University of the Fraser Valley

Aluminations: Alumni News

Aluminations: Alumni News

Message from the Alumni Association Chair

It’s been a busy time these past few months for your Alumni Association and the Alumni Engagement office on campus. We will be watching proudly as more than 1,200 students make the transition to alumni when they walk across the convocation stage this June.

We hope you’ll take advantage of the growing number of perks and privileges that being an Alumni Association member gives you.

Our Alumni Association Facebook presence continues to grow. We added Hospitality and Event Planning and Fashion Design alumni groups this winter. We’ll be busy again at convocation when we post hundreds of fun photos of our new grads. We also made strides into the world of Twitter and Linked In and hope you will join us there.

I hope you enjoy reading about our 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients in this issue and celebrate their achievements.

Plans to provide a photo ID membership card to the whole alumni population are underway. Stay posted online at for details as they unfold. The cards are sponsored by Envision Financial, with whom we now partner to offer alumni a very special Financial Services package.

We have also launched a number of new Affinity Programs with the Sandman Inn, Abbotsford Nissan, and the Mission Chamber of Commerce. You can read more about these special discounted offering for alumni. Taking advantage of these partnerships also means that revenues from these programs will support our student scholarships.

To all our alumni, thank you for your support and participation. We hope you will enjoy reading about our activities and programs.

Tony Luck,

Chair, UFV Alumni Association


Signing of the 2012 MOU seals continued shared vision

Alumni Association chair Tony Luck and UFV president Mark Evered sat down together to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the university and the Alumni Association. The inaugural MOU was drafted and signed by Stacey Irwin, then chair of the alumni association and then-UFV president Skip Bassford in 2008. We’ve witnessed much growth and change since then and this updated MOU will continue to guide our mutually beneficial relationship for years to come.

Convocation grad fair well attended

The inaugural UFV grad fair was a big success with over 250 soon-to-be grads participating. The fair highlighted the steps that graduating students need to follow in order to participate in convocation, including ordering regalia, caps, and tassels, and all the membership perks that come with becoming a UFV alumnus. Information about the many benefits available to alumni was available and new affinity program partners such as the Sandman Hotel, Abbotsford Nissan, and the Mission Chamber of Commerce participated.



LIBIT students and alumni gather for speed-mentoring

Library and Information Technology students and alumni came together on March 9 to reconnect and share career experiences at UFV during this fun speed-mentoring event. Sponsored by the UFV Alumni Association, and presented by the UFV LIBIT department, LITSA, and BCLA’s Library Technicians & Assistants Section, the event opened with “lightning lectures” from alumni on topics ranging from continuing education opportunities to cloud collaboration tools. Students then had the opportunity to connect with alumni, and ask questions about their career experiences in a round of speed-mentoring. UFV alumni travelled from as far as Penticton to participate in the event. Pictures can be viewed here:

2013 Alumni commemorative wine and the alumni winning artist

Congratulations to Anne Franklin (BFA ’12) winner of this year’s alumni artist competition. This is a great opportunity for some tremendous exposure. Anne’s artwork was rendered onto the 2013 alumni commemorative wine labels.

The alumni commemorative wine has become a highly anticipated annual tradition at UFV. It is produced in honour of the graduating class and is sold throughout UFV communities as a fundraiser for the Alumni Association’s student monetary awards.

See more details, and find out how to order your wine can be found at

Alumni Evenings of Theatre hosted over 250 UFV alumni The UFV Alumni Association hosted the 8th annual Alumni evenings of theatre March 21 and 22, featuring Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The event launched the 2013 alumni commemorative wine. Alumni Association chair Tony Luck introduced Anne Franklin (BFA ’12) as this year’s winning artist featured on the 2013 wine label. Check it out on UFV Flickr.

Absolute Style Fashion Show

On April 25 the Alumni Association hosted and sponsored the Absolute Style Fashion Show wine-and-cheese reception. Over 15 UFV Fashion alumni attended compliments of the Alumni Association, enjoying reserved seating and a complimentary glass of commemorative wine.

BFA Grad Show reception

The opening wine-and-cheese reception for the 2013 BFA Grad show on April 26 was sponsored and hosted by the Alumni Association. Alumni of the program received a special invitation. The exhibition featured works by the 2013 graduating class. BFA alumni joined the reception and received a complimentary glass of wine.

Hold the Date — Alumni Games  (Date TBD, from David Kent)

It’s an exciting day full of Alumni v. Cascade matches including men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball and rowing. Alumni: be sure to mark your calendars. You won’t want to miss the games and the party featuring live music, beer, and food. Come out and support your teams as they battle it out.



UFV Alumni are entitled to many benefits and privileges. Get your new photo membership card at the Campus Card office on the Abbotsford campus and start taking advantage. Visit us at see all you are entitled to.

New benefits:

  • Nissan
  • Sandman Hotel Group
  • Mission Chamber of Commerce
  • UFV rings
  • Sasquatch Crossing Eco Lodge 


Keeping in Touch — Let us know what you’ve been up to since graduation

Send us a short write-up on what you’ve been doing since graduation and we’ll print it in the next issue of Skookum and enter you to win a prize. Send a photo too! Email .

Congratulations to Rob McKinnon for his Keeping in Touch submission in the Spring issue. Rob has won a set of UFV alumni wear.


Jessie Somers, BFA ’10 — Not long after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Jessie worked at the Mission Arts Council for a summer teaching classes, and displayed her paintings in multiple gallery shows around the Fraser Valley. In 2011 she teamed up with a local pen artisan and has been painting and selling one-of-a-kind, hand painted fountain pens all over Canada and the USA. Jessie is returning this fall to start her Library and Information Technology certificate and plans to branch out further in education and fine arts. Her time spent at UFV shaped her way of learning and creating and helped her realize her that art is her true path in life. Her work is viewable at her personal website:


Thayer-Alexander Williams, Dip. 10 and Libby Kirkland, BA 10 — When he was nearing graduation with his CIS diploma, Thayer applied to several public service competitions, focusing on information technology/information management. In 2011, he began a career with the RCMP in Surrey as an information management specialist. Thayer’s wife, Libby, is also a UFV alumna, graduating with the dean’s list honours and an outstanding achievement award. Libby has put her sociology degree to good use as a parole officer for the Correctional Service of Canada, where she works closely with offenders throughout their rehabilitation.


Lorraine Noble, BA ’81 — After completing her first two years of university transfer courses at Fraser Valley College, Lorraine went on to SFU to complete her PDP in education.  She worked as a classroom teacher in Mission for several years before going back to SFU to finish her degree. Lorraine was given an opportunity to become a librarian with the school district, and found herself back in the learning game at UBC, where she completed her Library diploma program, and also decided to top up her psychology major. 

Lorraine is a year away from retirement, which she is looking forward to very much. It will give her the opportunity to spend more time teaching, and performing, American Tribal Style belly dance, as well as travelling to visit other ATS troupes around the world. She believes the older you get, the more exciting life can be. Never stop moving, it does a body good.


Amber Warnat, BA ’09 — was the first political science graduate from UFV. She has gone on to do a Master of Philosophy in justice and transformation with a specialization in conflict resolution at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. While she was there she started a small not-for-profit organization, which helps families buy chickens to start their own small businesses. She also interned at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Currently she is back in Canada prepping to do her PhD. While doing her master’s degree Amber found that she missed the UFV environment, and the staff at UFV who are student focused, nurturing, and holistic in their education style. She sincerely hopes that as UFV grows it clings tightly to student-focused values, because it’s what makes UFV such a special place!!!!


Kerin Seikhon, BA ’07 —After completing her studies in criminal justice at UFV, Kerin attended law school at the University of British Columbia and received her law degree in 2010. Kerin is now practising family law as an associate lawyer at the law firm of Krentz & Hedman in Abbotsford. Kerin is grateful for the educational and life experiences she gained from attending UFV.


Sarah Percival, Dip ’09 — since graduating with a Business Administration diploma, Sarah has been drawn towards finance and helping people. She attended UBC to obtain her mortgage broker licence and is now in the family business working with her Dad as a licensed mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres. Sarah is looking forward to helping people to obtain financing. She’s grateful for the memories UFV gave her and misses the students, teachers, and the great atmosphere.


Irene Adams, Dip ’98 finished her diploma in social work and moved to Victoria and graduated from University of Victoria with her Bachelor of Social Work degree in 1992. She then moved home to Lytton and worked for her band for five years. She then attended the University of British Columbia where she graduated in 2002 with her Master of Social Work degree. Irene is presently the supervisor of social work at Sto:lo Nation, and has worked there for 14 years.  For Irene, attending Fraser Valley College was a huge stepping stone. Itprovided her with a good foundation to keep moving ahead in her chosen career.


Jaspal Singh, BBA ’11 — After graduation, Jaspal decided to explore career opportunities in the financial services industry. After working as a financial advisor with Sun Life Financial for nearly a year (and completing another economics/finance course at UFV), he realized that he wanted to pursue a post-graduate education, specifically related to finance. He has been accepted into SFU’s Master of Science in Finance program and he is completing preparatory classes to transition to being a full-time graduate student in September.


Cassie Silva, BA ’08, BSW ’12 — As soon as the Winter 2012 semester ended, Cassie went off to backpack Central America. She was sad to miss convocation, but got the opportunity to put her social work degree to immediate use, volunteering with kids at an isolated orphanage in the Guatemalan jungle.  Since returning home, Cassie has accepted the position of mentoring coordinator with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley. She would love to hear from any UFV students or alumni who are interested in volunteering their time as a Big Brother or Big Sister in Mission, Abbotsford, or Chilliwack.  You can reach her at


Dave Dunster, BA ’08, TEP ’09 — was hired by the Fraser Cascade School District and taught in Hope for two years after graduating.  Last year he moved to Hungary with his wife, Mel Dunster, whom he met in the UFV theatre program, and their two daughters. He is now starting his second year teaching in a bilingual language program in Budapest. As a native English teacher he shares the responsibility of teaching several subjects alongside Hungarian teachers. The cooperation of two professionals, often teaching the same lessons together, has been a very rewarding experience.  His daughters attend the same school and his wife has worked as a drama teacher for adults and children in the Hungarian capitol. They will return to Canada next year where he will resume a post with the Fraser Cascade School District.  Dave directly relates his success to the collaboration of UFV with its surrounding public school districts. His position in Hope gave him the experience necessary to be accepted in the overseas program, and his entire family has hugely benefitted from their amazing adventure abroad.


Sherylynn Niezen, BA ’11 — After completing her degree, Sherylynn took off for Australia and Europe to see some of the amazing historical places that she had learned about the past four years while earning her history major. Upon returning she enrolled herself yet again at UFV and obtained her Bookkeeping certificate in December 2011. While working towards her certificate she was also completing her year-long commitment as the treasurer for UFV’s literary magazine, The Louden Singletree, in April 2012. Since then she has been working as the accounts payable person at Ironside Design Manufacturing, a roll-form equipment manufacturing company in Chilliwack, and was given the opportunity to write the company’s corporate history, which dates back to 1902. In the evenings, Sherylynn maintains her writing dreams in the form of a blog:, but after her wedding, she hopes to be able to focus on completing a non-fiction book that encourages and inspires young women.


Jay Havens, Dip ’03 —designed the set for UFV Theatre’s January 2013 production of Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout, by First Nations playwright Tomson Highway.  Jay, an accomplished artist and designer with First Nations heritage from the Mohawk Nation, also designed the superb set and costumes for last season’s hit production of The Arabian Nights. Since graduating Jay has worked professionally in the Vancouver theatre community, designing sets and costumes for several companies. He has twice designed the set for productions of Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters. Jay’s talents are not limited to theatre design work: he was also commissioned to create six murals within the Abbotsford community and a large example of his work can be seen on the walls of the Abbotsford Aboriginal Centre on Gladwin Rd., where Jay was artist in residence. Jay has also created murals for School district 34 in Abbotsford and was artist in residence at the Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts. The mural in the picture is one of Jay’s larger pieces and adorns the walls of the Alexander Elementary School in Abbotsford. The evocative piece, entitled First Salmon Celebration, includes an elder cooking salmon, two dancing children and a drummer. Jay always tries to include an elder and children in his work to symbolize knowledge passing from one generation to the next. Jay hopes that his work will enable both First Nations as well as non-aboriginal Canadians to appreciate their own cultures.


Jelisa Fast, ABT ’10 — Jelisa graduated from the Applied Business Technology program in June 2011. She has been working at UFV full-time since graduation. Jelisa started out as an auxiliary support staff working throughout the university in various departments. She is currently working in the Alumni Engagement and Advancement offices. She has had nothing but great experiences at UFV. Jelisa has many great instructors to thank who have helped her throughout the program and also placing her at UFV for her practicum. Without their help, she wouldn’t be at UFV loving her job and connecting with many different people.


Caitlin Gleboff,  HEP ’12 — Since graduating last June from the Hospitality Event Planning program, Caitlin was hired on as an events assistant intern with the University Advancement office at UFV. During her time there, she assisted in the planning of numerous events, including the 2012 Changing Lives awards ceremony. After her internship was completed, she briefly worked as an auxiliary support worker at UFV, helping out with an event for the Advancement team. Currently, as office assistant, Caitlin fills many roles and is looking forward to further advancement within the university. Caitlin loved attending UFV as a student, and loves it even more now as an employee.


Laureano Ralon, Associate of Arts ’02 — Shortly after graduating, Laureano completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Simon Fraser University School of Communication. Complementing his graduate studies, Laureano worked as a teaching assistant for SFU’s Centre for Online and Distance Education, and as a research assistant for the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology, the New Media Innovation Centre, and the 2006 Telecommunications Policy Review Panel. He produced numerous articles and essays on various topics related to communication, technology and society, and has interviewed and impressive score of internationally renowned scholars — from Eric McLuhan to Noam Chomsky. Alongside his academic career, Laureano worked as an English/Spanish/French interpreter. Putting his communication and interpersonal skills at the service of new immigrants to the Greater Vancouver Regional District, he gained an understanding of the challenges facing newcomers to Canada. Working for the Provincial Language Service (part of British Columbia’s Provincial Health Services Authority) he provided language assistance to skilled workers and refugees in a wide variety of settings. Shortly after graduation, Laureano was accepted to a number of doctoral programs at various internationally renowned universities — including Columbia University and The London School of Economics — but returned to his home country instead as Director of the Canadian Observatory at the Argentinean Centre for International Studies. Laureano is the founder and editor-in-chief of Figure/Ground Communication (, a student-led blog dedicated to academic journalism that won first place in the education category at the 2012 New Canadian Weblog Awards.


Lorena Krause, Dip ’10 — presented her GoPoPs (Glass on Painting on Paper) in a solo exhibit at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. Lorena’s art was developed after the passing of her mother in 2010 and each of the more than 200 pieces were a journey for two years past the grief forming an extensive series of chronological meticulous stain paintings with glass that evolved. Even though the initial pieces were dark in nature, soon enough they became more vibrant and playful until all was light again. The pieces not only touched adults who had gone through this type of experience in the past but also resonated with children to which Lorena’s art spoke to in a different way.

Lorena Krause graduated with a Fine Arts diploma in 2003 and is a full time visual artist based in Langley.  The exhibition was curated by another UFV alumnus, Kelly MacIntosh (BA ’07), and ran from January to March 2013.


Philip Sherwood, BA Ad Ed ’03 — recently completed a contract as managing editor for the MSA Museum Society’s new publication Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford Pioneer Stories 1890–1950. The lavishly illustrated 388-page case-bound coffee-table book contains 199 stories told by over 150 local pioneers or their descendants. Find out more about Lifewriters, Philip’s company that focuses on memoirs, corporate histories, and personal stories, at


This article is featured in the June 2013 issue of UFV Skookum magazine.