Christina Giesbrecht was just married with plans for a family when she signed the petition calling for the establishment of a university in Northern BC back in the late 1980s. The school teacher from Burns Lake thought it would be great to have her future children stay closer to home for education. She had to attend university down south when she did her undergrad.
“It was very difficult to go so far away from home, so I was hoping my kids would be able to go somewhere closer,” she says.
There was a lot of talk about the idea on local radio and people were getting behind the idea. “It brought a lot of excitement for sure, the idea of getting a university in the north, for people in the North, because the cost of going south was pretty high, both financially and emotionally,” says Christina.
Her first visit to UNBC took place 10 years ago when she took some of her students there on a field trip, a memorable experience for her, as one of the people who helped make UNBC a reality.
“I was amazed,” she says. “It was a beautiful campus. It was exciting to be a part of that. I thought it would just be a little university. It’s far surpassed my thoughts of what it would become, in terms of programs offered and quality of the programs.”
While Christina’s children did not end up attending UNBC, Christina took advantage of having a university in her region. She got a master’s degree in special education in 2014, which helped her on her path to becoming a special education teacher, a career she enjoys very much.
“I had no inclination that I would be the one attending and not my kids,” she says. “It was very serendipitous.”
Christina liked the flexibility of courses offered at UNBC. She did her master’s degree online. The students who come from UNBC are impressive too, according to Christina. Many education students have worked with Christina on their practicums, and she says she’s proud to call them colleagues.
Were you one of the 16,000 who signed the petition? Tell us your story here: http://www.unbc.ca/25/public-campaign-update-form