VIU Names Latest Recipients of Prestigious QEII Scholarships

Cross-cultural learning will be high on the agenda for Melanie Messier when she lands in the Central American country of Belize later this spring.

Messier, a fourth-year student in Tourism Management at Vancouver Island University (VIU), is one of seven VIU recipients to recently receive a prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship (QES). Messier and the other Queen Elizabeth Scholars are taking part in VIU’s BRiCC program – or Building Resilience in Coastal Communities (full list of the 2017/18 scholars).

This initiative is awarding more than $800,000 in scholarships over three years to 31 undergraduate, graduate and international students. VIU is partnering with Belize because of shared challenges and opportunities around coastal resilience and climate change.

Messier, who hails from Calgary, will be in Belize as of early May for a few months. She’ll work as a Cultural Promotion Intern in the area of Stann Creek in southeast Belize, and will help find opportunities for cultural tourism in coastal communities including Seine Bight, Hopkins, Independence and Georgetown.

“I’m so excited,” says Messier, who will intern abroad for the first time. “I want to pursue graduate school, so being able to formulate my own questions and get hands-on experience with different cultures will be invaluable.”

Adam Barron – another Queen Elizabeth Scholar who is a fifth-year Post Baccalaureate student in VIU’s Bachelor of Education program – already has a fair bit of experience pursuing academics abroad. While in high school, he spent a year as an exchange student with a host family in Peru as part of a Rotary International program.

As an undergraduate at the University of Victoria – where he received a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Latin American Studies – he studied Spanish for a semester in Spain and attended a field school in Cuba.

This April, he will embark on a community-based practicum in the Indian Himalayas on behalf of VIU’s Faculty of Education. Then, at the end of May, Barron will fly from New Delhi to Belize to begin his QES internship; once there, he’ll work as a Community Development and Education Intern for the National Garifuna Council, a non-governmental organization that represents the indigenous Garifuna people of Belize. Duties will include meeting community and council representatives from Hopkins, Dangriga and Seine Bight to determine sustainable economic projects that will help these communities manage the impacts of climate change.

“I feel up to the challenge and I’m looking forward to being part of the QES family,” says Barron, who was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and grew up in Nanaimo. “I’m hoping that I’ll be able to tap into the cultural elements of the Garifuna people as a means to promote resilience to climate change.”

“Congratulations to our latest round of Queen Elizabeth Scholars. Their Belize experiences will give them an invaluable opportunity to develop leadership and intercultural skills, and connect with an international network of scholars,” says Jennifer Sills, Manager of VIU’s Education Abroad program. “VIU also looks forward to deepening its relationships with its Belizean partners, including the University of Belize, professional associations and grassroots organizations.”

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program is managed through a partnership of Universities Canada, the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and Canadian universities. This program is made possible with financial support from the Government of Canada, provincial governments and the private sector, including VIU’s local funding partners: the Nanaimo Foundation and the Parksville-Qualicum Foundation. VIU’s BRiCC program runs until the end of 2018.

To view this release online, see VIU Names latest recipients of the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships

Photo, from left: Megan Prosser, Melanie Messier, Jessica Pyett, Adam Barron, Skye Skagfeld, Dr. Graham Pike (Dean, Faculty of International Education). Missing: Zachary Haigh and Elise Boulanger.