The CHASI experience, from the student perspective

Headshot of Chloe RaibleChloe Raible is one of CHASI’s longest-serving student research assistants. To learn more about Chloe and the rest of the CHASI team, visit our “Meet the Team” page.

As I reflect on the last few years, my post-secondary experience has been astronomically enhanced because of my involvement in the community formed at the Community Health and Social Innovation (CHASI) Hub. The faculty, staff, and students I have had the benefit of working with at CHASI have played a huge role in developing my academic skills, especially, my ability to think critically about the world around me. The people at CHASI have also helped me understand and develop the ways that I want to show up as a learner and advocate in all of the future spaces that my education and career take me.

When I talk about the astounding impacts of CHASI on my education, I am truly talking about the impacts of the mentorship I have received throughout this work experience. Countless statistics available reveal the invaluable benefit of mentorship in the educational and career development of young adults. Thus, I am endlessly thankful for the mentorship I’ve received through CHASI from intelligent, dedicated, and compassionate professionals. To name a few: Martha Dow, Candy Ho, Esther Jimenez Atochero, Larissa Kowalski, Chelsea Klassen, and Sarah Kamal. Although CHASI provided me with great mentorship, this is just one of the many positive impacts CHASI has had on my life.

Another key impact of CHASI has been the opportunity it has provided to explore and determine my interest areas. At this point in my education, I am much more confident in my personal interest areas and the educational direction I am headed. However, this was not always the case. Many young adults can likely relate to the feeling of external pressures after secondary school, for example, the need to have a set educational and career plan. That’s how I felt when I started my post-secondary education in 2019. After my first semester at UFV, this feeling led me away from post-secondary school for eight months. However, in the Fall of 2020 I returned to UFV, still without a concrete idea of the career path that I wanted to pursue. Around this time, and through happenstance, I began working at CHASI.

CHASI allowed me to explore various interest areas through the many projects I have worked on related to multiple different disciplines and topic areas. One of the defining characteristics of CHASI is it’s interdisciplinary approach to community research. At CHASI, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of projects related to topics such as student wellness, academic advising, food security, homelessness, gang prevention, and flood recovery. Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work as a research assistant with Sarah Kamal’s mentorship on a disaster recovery project related to the 2021 Lytton Creek Fire.

Another valuable lesson I learned through my work at CHASI is that educational and career paths are often a lot less linear than I once thought. I learned this while working as a research assistant for Linda Pardy and Candy Ho in 2020. A key task I completed while working with Linda and Candy was transcribing the UFV Career Chats. Although transcribing can be seen as a “boring” task, it was exactly what I needed to be doing at that point in my educational journey. It not only provided me with a solid foundation of understanding qualitative research, but also with the opportunity to learn about the career paths and trajectories of many professionals associated with UFV. My takeaway from this experience was that the lives of almost anyone I look up to are much less linear than I expected, which has provided me great comfort in these initial stages of my education and career.

When I started working at CHASI, I expected a simple part time job that would provide me with undergraduate level research experience to take into my future education and career. Now, three years later, I know that I vastly underestimated the experiences I would have access to through CHASI and the impact this work experience would have on not only my education, but also my life.