People, Student Profile
Earth and Environmental Sciences student Jennifer Little embraces BC’s sustainable way of life
November 27, 2015
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences
Okanagan (Kelowna, B.C.)
Bachelor of Science (in progress)
“With every class I take, I feel I know more about myself and my interests.”
MOVING FROM OIL AND GAS COUNTRY to the orchards of the Okanagan Valley was an interesting switch for Jennifer Little, and one that the Earth and Environmental Sciences (EESC) student has embraced. After three years at UBC Okanagan, she’s has found her calling.
Why Earth and Environmental Sciences?
“I recognize that oil and gas is a fundamental part of our economy and lifestyle today, but I’m also interested in renewable energy,” she says.
The Albertan decided to leave her roots and move to UBC’s Okanagan campus one year after graduating from high school.
“We used to come to the Okanagan Valley for vacation, so I knew about the UBC campus in Kelowna. I was very interested in their Earth and Environmental Sciences program. Without hesitation, I packed my bags.”
The adventurer stayed in residence the first year, which facilitated friendships with fellow university initiates. “I didn’t know anyone when I arrived, but it was extremely easy to make friends, thanks to the welcoming environment.” She’s currently living off campus with two friends she made while living in residence her first year.
“Living in residence was an awesome experience and one of the highlights of my campus life so far. I’m close to many of the individuals I met.”
Little feels that the close-knit community of UBC Okanagan will help to sustain these connections and open new ones with professors and mentors.
“The smaller class size encourages discussions and participation,” she says. “In some cases, the professors lead the labs as well, bringing continuity to our in-class theory.”
Smaller doesn’t mean fewer expectations: “The professors expect a lot of you and for you to think for yourself.”
UBC COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Little has been able to meet the professors’ expectations and the challenge of post-secondary school—but not without effort. She struggled with a calculus course and relied on tutorials and study groups to see her through.
She attributes two professors, Bernard Bauer and Fes de Scally, with keeping her engaged and enthusiastic. Little says, “They encourage questions and engagement without judgement.”
Participation with the Earth and Environmental Sciences Course Union has also been helpful. The organization—open to all EESC students—organizes social, educational, and networking events culminating in an annual camping retreat. Little has enjoyed the union so much that she got involved with their leadership, helping to plan events.
“This is not only a great social group but also a fabulous resource. Students share information about classes, professors, job opportunities, and more.”
Little hopes to add a blood drive event to the union’s agenda. In honour of her brother who had cancer, she is an advocate of the Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network.
ROOM FOR GROWTH
Little continues to explore new boundaries and has not yet decided where she will ultimately settle. Recently, she attended a mountain hazards field course hosted by Geography prof Fes de Scally in the Rocky Mountains, which are just a short drive from the Okanagan Valley.
Along with 30 other UBC Okanagan students, she learned about debris flow and avalanche paths.
“This was a great way to get to know people in my faculty and hear about their university experiences and plans.”
However, Little is still the divergent one.
“With every class I take, I feel I know more about myself and my interests, and what I could see doing in the future. But I haven’t decided on a path.
“For the time being, I’ll continue to take an assortment of classes and be open to new experiences.”
—by Christine Zeidler