Georgina Martin

Vancouver Island University
Instructor, Community Health Promotion for Aboriginal Communities
Prince George, Canada
Vancouver, Canada
I examined what it means to be Secwepemc as I engaged with the lived-experience stories of three Secewpemc community members. I tell about experiences that defined our identities that have been disrupted by colonial policies and residential schools.
Andre Mazawi

What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?

I teach First Nations Health and Wellness Phases I and II in an online environment using the ViuLean (D2L) management system. I created the curriculum that I currently deliver which is intended for Community Health Representatives.

How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?

I credit the skills I gained as a PhD graduate student to conduct research in any area that I am not familiar with. I was exposed to intense research as a graduate research assistant and through my own research. I am practicing and extending my knowledge about the effects of intergenerational trauma and its contribution to the breakdown of Aboriginal health.

What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?

I am really enjoying my continued learning. I realize that it is important to acquire the ability to teach in a hybrid environment, and I am gaining these skills in my current position. It is a new pedagogical approach that I intend to practice and increase my skills in delivering.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

Partially – for the teaching component. I want to expand to conducting more research.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

My grandfather planted the vision while he and my grandmother raised me. He encouraged me to go out and get an education, so I could turn around and support the Aboriginal community. Although I embarked on my post-secondary career path later in life, I never forgot his vision for my future.

What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?

I enjoyed the sense of community that developed around me, and I was grateful for the support from my colleagues and professors.

What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?

I remained committed and focused in my drive to complete my degree within my specified time. I relocated from a smaller center to Vancouver to be close to resources and supports to keep on track. My achievement of the degree was shared with my family and we agreed on certain sacrifices.

What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?

I suggest that students monitor and research the labour market early to develop their interests and possible entry points to enter or return to the labour market. Participating in conferences and publishing is great, but I feel that adding extra efforts to join or rejoin the labour market is essential.

Did you have any breaks in your education?

If I look at my entire education career from certificate to PhD, yes – I did have a break due to family and financial responsibilities. For my PhD at UBC I focused on my studies from start to finish in order to complete within my scheduled timeframe.

What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?

There were financial challenges as a responsible parent and there are challenges to secure employment after completion. What I might do differently is reconsider my decision to physically move away from home. I would not have severed my ties with the labour market as I am finding it much harder to reenter as a mature person.


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