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Award Helps Student Pursue Her Passion

Carleen Paltzat is among the one in four UNBC students who receive scholarships or bursaries each year. She says receiving a scholarship has helped her become financially independent, while at the same time pursuing her passions in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities.

August 24, 2017
Carleen Paltzat
A student award helped Carleen Paltzat become financially independent while continuing her studies in environmental science.

Carleen Paltzat loves the outdoors and is committed to finding a career where she can have a positive impact on the environment.

Paltzat, a third-year environmental science student from Alberta, chose to attend the University of Northern British Columbia because the spectacular landscape of Northern B.C. lends itself to combining academic study and the natural environment.

“I love being outside and enjoying nature,” she says. “I think it is so important for us as humans to work to preserve it, so that many generations after us will still be as privileged as we are to be surrounded by natural beauty.”

Paltzat is also among the one in four UNBC students who receive scholarships or bursaries each year. She says receiving a scholarship has helped her become financially independent, while at the same time pursuing her passions in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities.

“There are very few times in my life when I cried tears of joy and when I opened the scholarship acceptance letter that was one of them,” she says.

Paltzat is active in the UNBC community, from her involvement as president of the Students for a Green University to her participation in the Art, Change and Creativity (ACC) research project.

“In order to be able to have time to do those things on top of classes and work, it is really nice to have some financial help,” Paltzat says. “I am so grateful for the scholarship funding available and to all of the very generous donors. They really make a difference.”

Scholarship and Bursary Growth is a priority of the Northern Leadership campaign. Contributions to this designation will inspire more next generation leaders at UNBC, like Paltzat.

As part of the ACC project, Paltzat co-curated an art exhibit at Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George that was focused on sparking discussions around climate change. She also visited school groups in Northern B.C. to talk about the links between art and science.

The project took her overseas as she collaborated with fellow student Scott Brown to present their findings at the 2017 Conference of Irish Geographers in Cork, Ireland.

“I love art and I love learning about how we can make a difference with climate change,” Paltzat says. “I never thought I would find a job that would combine the two.”

The ACC project is funded by UNBC and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). Two Rivers Gallery collaborated on the project.

Working with faculty members Dr. Zoë Meletis (Geography) and Dr. Mark Groulx (Environmental Planning) as well as Michelle Connelly from PICS and George Harris and Carolyn Holmes from Two Rivers Gallery, Paltzat and Brown aimed to spur dialogue by blurring the lines between art, science, research and activism.

The interdisciplinary nature of the project allowed Paltzat to explore different fields of study and approach problem solving from other points of view, something she believes will be valuable when she begins her career.

“I am a science student, and this project exposed me to art, social science, public participation, research methods and communications,” she says.

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