Beyond Boundaries: The Inspiring Journey of a Student Athlete at UFV

Lucy Park and Cody Stewart

By Matthew Michaud

From Gyeongju, South Korea, to the University of the Fraser Valley, a young woman’s journey exemplifies the essence of determination and adaptability. As a Communications major and a standout on the UFV women’s golf team, her story is a compelling narrative of balancing academic rigor with athletic excellence. Leading the UFV Hub Club, she has significantly contributed to enriching campus life, showcasing her leadership skills and community spirit. This piece delves into her journey, highlighting the challenges, achievements, and invaluable lessons learned along the way.

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a fourth-year student at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) currently pursuing a major in Communications with a minor in Visual Arts. Throughout my time here, I’ve been actively involved in various programs and activities that have enriched my university experience.

I was born in South Korea, in a small city called Gyeongju. At the age of 11, I moved to Canada with my older sister to pursue educational opportunities abroad. Initially, we stayed with different host families in Abbotsford until my sister graduated and moved to Vancouver to pursue her academics at the University of British Columbia. Through middle school and high school, my sister and I moved around a lot, transitioning from one host family to another until I began university. During my first year of UFV, I moved into dormitories, and currently, I rent a small place for myself. Living away from my parents at a young age was a challenge, yet it also taught me invaluable lessons. I learned to take on responsibilities earlier than many of my peers and to seek help when necessary. Throughout the transition to a new life in Canada, my sister served as both my biggest support and my best friend.

How did you get involved with the UFV Golf Team?

My passion for golf began during grade 10 of high school, and from that moment onward, it became a huge part of my life. I started as a hobby to enjoy with my sister since our dad plays golf. As I picked up this sport, I saw myself enjoying it more than just a hobby. Despite being relatively new to the game, my coach recognized my enthusiasm and encouraged me to enter tournaments after just three months of playing. This was not because I am super talented but because he saw my genuine enjoyment of the sport. From there, my golf career has begun. I came to the point of being recruited to play for the UFV golf team, where I now proudly represent as a varsity athlete.

One of the most significant experiences during my time at UFV has been my involvement with the UFV women’s golf team. I was recruited during my high school years, and now, in my fourth year with the team, I cherish numerous great memories. Not only have I improved my golf skills by working with exceptional professionals and coaches, but I have also created lasting friendships with my teammates. We have competed in various leagues, including the Canada West league, NCAA tournaments, junior college leagues, and numerous invitationals, as well as the Golf Canada Nationals.

I had great success in my first year, receiving nominations for both athlete of the year and rookie of the year at UFV. Additionally, our team secured a silver medal finish at Nationals, with me achieving a 9th place individual finish and leading the team to 2nd place overall. I’ll always remember the moment when I completed my round with a strong finish, securing our team’s second-place position, three strokes ahead of the third-place team. It stands out as the highlight of my golf career thus far, being part of the team that won the silver medal in the Golf Canada National Championship.

Furthermore, I celebrated my first college win last season at Indian Summers in Olympia, Washington, alongside a team victory. These achievements hold a special place in my heart and represent significant milestones in my journey as a golfer. I can’t wait for the rest of the season and am especially looking forward to competing in the upcoming Golf Canada National Championship in June 2024.

Looking ahead, I aspire to continue my golf journey beyond my education, pursuing dreams of becoming a golf professional. Golf isn’t just a game to me. It ignites my true self and fuels my passion like nothing else.

You are also very active with the social scene at UFV. Can you tell us some more?

In addition to my life as a student athlete, I have dedicated my time to enhancing student engagement on campus as the president of the UFV Hub Club for the past two years. The UFV Hub Club is an official social club focused on fostering student engagement and facilitating connections among students. Through this role, I have organized a diverse array of events such as skating, bowling, movie nights, game nights, lake days and more. These events have provided students with invaluable opportunities to socialize, relax, and connect with their peers beyond the academic sphere. In my capacity as president, I have not only found friends and mentors but also developed my communication and leadership skills.

Overall, my time at UFV has been marked by valuable opportunities for personal growth, as well as lasting friendships. Through my involvement with the women’s golf team and the UFV Hub Club, I have not only developed as an individual but also played a role in enriching the dynamic student experience at UFV.

How the life of a student athlete?

While I’m deeply committed to pursuing my athletic goals, I equally prioritize my academic journey as a full-time student athlete. Balancing these two facets of my life has proven to be a significant challenge. I found time management to be very crucial, especially considering the extensive travel involved in competing in golf tournaments as a team.

Each tournament trip is a 4–5-day travel commitment, leading to the unfortunate necessity of missing lectures. Many of us in the team often work on assignments during our travels or in spare moments during trips. Our tournament destinations have spanned across various locations, including Washington, Las Vegas, California, Quebec, and more.

The peak golf season, spanning from March through May for the spring season and September through November for the fall season, sees us participating in approximately 8-10 events annually. Despite the academic demands, every tournament experience has been incredible. We get to play different golf courses around North America, engage in team activities and compete against great players from various schools. I think that missing lectures and having to work on schoolwork in planes, ferries, cars, and hotels is worth the experience. Additionally, professors at UFV are very understanding for student athletes which helped me navigate this challenge.

What were the biggest challenges of undertaking CMNS 235 – Public Speaking class?

I had been hoping to enroll in CMNS 235 since my second year, but finding a class schedule that didn’t conflict with my golf commitments was a minor challenge. The course required regular attendance for in-person lectures and active participation, and I didn’t want to miss out on valuable class interactions and opportunities to engage in coursework.

Last semester, I was fortunate to finally find a class that aligned with my golf team schedule, and it turned out to be one of the most beneficial courses I’ve taken at UFV. CMNS 235 pushed me out of my comfort zone, particularly with presentations. For me, one of the toughest aspects of the coursework was improvisation, a skill that didn’t come naturally to me. While I typically felt well-prepared for presentations that allowed preparing time for planning and practice, improvisation posed a unique challenge. Without the safety net of prior preparation, I grappled with the pressure to think on my feet and deliver rushed speeches.

Additionally, unlike previous presentations where I relied heavily on written content in PowerPoint slides or notes, CMNS 235 required me to invest significantly more time in speech preparation. Rather than reading from a script, I had to craft and memorize my speeches thoroughly. This meant dedicating extra time to ensure I was ready to speak confidently in every class session, where participation was expected regularly.

What did you get out of CMNS 235?

Participating in CMNS 235, a public speaking class, has been instrumental in improving my communication abilities and overcoming my fear of public speaking. Through this experience, I’ve not only developed a greater sense of confidence in communicating in front of audiences but also developed invaluable skills in speech preparation and presentation. One of the most significant benefits I learnt from this class was overcoming the anxiety of speaking in front of many people. By consistently engaging in speech delivery and getting immediate feedback, I gradually learned to manage my nerves and communicate with greater ease.

Moreover, the course taught me practical strategies for speech preparation, allowing me to approach presentations with clarity and organization. From structuring speeches to creating effective PowerPoint slides, I gained insights into effective communication techniques that I was able to use outside of this class. I learnt how to confidently prepare and deliver speeches. As my goal is to become a golf professional, I will be in a lot of situations where I have to speak in public such as in interviews, teaching, giving lessons and more.

I am continuing to develop my public speaking abilities. I am grateful for the personal and professional growth I was able to have through taking CMNS 235. I can proudly say that I have enhanced my confidence and proficiency in communication.

What are your general opinions from being a CMNS Major at UFV?

Firstly, my enjoyment of every Communication class I’ve taken at UFV played a big role in making my decision to pursue this major. Beyond the enjoyment of these classes, I’ve come to recognize the relevance of communication to both my personal life and future career aspirations. Among the courses offered within the Communication program, standouts for me include CMNS 235 (Public Speaking), CMNS 316 (Communicating for Social Media), and CMNS 375 (Print and Digital Design).

The Communication major surprised me with its variety of course offerings. Initially, I expected a focus on reading and writing, but I discovered a diverse array of courses spanning various aspects of communication. Currently enrolled in CMNS 316, I’m learning about how to communicate effectively for social media platforms but also took CMNS 375 where I learnt about print and digital design.

Overall, my experience as a Communication major has been overwhelmingly positive, reaffirming my belief in the transformative power of effective communication. The wealth of knowledge and skills gained from these classes has been exceptional, emphasizing the importance of communication in various contexts.

For anyone deciding on switching to Communication major at UFV, I would encourage them not to hesitate. Not only are the classes enjoyable and engaging, but they also impart invaluable insights and practical skills. Moreover, the broad opportunities of job within the field of communication offers a various exciting career paths to explore.

Thank you and all the best with your studies and future!

What’s all the buzz about? Lana Harach Wins Award for Research on B.C.’s Asian Giant Hornets

Lana Harach, an Agricultural Science student at UFV, is the Undergraduate Research Excellence (URE) Award winner for a journal article she wrote in CMNS 325: Writing for the Sciences and Technologies. Lana’s work explores the emergence of the invasive Vespa mandarinia species (Asian giant hornets) on the West Coast of British Columbia.

“I took CMNS 325 as I wanted to become more skilled at sharing the information I have learned,” says Lana. “My favourite part of the course was learning how to build scientific articles based on how people read and make connections between sentences within a paragraph.”

Below, Lana discusses her research article, “Mitigating Dangers of Vespa mandarinia (Asian Giant Hornet),” where she used secondary literature to underscore the threat this invasive species poses to the agricultural economy of the Fraser Valley.

Why did you choose to study Asian giant hornets? What did you learn in the process?

LH: My interest in Asian giant hornets started the year before I took CMNS 325 because one of the hornet nests found was close to my hometown. When brainstorming ideas for my focus in CMNS 325 I realized that the topic of Asian giant hornets overlaps with another one of my passions: ‘integrated pest management’. As pest management is a field that I am interested in pursuing as a career it seemed like a fun topic that I not only had an emotional connection to but one that could help me in a future career! Throughout the process of writing this paper I learned how important making short-term and long-term deadlines are, and how these can help me avoid procrastination. It also helped me see the value in coming back to a writing project with fresh eyes days later – teaching me that while having someone else read over your paper is valuable, there is a lot I can accomplish before that if I give myself the time to do so.

The topic of Asian giant hornets is a very popular one, with many articles published about it. It was interesting to wade through these and I feel gave me a better understanding of the whole picture. It taught me that it’s important to remain connected to the readers, to understand where their fears or misunderstandings are coming from so that I can better explain the science behind it.

Why should people in B.C. to be aware of the V. mandarinia? What steps can people take to protect themselves?

LH: It is critical for people in B.C. to be aware of Asian giant hornets because they would pose a high threat to our ecological systems if they became an established invasive pest. Asian giant hornets are ferocious predators in the insect world and their main target is bee populations. Our North American bee populations have not evolved defence mechanisms against Asian giant hornets, and because of this would be greatly impacted (and killed).

Another reason for people in B.C. to be aware of Asian giant hornets is to protect themselves. Protecting oneself starts as simply as observing your surroundings, especially when you are walking in forests (their preferred habitat). These hornets don’t tend to sting humans unless provoked so give them plenty of space and room. Asian giant hornets also get excited by bright colours like yellow and orange (the colour of their main prey), so wearing duller, more earthy colours would reduce the chance of catching their attention. If you do see an Asian giant hornet report it to the Invasive Species Council of BC (by phone, app or website).

Thanks for sharing your insights on the Asian giant hornets. Congratulations on winning the URE Award! What did you think about being nominated, and then winning the award?

LH: I was surprised and excited to be nominated. I tend to rely more on my speaking communication skills, so having my written communication skills acknowledged has opened some career doors for me in my mind. When I received the email telling me I had won the award I was so honoured! I think the most overwhelming moment for me was thinking about the number of individuals who decided that this paper not only worth their time to read through but to recognize officially as well is very humbling. 

Speaking of Success: Balneet Toor wins the Toastmasters’ Award

Let’s toast Balneet Toor, the recipient of the Rise and Shine Toastmasters’ Annual Achievement Award, for her outstanding work in CMNS 235: Public Speaking. Balneet recently graduated from UFV with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, as well as the Professional Communication Essentials certificate.

“I was very surprised and thankful when I found out about the nomination,” says Balneet. “It felt nice to know that my peers and professor enjoyed listening to my speeches and they have faith in my skills. Winning the award was the best feeling ever. I felt very proud of myself, and this was a fantastic way to end my last semester at UFV.”

Why did you take the class and what was your experience like?

BT: I took this class to challenge myself and to improve my public speaking skills. Another motivating factor was that I would qualify for a communications certificate since I had already completed the other two communications courses. It was a hard decision for me because I get very nervous while speaking in front of a large group. However, I am so glad that I pushed myself to take the course because it was a life changing experience for me. I was able to overcome my fear of public speaking and regain lost confidence. Samantha made this course enjoyable and valuable. It was a great decision to take this class.

What was your favourite part of the class? 

BT: My favorite part of the class was the impromptu speaking and having a theme for each class. This is something I looked forward to each week as the themes were very interesting and our class discussions were also very effective and valuable. I loved listening to my peers, hearing about their experiences and relating them to my life and also learning new things from them. This was a great way to get to know one another. It helped the class understand each other better and increase our comfort level.

What was it like taking a public speaking class on Zoom? 

BT: It was a very unique experience taking a public speaking class on Zoom. Honestly it went so much better than I had expected. Samantha made the course very easy to follow along and she encouraged us to use this opportunity to learn different techniques on how to present online. Since I am a business student, I feel this was a very valuable experience because I will be presenting online at some point in my career. Especially with the world changing due to the pandemic and most people working from home. I’m glad I was able to make progress with each speech and change the technique that I was using to present. For example, in my first speech I was sitting down and presenting. By the end of the course, I presented while standing in front of the camera.

Do you have any tips for future public speaking students? 

BT: Some tips that I have for future public speaking students is to take risks, chances and have faith in yourself. You are your biggest motivator. It’s important to brainstorm and practice your speech beforehand to ensure that your speech will be effective. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! This course is full of enjoyable activities and amazing opportunities.­­

Balneet’s award-winning acceptance speech is below. “I prepared for my final speech by creating a speech plan and noting down everything that I would like to include,” said Balneet. “From there onwards I just spoke from the heart. I was so thankful and happy that I was given this opportunity.”

UFV Practicums, College of Arts

UFV Practicums, College of Arts

By Jennifer Barkey, ABT Practicum Student

Earlier this week, I sat down with Elise Goertz, Internship & Practicum Coordinator, and learned a little about UFV’s College of Arts practicum program. This was a fascinating experience, since I am also a UFV practicum student hailing from the Continuing Education Department.

What’s the scoop?

What exactly is a practicum, anyway?

Practicums are hands-on learning experiences outside of the classroom that offer students the chance to put theory to practice and actually work in their chosen field of interest.

These types of experiential learning opportunities are available to all qualifying students within the College of Arts. Students can gain actual work experience and make invaluable connections while studying–and will receive credits towards their degree! Most practicum courses are 3 to 6 credits, depending on the number of hours required.

Experience is essential

Practicum and internship opportunities are so valuable because they allow students to gain a hands on experience with the career or field that they are working towards. The completion of a practicum during a degree program gives graduating students a huge advantage! They walk into the workforce with both experience and education under their belt.

Is it a fit?

Have you ever thought that a specific job would be perfect for you, only to land it and find out you dislike it?

While completing a practicum, students gain practical knowledge that can only be found by working in the chosen field or profession. They then have a better gauge on their satisfaction level within the potential position as well as being able to identify gaps in their current education level when it comes to the practical application of knowledge. The earlier students can critically analyze their educational paths and future career choices, the easier it is to redirect to an educational or career path that is a better fit.

Is it required?

As was stated above, a practicum can be set up for any student within the College of Arts, however, only Criminology, Communications, Global Development and Graphic Design currently require a practicum. Although practicum and internship courses are not a requirement for all Degree and Certificate programs within the College of Arts, they are recommended.

Practicum courses also help students meet the ‘Civic Engagement’ piece of their degree requirements.

The Benefits

  • Hands-on practical training which help streamline future job choices
  • Identifying educational strengths
  • Can lead to future job placements
  • Development networking skills
  • Credits toward degree completion
  • Gaining actual experience
  • Classroom learning is put into practice
  • Students able to “try out” a job/field of interest before completing their degree
  • Students are paired with compatible employers
  • Practicum courses meet Civic Engagement requirements

More Info!

Don’t miss the exciting Practicum & Internship Lunch and Learn Information event happening on March 31, 2020 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in B101. Come and hear more in depth information about practicums and internships within the College of Arts. Bring your lunch and come learn about how you can get involved!

This event features:

  • Testimonials from prior practicum students
  • Linda Pardy sharing on domestic practicum placements
  • Cherie Enns sharing about the exciting Queen Elizabeth Scholar Internship, and international practicum placements
  • Q & A with an expert panel

You will want to attend in order to hear about the QE Scholar Internship program where you can travel abroad to East Africa, specifically Tanzania, Kenya, and India, for your internship. There is only a 2-year window for this program before the funding runs out which is at almost $7,000!

So, come to B101 on March 31st and hear about these exciting opportunities then take the next step and begin your practicum journey.

The Next Step

Find a full list of current practicums and internships that are offered by the College of Arts here. But don’t stop there, if you don’t see what you are looking for, make sure you drop by Elise’s office anytime Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 9:00am and 2:00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:00am and 4:30pm, or email her for more information!

Once you have discussed possible practicum ideas, she will send you the application and you will need to fill it out and send it back with your updated, vetted resume. This resume will be shown to potential employers so it must reflect current experience and education. The Career Centre is available for examining your resume and helping you reflect your current information.

Again, I invite you to join the Practicum Information Session “lunch and learn” on March 31st from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in B101 for your first step towards concrete practical knowledge application.

*Photos by UFV photographers and captured from UFV’s Flickr page

Communications Opportunities in the Fraser Valley

Communications Opportunities in the Fraser Valley

By Jennifer Barkey, UFV practicum student

Living in the Fraser Valley is desirable because of the beautiful setting, easy access to recreation activities and exercise, and its wide variety of opportunities for healthy living.

Wouldn’t it be even more attractive if we were able to work in our community as well?

Armed with this idea, I hit the internet to find out how many job opportunities there are within the Fraser Valley that also involve excellent communications skills and perhaps advanced communications schooling. I was not disappointed with the myriad of postings scattered across the information highway; I found a plethora of them quickly and easily through popular websites such as,, and

Sifting through the postings, I quickly realized that excellent communications is highly sought after in almost every industry out there. I saw postings for web specialists, marketers, managers, cooks, dispatchers, sales associates, and many more, all listing excellent communications as a required skill. A few postings required detailed working knowledge of communications practices and processes. The individuals these companies seek are able to discern which type of communication is most effective for the situation. Some prestigious postings also required a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

So how do we do it?

The best answer I can offer on how to acquire these exemplary communications skills is this: education, of course!

Thankfully, The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is conveniently located here, with campuses in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and Hope—and can meet your educational needs in this area. Want to advance in the workforce? Enroll in a communications program at UFV: UFV offers a professional communications certificate, as well as a communications minor.

It will change your life for the better by giving you an advantage over other candidates, and open the door to opportunities in the Fraser Valley that are waiting for you.

Talk to an advisor today, or email

*Photograph by Jennifer Barkey

Catching up with public speaking award winner, Liz Power

By Jess Wind

Every year one student from each section of CMNS 235: Public Speaking is nominated by their class for the Rise and Shine Toastmasters award at the end of the semester. These nominees present an acceptance speech as their entry for the award and one exceptional speaker is chosen for the annual $600 prize.

Our most recent winner is Liz Powers, a Bachelor of Arts student with plans to major in psychology before moving on to a Masters in counselling. She’s prepared for it to take longer than the average four-year degree because on top of being a student and server, Liz is a mother of three.

Liz came into every class with a smile and enthusiasm that radiated to everyone around her. Liz’s speeches were relevant to her life, and that of her audience with a healthy dose of humour to draw her listeners in. Most memorably, Liz taught us how to bake cookies for her demonstration speech, and there were plenty of samples to go around.

I caught up with Liz to find out what it took to earn the nomination from her classmates, and the mark Public Speaking has left on her.

Talk to me a bit about your decision to take the class and your journey throughout the term.

So I took the class because I was told there was no final exam. I was just trying to balance out my course load and figure out how to do that with kids and going back to school because I was still really new to the process.

And then the process of learning how to write a speech and then how to execute it was actually far more interesting than I thought it’d be.

What did you think about being nominated, and then about winning?

I was actually very surprised. And then I was grateful and also ungrateful in that I was like “I don’t have time to write another one of these and memorize it,” but I thought, it’s good practice.

Winning the award was a nice confidence booster. It was almost necessary at that stage. When I got the email that I won, it was at a really difficult stage in my life personally with my kids and what not and that was just like a nice moment in what was a really chaotic couple of months.

How’d you plan for the final speech?

One of the memorization techniques that was mentioned in my psychology class was the memory palace. And so I used that to memorize my last speech which was so helpful.

I memorized the speech walking through my house from room to room and each space in my house had a different component of my speech. So when I was giving my speech it was a lot easier because it had a flow to it … I feel it made the process far less nerve wracking.

Do you find you’re more aware of speaking skills in others now?

I am more aware of my hand gestures when I’m talking, because when I started I looked like an aerobics instructor from 1980. Which is really appropriate being the size of my hair typically.

I went to the Tedx Chilliwack, and it was very interesting watching the different speakers because they work with coaches and some of them were so on point and I can tell [they’ve] really dialed this down. I was so impressed — things I probably wouldn’t have noticed before … but now when you understand the number of things that need to go into that. And then the moments where they would forget you could see them stop and close their eyes and look for it in their mind … I know what that moment feels like.

Do you have any tips for the next round of public speaking students?

In terms of memorizing, the memory palace was key for me. And the other thing that I think helped was … I practiced in front of my video recorder … and then I would watch it. And then I would do it again and I would watch it. I would see where I stumbled or where I missed and then I would try to make those pieces more memorable.

And I would also practice in my car, anytime I was driving anywhere, it was repeat, repeat, repeat.

Looking toward the future, Liz dreams of opening a bed and breakfast one day and possibly combining that with her counselling focus into a retreat centre.

I actually just love making people’s beds and cooking them breakfast and telling them about the community and all the cool fun things there are to do.