Northern promise: how your support of the President’s Fund helps students experience the world
U of S geology student Carson Brown has been living abroad since January—but not to escape the cold northern climate. He’s studying geology in Finland for five months as part of a study exchange term organized through the International Student and Study Abroad Centre.
“I’m not missing out on winter at all,” he says with a laugh. “There’s been lots of snow this year, which, as a Canadian, I enjoy.”
Keen to go somewhere “exotic and interesting” for his first trip to Europe, Carson chose the elegant and lively port city of Helsinki. It’s about twice the size of Saskatoon but still maintains a small-city atmosphere. He spoke no Finnish when he first arrived, but has enjoyed learning the language. “It has a systematic beauty, but it is quite challenging. Luckily, almost everyone speaks very good English here.”
Taking English lecture classes and studying independently for book exams, he also participates in geology field excursions around the country—all for credit back home. Geology departments worldwide value field experience very highly, he says, and it’s also a “very cool opportunity” for him to personally see more of the Finnish landscape, which varies from archipelago coastline to plains, lakes and forests, to arctic bogs and scrub.
The social and cultural aspects of the exchange have also been great fun. “One very cool tradition here is that each faculty wears its own unique color of overalls to all student events, like Laskianen—a city-wide day of sledding,” Carson says. “I now wear grey overalls as part of Vasara-Ry, the geology student organization.” The exchange community is “one big family,” which often enjoys nights of eating and socializing together.
Your support of the Annual Fund Campaign for Students helped provide some funding for Carson to pursue this unique experience. “I’m so glad I came,” he says. “The funding offsets my costs, helping me to enjoy every moment I’m here, rather than constantly stressing about spending and worrying about what I may owe when I return.” The funding also makes the extra perks of studying in Europe possible, such as a trip to Lapland. “Someone struggling with finances might have to turn down these amazing and enriching experiences.”
Carson says he wishes every student could experience something like his exchange, which he calls the most unique experience of his life. In appreciation to those donors who make scholarships like his possible, he intends to support the President’s Fund, which helped him, in the future to help other students expand their personal and academic horizons.
More than a job: student’s work with Annual Fund has personal meaning
Mike Hernik loves being part of the Annual Fund’s calling program. Currently in his third year at the Edwards School of Business, he has worked for the Student Calling Team for almost two years. The dedicated team of 25 students reaches out by telephone to alumni and friends of the U of S to reconnect, inform and ask for support for this important student campaign.
“Every person that you talk to has a story,” Mike says. “I have interesting conversations with alumni every day and I’ve learned so much.” The team works on different calling campaigns throughout the year. One such imitative is to raise money for the U of S library to provide special needs equipment for students with disabilities.
Support to Murray Library through the Annual Fund has significance for Mike, who has a form of genetic macular degeneration causing visual impairment. He writes most of his exams in the Assisted Technology Room in Murray Library, and he’s used ZoomText, a software program that magnifies his reading material on a computer screen, since he was about10 years old.
“The Annual Fund provided us with funds to install ZoomText on two computers here at the Student Calling Centre so that another student and I can magnify the call software we use and easily navigate through it,” he explains. “Without the software it would be difficult to do the job, but with it, I can do the same kind of work as the rest of the team and excel at it.
After he qualifies as a chartered accountant, Mike plans to go on to the Master of Professional Accounting program—and continue as a student caller. “I think that the Annual Fund calling program is a fantastic fundraiser and I’m just one of the students who has benefited as a result,” he says. “Alumni always ask where their money is going. And with the Annual Fund, they can see its direct impact.”
Mid-term report with Matt Taylor (B. Comm. ’11)
1. You finished your classes in Edwards a term early. What are you doing today?
I’m currently working full-time for Deloitte & Touche in Calgary. I am employed in their business tax group. I find it fascinating to see principles and concepts learned in the halls of Edwards brought to life through practical application.
2. How did the University of Saskatchewan prepare you for your current job?
It is not uncommon for me to hear of the glowing reviews and opinions of my colleagues about the University of Saskatchewan. My connection with Edwards has already provided me leadership opportunities and career development through other colleagues that are alumni, such as Murray Edwards who is a mentor to me.
3. You have received quite a few scholarships in the past. How has donor support helped you fulfill your school and career goals?
For me, the impact from receiving student awards was the ability to purchase precious time rather than just covering tuition. I was able to volunteer as a note-taker for disabilities services on campus in my first year. I worked as a Peer Assisted Learning – Peer Mentor at the University Learning Center in my second year and I was involved in Edwards tutoring and student marking during my last year. I also benefitted from the donor support of Edwards Career Services. The centre helped me with my resumé, recommended conferences and helped me get a feel for the business world.
4. What are your plans for the future?
I would like to return to do the Master of Professional Accounting program at the University of Saskatchewan in the summer of 2013. I’m also interested in tax law, so a law degree is something I’m considering for the future.
Annual Fund Campaign for Students Update
Note: Many generous donors give to more than one area.
Between May 1, 2011 and February 29, 2012 alumni and friends have donated $1,084,461.21 to this year’s campaign!
Thank you for supporting University of Saskatchewan students!
Your support contributes to the student experience, library resources and enhances the college that you attended back in your University of Saskatchewan days—making sure every student has a memorableand positive experience during their time on campus.