plagiarism by learning how to properly use research in your papers and presentations. Students will practice quoting, paraphrasing, and citing—all the skills you need to incorporate other people’s words and ideas into your work.
November 20: Writing Personal Statements
A special session for fourth-year students applying to grad schools and professional programs. Learn what to include in your personal statement, statement of purpose, or letter of intent. Tips for BEd and BSW applications will also be provided.
November 27: Study Tips
Quick tips from Peer Tutors on what to do before, during, and after exams.
Location: GMH 304
Morin, Student Counsellor
October 2: Speed Bumps (First Years)
The first year of university is trying for many students; new responsibilities and expectations can be overwhelming. Understanding these challenges early on can help you prepare for the speedbumps ahead. Join us as we discuss some typical transition issues and how to better cope with them in order to have a more successful first year.
October 30: Sleep 101
Did you know university students are one of the most sleep-deprived populations? Sleep deprivation in students has also been linked to lower GPAs because sleep affects concentration, memory and the ability to learn. Please join us in learning just how important sleep can be and get useful tips on how to make the most of the sleep you get.
December 4: Stress-Busting Tips
With exams approaching, some students feel like they’re locked inside a pressure cooker. Join us for a discussion on stress, how it impacts our lives, and what to do to curb it.
Location: GHM 304, unless otherwise noted
Facilitator: Trish Murray-Zelmer, Employment & Financial Aid Coordinator
Resumes, References and Cover Letters
(Single Session, Offered On Multiple Dates:) September 14, 21,
28; October 2, 5, 19, 26; November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 9:00 am
FACT: most students can’t get part-time jobs because their résumés and cover letters fail to communicate their skills, experiences and abilities. Shave weeks off your job search by learning how to describe your skills and customize your résumé for each job you apply for.
October 2: What’s Next? Resources for Graduating Students [2:30, GMH 301]
Graduating in 2016? Attend this event to get a head start on managing your post-grad life. We’ll answer questions about repaying student loans, searching for jobs, and tapping into programs that can help you.
October 9: Your Career, Your Life: Starting Your Career Journey [2:30]
Not sure what you want to do after university? That’s okay! Career development is a journey, not a destination. In this session, we’ll talk about your values, interests, skills and personality, and use these as a starting point for discovering what occupations may suit you.
November 6: Networking and Self-Branding, Online and In-Person [2:30]
Finding a job is all about who you know. Learn how to locate and form a relationship with the person who may be your future boss.
December 22-23: Operation: Job Hunt [9:00-3:00]
Didn’t have a chance to attend our employment workshops this term? Then this session is for you! This intensive two-day workshop will help you start your job search on the right foot.
Moot Court Gives Lindsay McLellan, BA’15, a Rare Advantage for Law School
St. Thomas offers the only undergraduate moot court program in Canada, and McLellan represented the university in two international competitions—one in Fitchburg, MA, and the other in Chicago, IL.
“Being involved in the program enabled me to stand out among a sea of worthy candidates during the competitive law school application process,” McLellan said. “The opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience where I was able to use my education in a practical way was something I couldn’t pass up.”
In Chicago, McLellan and her partner, Raissa Musoni, BA’15, crafted arguments based on U.S Supreme Court cases that dealt with two constitutional infringements—a woman’s 14th amendment right to an abortion and the first amendment right to free speech.
As the only Canadian undergraduate university competing at the Collegiate Moot Court Invitational Tournament, the STU duo turned heads when they cracked the top 16.
“Our arguments were as good as, and sometimes better than, students from the United States even though we’re from Canada,” McLellan said. “The highlight of my trip was when a judge, after he found out this was only our second competition ever, told my partner and I that he sincerely believed we had the potential to be a top-level team.”
A Liberal Arts Advantage
McLellan credits much of their success to Human Rights Director and Professor Dr. Amanda Diapolo, who coaches the moot court team. She also sees her liberal arts background as an advantage.
“At STU students are taught to think creatively and originally in order to recognize and critique structures that produce problems that we, individually or as a society, face. This is exactly what’s expected of a moot court competitor,” she said.
“My liberal arts education also allowed me to communicate my argument effectively to the judges, so it was incomparably helpful in preparing for, and competing in, moot court.”
This is a rare experience for an undergraduate student and one that McLellan said is irreplaceable as she pursues a career as a lawyer.
“This experience has been invaluable in my career journey, helping me enhance my written and oral advocacy skills and solidifying my choice to attend law school,” she said.
“When competing, a moot court advocate must deliver his or her argument while fielding questions from lawyers, law professors, and judges, and this experience really instilled a sense of confidence within me.”
It’s a confidence that McLellan will take with her to the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, where she will further her passion for social justice—a passion she developed at STU.
Life Experience and a Bachelor of Arts - Raissa Musoni BA’15 Finds Her Place in the World
Raissa Musoni, BA’15, knew what she liked and what she was good at doing, but she didn’t know how to bring it all together until she discovered St. Thomas University. It was here where she coupled academic interests with personal experiences, and defined what she wanted to do.
Musoni studied Criminology, Math and Human Rights, an academic combination she couldn’t find elsewhere in Canada. Four years after making the decision to move from Edmonton, Alberta to Fredericton, she says she’s relieved she did.
As part of her program, Musoni enrolled in a class called “Human Rights and NGOs,” which requires students to engage in hands-on work with a local non-governmental organization. Musoni worked at Fredericton’s Multicultural Association, which helps foster relationships between the community, settled immigrants and newcomers to Canada.
Musoni has a connection to the organization’s cause. In 1997, when she was five years old, her family left Rwanda for a chance at a more stable life in Canada.
“It was about three years after the 1994 genocide. That year, like many survivors, we lost pretty much everything. Although the genocide ended, peace didn't come right away. We wanted a better, safer life,” she said. “We desperately needed to resettle.”
As a child at the time, Musoni didn’t fully understand what had taken place until much later.
“We were introduced to a Canadian family and to Rwandan families who were now citizens. They all made sure that we were settling in. I remember meeting people and going to visit different families. I know now that it was their way of welcoming us to Canada and letting us know that they would be there to help us.”
At the Multicultural Association, Musoni had the chance to be on the other side of similar situations.
“I never thought I would be able to be that person for someone else. It feels like I’m actually helping the way that we were helped when we first got to Canada,” she said.
“The experience changed my view on what I could potentially base my life and my career on. I knew I wanted to help others, but I never knew who I was most fitted to help, and who I could use my background and my history to help the most.”
Musoni hopes to pursue a degree in law after she graduates. She said her academic and extra-curricular experiences at St. Thomas have helped give her direction.
“The courses I’ve taken have made things more clear. I know what I want to do and how I want to apply my skills. Before, I felt really all over the place. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know how I was going to get it. Being free to make the path I wanted for myself helped a lot.”
She also credits professors for her success.
“Professors here are incredibly helpful and approachable. Based on your interests, they show you where to volunteer to see if you want to work in that field. They’re patient with you as you try to figure it out, and they give you your options and help you connect the dots.”
She said without this support, she may not have felt encouraged to find her own way.
“It’s about equipping you with what you need and empowering you to make things happen. A huge part of that is reflecting on what your goals are, what you feel you should be doing or what you are meant to do.”