Ӱ̳

News Releases

June 28, 2024

Ӱ̳ celebrates largest graduating class in the College's history

This week, Ӱ̳ welcomed 3,523 graduates into its network of more than 100,000 alumni, whose collective contributions are shaping a vibrant social and economic future for New Brunswick. Nine ceremonies took place across the College’s six campus communities. 

“We know that this year’s graduating class is poised to transform lives and communities because they’re already doing it,” said Mary Butler, President and CEO of Ӱ̳. “Together, they have contributed to hundreds of projects, from fundraising for non-profit organizations, to revitalizing community spaces, to developing and facilitating programs for local youth. The Class of 2024 is effecting meaningful change across the province and beyond.”

Ӱ̳ graduates also have promising employment prospects to look forward to after graduation. A one-year graduate follow-up survey found that 94 per cent of Ӱ̳’s Class of 2022 were employed one year following graduation, the highest percentage recorded over the last seven years. Of these graduates, 87 per cent are working in jobs related to their field of study, with 92 per cent working in New Brunswick. For the Class of 2020, a three-year graduate follow-up survey found that 96 per cent were still employed three years after graduating from Ӱ̳.

“As I look at the group of graduates sitting before me, I am filled with immense admiration,” said Butler in her address to graduates. “As you prepare to step into the next chapter of your lives, remember that your journey is not defined by the obstacles you face but by the resilience you demonstrate in overcoming them.”

About Ӱ̳: As one of New Brunswick’s largest postsecondary education institutions, Ӱ̳ drives social and economic wellbeing across the province. Ӱ̳ welcomes more than 12,000 learners each year through quality-assured, relevant training opportunities. Ӱ̳ is committed to accelerating skills development, innovating educational delivery, and reaching unprecedented numbers of New Brunswickers. Find out more at: .

Ӱ̳ media contact: 
Charray Owen 
Lead, Strategic Communications 
charray.owen@nbcc.ca
Cell: (506) 440-9105


BACKGROUNDER: The following backgrounder provides information on valedictorians from each Ӱ̳ Campus, as well as recipients of the 2024 Ӱ̳ Student Excellence in Leadership awards and Governor General’s medals.  

VALEDICTORIANS

Fredericton Campus: Lily Smallwood, School of Health & Wellness, Practical Nurse 

Inspired to pursue a career in healthcare by her own caregiver journey, Lily enrolled in Ӱ̳’s Practical Nurse program in 2022 after 16 years as a stay-at-home mother. During her time with the College, Lily excelled academically, leading a tutorial group for fellow students while balancing the demands of parenthood and other commitments.  

Outside of the classroom, Lily is an active member of her community. In 2018, she founded Garden Creek Garden Club, an environmental education program at Garden Creek Elementary School in Fredericton. Over the past five years, the program has received over $100,000 in funding for the construction of outdoor classrooms and gardens, publishing a wetland plant guide, experiential learning opportunities, and more. 

Miramichi Campus: Rema Garrote, School of Arts, Community & Protective Services, Human Services Practitioner 

Originally from the Philippines, Rema moved to New Brunswick from Dubai in 2022 to pursue her passion for service leadership. During her time in Ӱ̳’s Human Service Practitioner program, Rema dedicated herself to her studies while balancing volunteer opportunities, internships, part-time work, and her responsibilities as a mother and wife.   

Outside of her academic commitments, Rema works as a Youth Care Worker for Youth First Miramichi Inc., a local non-profit providing care for youth who have experienced trauma, struggle with mental illness, or just need a safe place to stay. Rema is actively involved in her community, organizing clothing and food drives, and volunteering with Be My Eyes, a mobile app designed to provide virtual support for blind and visually impaired people. During her time with the College, she was also involved in Student Union activities and served as a peer tutor. 

Moncton Campus: Chelsea Aita, Wesley Armour School of Business, Business Administration – Management 

Chelsea began her Ӱ̳ journey in 2022 when she enrolled in Ӱ̳’s Business Administration – Management program at the Moncton Campus. A gifted student, Chelsea thrived academically while embracing the Ӱ̳ experience every step of the way. 

During her time with the College, Chelsea served as Secretary for her local Student Union, worked as a peer tutor, and was actively involved in her community, volunteering with organizations like People for Animal Wellbeing (PAW) and Youth Quest Central in Moncton. This year, Chelsea also completed the ‘Becoming a Community Leader’ course offered through Ӱ̳’s Robertson Institute for Community Leadership. 

 St. Andrews Campus: Kylie Johnson, School of Health and Wellness, Practical Nurse 

Born and raised in Charlotte County, Kylie chose to enroll in Ӱ̳’s Practical Nurse program to pursue her passion for healthcare. During her time at College, Kylie excelled academically and demonstrated immense compassion and care for her patients.  

Outside of the classroom, Kylie embraced her leadership skills serving as Vice President of Communications for her local Student Union while balancing work and other commitments. Kylie was also actively involved in her community as a member of the Charlotte County Fall Fair Committee and volunteering with Ganong Nature Park. 

Saint John Campus: Patrick Donovan, School of Trades, Carpentry 

Born and raised in Hampton, New Brunswick, Patrick’s journey to Ӱ̳ was anything but ordinary. After graduating from university with dreams of becoming a lawyer, Patrick quickly realized that this was not his path. Instead, he spent time working in forestry in Alberta and British Columbia, before enrolling in Ӱ̳’s carpentry program in September 2023. 

During his time with the College, Patrick has been actively involved in the Ӱ̳ community. He served as Student Representative, organizing volunteer initiatives, and advocating on behalf of his classmates. Looking back on his Ӱ̳ experience, Patrick credits the College for instilling the value of hard work and the importance of community. 

Woodstock Campus: Emily Tompkins, Wesley Armour School of Business, Accounting and Payroll Administration 

After graduating from Ӱ̳’s Early Childhood Education program in 2017, Emily returned to the College last year, enrolling in the Accounting and Payroll Administration program at the Woodstock Campus. Since returning to the College, Emily has formed strong supportive bonds with her classmates and deepened her connection to Ӱ̳. 

Outside of the classroom, Emily served as Student Representative for her program and acted as a strong advocate and support for fellow students, accompanying them to job interviews and celebrating individual and collective accomplishments. Emily will graduate from Ӱ̳ with honours and is looking forward to starting her career as an Accounting Clerk with a local company in Woodstock, New Brunswick following graduation. 

STUDENT EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP AWARD RECIPIENTS 

School of Arts, Community and Protective Services: Padmini Balkissoon, Graphic and Communications Design, Moncton Campus

During her time at Ӱ̳, Padmini was actively involved in the College community, planning and participating in Student Union events and serving as Class Representative. Outside of College, she also volunteers her time with local organizations like Shelter Movers and the YWCA Moncton.

This year, Padmini was recognized with a Student Union Volunteer Award for her contributions to campus life, awarded the Ron Smyth Memorial Scholarship for outstanding community leadership, and took home a gold medal at the Skills Canada Provincial Competition.

School of Engineering Technologies: Regine Lura, Building Engineering Technology, Moncton Campus

A natural leader, Regine actively engages in college and community life. During her time at Ӱ̳, she has held various Student Union positions including President, VP of Events, Class Representative, Provincial Secretary, and Director. Regine was also a Peer Mentor and made countless positive contributions to student life.

Beyond Ӱ̳, Regine serves as an advocate and volunteer with many local organizations, including the Filipino Association of New Brunswick (Greater Moncton Chapter), Multicultural Agency of the Greater Moncton Area, Habitat for Humanity, People for Animal Wellbeing, Canadian Blood Services, Youth Impact, the Canadian Cancer Society, Student Voice Committee Future NB, the New Brunswick Environmental Network, and Elementary Literacy New Brunswick. Additionally, Regine has taken part in Study and Succeed in NB, was recognized for her community leadership with the Ron Smyth Memorial Scholarship, awarded an Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award, and received a scholarship to attend the IIBEC International Convention and Trade Show.

School of Health and Wellness: Emily Trites, Practical Nurse, Moncton Campus

Note: Emily has completed year one of Ӱ̳’s Practical Nurse program and will enter her second year of study this fall.

During her time at Ӱ̳, Emily has shined brightly both inside and outside the classroom. Known by instructors and fellow students as a kind and compassionate leader, Emily has supported her classmates by offering transportation to clinical placements for those without vehicles and promoted a strong sense of belonging within the Practical Nurse program.

Outside of the classroom, Emily has expertly balanced college life with her responsibilities as a youth cheerleading coach and other commitments. She has also generously volunteered her time at Ӱ̳ Open Houses to share her experiences with prospective learners.

School of Hospitality and Tourism: Nataliia Zharko, Culinary Arts Management, Moncton Campus

During her time at Ӱ̳, Nataliia shined brightly both inside and outside the classroom. In 2024, Nataliia was recognized with a Baking Association of Canada bursary award for her outstanding academic achievements in baking and pastry arts.

Outside of her academic pursuits, Nataliia has put her culinary skills to work, raising thousands of dollars in support of local community organizations and her home country of Ukraine. Additionally, Nataliia spends much of her free time volunteering with the Ukrainian Club of Moncton to raise awareness and financial support for the people of Ukraine.

School of Information Technology: William Boyer, Information Technology – Programmer Analyst, Fredericton Campus

Known for his academic achievements, patience, and kindness, William stands out as a strong student leader. During his time at the College, William consistently mentored and offered tutoring support to learners struggling academically in their program.

Outside of the classroom, William offered technology education and support to Fredericton seniors as part of an applied research project examining the impact of social isolation on older adults. William also competed in a national Data Visualization Competition hosted by the International Business & Entrepreneurship Centre (IBEC), where he and his team were awarded second place for their data-driven solutions for addressing the rising issues in mental health and addictions in New Brunswick.

School of Professional and Part-time Learning: Bradley Kent, Applied Studies Mentorship program, Fredericton Campus 

Bradley began his journey with Ӱ̳’s School of Professional and Part-time Learning in 2021 when he enrolled in the College’s Applied Studies Internship program. During his time in the program, Bradley excelled and quickly progressed through the ranks, earning himself a spot in both the Applied Studies Marketing and Mentorship programs.

Known for his strong leadership skills, Bradley regularly supports his fellow students and lends his time and expertise to assist with numerous Canadian Armed Forces initiatives and events. Overall, Bradley’s leadership inside and outside the classroom, willingness to help others, and academic achievements, mark him as a true leader amongst his classmates. 

School of Trades: Hailey Gibbons, Skilled Trades Techniques, Woodstock Campus

Note: Hailey has completed year one of Ӱ̳’s Skilled Trades Technique program and will enter her second year of study this fall.

As a first-year student, Hailey has already demonstrated remarkable leadership both inside and outside the classroom. Known by instructors for her quiet yet effective leadership, Hailey has helped many of her fellow students complete their required service-learning hours through Ӱ̳’s Robertson Institute for Community Leadership.

Outside of the classroom, Hailey has put her skills to work designing and building fidget boards for two local elementary schools, participating in New Boots initiatives, and serving as a peer tutor. In September, Hailey will enter Year Two of her program and has chosen to specialize in Welding.

Wesley Armour School of Business: Rose Antonette Ventura, Business Administration – Management, St. Andrews Campus

A natural leader, Rose is actively involved in both campus and community life. During her time at Ӱ̳, Rose served as Class Representative and Treasurer on her local Student Union, supported international learners as a peer mentor, and helped foster a welcoming environment for incoming learners in her role as Orientation Assistant.

Outside of Ӱ̳, Rose is a member of the New Brunswick Federal Youth Network and volunteers her time with the Red Cross and other community organizations. This year, Rose is also one of 14 Lady Dunn Award of Excellence recipients. This award recognizes excellence in leadership, academic achievement, class participation, and citizenship.

 GOVERNOR GENERAL’S MEDAL RECIPIENTS: 

School of Arts, Community and Protective Services: Erika McGouey, Early Childhood Education, Saint John Campus

School of Engineering Technologies: Catherine (Cara) Nordstom, Chemical Technology (Co-Op), Saint John Campus

School of Health and Wellness: Reba Dawn Marie Wilkins, Pharmacy Technician, Moncton Campus

School of Hospitality and Tourism: Astrid Joy Valencia, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Moncton Campus

School of Information Technology: Valentina Romero, Information Technology: Game Development, Miramichi Campus

School of Trades: Juan Carlos Fernandez Busto, Skilled Trades Techniques: Carpentry, Woodstock Campus

Wesley Armour School of Business: Niklas Zaat, Business Administration: Accounting, Fredericton Campus