Ben Louis is first student to receive Vicki Green Graduate Award
Fly fishing was a source of inspiration for Vicki Green, associate professor of education, in her decision to give a $50,000 endowment to UBC’s Okanagan campus. The endowment will create an annual scholarship for a Faculty of Education graduate student conducting research in social, cultural, political, environmental, or economic sustainability.
“The endowment was inspired by my passion for the outdoors and was created to advance an integrated understanding of our place in nature,” says Green. “I want it to go to students who understand what it means to get in touch with that wild place in your soul. For me, when I fly fish, I come to that place. And when you are in that place, you are your most creative self.”
Candidates of the Vicki Green Graduate Award are selected based on how their research will encourage contemplative, transformational, imaginative and/or creative interdisciplinary understandings in sustainability for children, youth or teachers. An essential component of the award is research that goes beyond the classroom to engage students in projects around sustainability and demonstrate the significant impacts that experiential learning will have on students.
“It was the right timing for this award, and it is important for the faculty of education and our graduate program,” says Green. “There is a circle of life you come to understand as a teacher — when a student comes to university he or she belongs to your present and you become part of their past. And the cycle of life is all within this sort of permanence of UBC. There is a sense of stability tied to this institution, and it inspires you to start thinking about the future. I wanted to create something to support students that would continue far into the future.
“Our campus has been though an amazing transformation over the last few years, and it’s very exciting to imagine where it will be 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.”
This year, the Vicki Green Graduate Award was presented to Ben Louis, a master of education student.
“I would like to thank the Green family and the Faculty of Education Graduate Studies for honouring me with this award,” says Louis, whose research primarily focuses on Indigenous language teaching and learning. “I would also like to thank my family, especially my wife and children, for they have been so very supportive over the last two years.”
In addition to the award, Louis will receive an outdoor fly fishing adventure. Savas Koutsantonis and Nick Pace, owners of Trout Waters Fly & Tackle, have donated a guided fly fishing package to one of the many still water lakes in the region, and Joe Gardner, manager of Douglas Lake Ranch, is providing one night’s stay at Stoney Lake, including meals, fishing, a boat and a ranch tour. Scott Boswell, development officer with the Development and Alumni Engagement Office at UBC’s Okanagan campus, has given a fly rod, reel, and line to Louis.
“Ben’s work is transformational, thoughtful, creative and innovative,” says Green. “He is the perfect first recipient of this award. And, although it certainly isn’t a requirement of the award, Ben just so happens to be a fly fisherman, too.”
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