Sierra Kasper-Momer turns uncertainty into opportunity
December 5, 2022
Community, Culture and Global Studies
Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
Bachelor of Arts, UBC Okanagan
“Follow your passions and chase after what excites you....I followed my interests and what I was passionate about, and it led me to a career full of exciting opportunities. Don’t let the fear of the unknown scare you.”
LIKE MANY STUDENTS APPROACHING GRADUATION, geography major Sierra Kasper-Momer was unsure of what she wanted to do after her program finished. “I wasn’t sure if I was ready to jump into my master’s degree just yet, so I started exploring different careers and opportunities as an arts student.”
Then Kasper-Momer came across UBC Okanagan’s Arts Career Apprenticeship Program (ACAP), which connects soon-to-be arts, humanities and social sciences graduates with Okanagan-based employers for one-year, paid early career opportunities. Students take part in a competitive application and interview process to gain professional experience and mentorship, while also contributing to the growth and development of a local business.
“I signed up because ACAP is a great opportunity to see what kind of work is out there,” Kasper-Momer explains. “I received support with important skills like resume writing and interviewing, which are critical to hone as a new graduate.”
Once accepted into the program, Kasper-Momer set up sessions with other students and a faculty member to learn how to focus her job application on relevant skills employers look for. With nearly a dozen unique positions available through ACAP, ranging from digital marketing to health care, Kasper-Momer had her pick of opportunities. She ultimately interviewed for and was hired by her current employer, Urban Systems. Through ACAP, Kasper-Momer was given a one-year contract, which evolved into a permanent role.
“I’m so thankful for ACAP because it got me to where I am today,” Kasper-Momer says. “The biggest benefit of the program was connecting with an employer I wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, as a new graduate, I didn’t have any work experience in the industry, so it was a huge help to get a leg up through ACAP and connect with Urban Systems, which had a position geared to more recent graduates.”
Kasper-Momer points out that many of the skills from her BA have benefitted her in her new role. “Throughout my degree, I did a lot of report writing and qualitative research, and these writing and research skills, along with collaboration and critical thinking, have proved to be extremely valuable.”
With this sense of knowledge and empowerment, Kasper-Momer has returned to UBC Okanagan to share her experience with other students. “I was excited to return to campus and connect with students because not that long ago, I was in their shoes trying to figure out what to do after graduation. I want to share a bit about my journey as someone without a formal background in communications who now works in the industry, because my education and experience at UBCO helped get me to where I am today.”
As for her advice to students unsure of their future path, Kasper-Momer keeps it simple.
“Follow your passions and chase after what excites you. As an arts student, there are so many paths to follow that it’s challenging to decide which direction you want to go after graduation. I followed my interests and what I was passionate about, and it led me to a career full of exciting opportunities. Don’t let the fear of the unknown scare you.”