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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
July 3, 2015

Canadian Excellence

Testimonial: Jenna Bailey

I will always look back fondly on my experiences with the history department at Laurier. The holistic and inclusive nature of Laurier means that the history department serves as a community where students are not just nameless faces. The balance between lectures and seminars reinforces this notion of community, and the opportunities to study broad as well as focused topics in history allow students to discover and hone their interests. In hindsight one of the most beneficial aspects of my experience with the history department was the acknowledgement that not everyone who studies history has to become a historian by profession. The history department fosters the development of essential skills that are transferable and provide an edge in several fields including journalism, business, and education.

There is a direct correlation between my current success and my experiences with the history department at Laurier. Through exposure to subject material and the development of essential transferable skills, studying history at Laurier served as an intellectual and motivational launching point for my career as an educator and advocate. It was through my fourth-year seminar course in 20th Century Canadian History that I was introduced to issues involving Canada's Arctic. Developing an interest in this topic ultimately led to me moving 400km north of the Arctic Circle to teach in a remote Inuit community. After returning from Nunavut, I continued to develop this niche through curriculum development for Northern Canada, advocating within the realm of Aboriginal Education and teaching the first and only congregated Inuit class in a public school board in southern Canada. Within my classroom I have hosted Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, spouse of the Governor General, as well as various government organizations, and the CBC. Most recently the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples awarded me with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for my contributions to Aboriginal Education. I do not feel that any of this would have been possible had it not been for my fourth-year seminar course that exposed me to new ideas, and helped develop the skills that have proven essential to my success.

Jenna Bailey, Specialized Inuit Kindergarten Teacher and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipient, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board