Financial aid can go a long way in helping post-secondary students achieve great things and one Selkirk College Associate of Arts Degree graduate is a prime example.
Darren Paterson is taking his goal of achieving a doctorate degree one step at a time – next stop, the University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBCO). There he will finish his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.
“I’m going there to figure out what I am doing for my master’s degree and my PhD. What else is there? I’ll find out when I get there,” he says. “My main goal is to reform the education system, or revolutionize it or to improve it some way and I felt I couldn’t do that without understanding first how it works.”
Selkirk College Associate of Arts degree graduate Darren Paterson has secured $15,000 in scholarships as he goes on to further his studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan.
To help him along his educational journey, the honours graduate was recently awarded two significant scholarships. The Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship, valued at $5,000 is open to students who transfer their credits into full-time studies at another public post-secondary institution in B.C. to complete their degree. Successful applicants prove academic merit along with involvement in their community.
Paterson also secured a University of British Columbia Centennial Scholars Entrance Award of $10,000 payable over two years. This award aims to support academically strong students who will provide a valuable contribution to the UBC community yet need financial assistance to attend.
Paterson applied for scholarships both years he attended Selkirk College and received even more generous awards.
“The scholarships and bursaries at Selkirk College have been really helpful. They always came at a time when I really needed extra help. I was out of student loan money and had to pay bills,” he says.
Banking on Scholarships
Selkirk College School of University Arts & Sciences English instructor Linda Harwood is pleased her student was awarded two major scholarships so he can go on to finish his degree in English literature at UBCO.
“He is a thoughtful, dedicated, and hard-working student who found his calling here at Selkirk College to become an English literature scholar, writer, and teacher,” she says. “I expect him to go all the way to the doctorate level of study and look forward to watching what promises to be a rewarding academic career unfold.”
Paterson was raised in the Lower Mainland and graduated high school from Langley Fine Arts School in 2001. The 33-year-old spent some time exploring Canada before deciding to settle in the West Kootenay in 2012.
“I came to the Kootenays to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and once I figured out what I wanted to do, Selkirk College was right there and ready to propel me forward,” he says. “It’s community that makes it all possible and the Kootenays, as a community, made it possible for me to find out what I wanted to do with my life and find a goal that I could apply myself to and the faculty here really helped me achieve my goals.”
Relationships at the Foundation
While attending in the School of University Arts & Sciences, Paterson was impressed with the quality of teaching and relationships established with his instructors.
“They’ve chosen to be here and they’re here because they like to educate. They like to learn together with their students,” he says. “They’ve been really accessible. They’re really easy to talk to. They make this experience.”
At Selkirk College, Paterson studied mostly English – “Walt Whitman is my favourite author. The Count of Monte Cristo is my favourite book and these days I’m enjoying Hemingway. And I really enjoyed the Children’s Literature course here at the college. It was super fun,” he says.
But the Associates Degree is broad, encouraging students to explore beyond their major area of interest. He also studied Geography, Mathematics, History and more giving him a well-rounded experience.
“I want to go through the education system, understand the education system and then come back and give to it to help it grow,” he says.
School of University Arts & Sciences chair David Feldman is thrilled with Paterson’s success. With a GPA of 4.06, the student graduated with honours.
“My most memorable encounter with Darren was when he stopped me in the hall to discuss his ambition to come back to Selkirk one day and start a graduate program in English here. I wish him good luck on that,” says Feldman.
Feldman is pleased Paterson recognizes that students at Selkirk College “receive an incredible gift from brilliant and talented faculty members.”
“The mentoring, the time, and the care that our faculty lavishes on our students is, I believe, unparalleled and gives students the chance to grow and begin to reach for their potential,” he says.