Alison Keple receives Mal-U Alumni Horizon Award

June 4, 2006 - 5:00pm

Alison Keple, a Grade 12 science teacher with “infectious enthusiasm and a passion for teaching"  is this year’s winner of Malaspina University-College’s Alumni Horizon Award. 


Keple, who teaches at Cowichan Secondary School in Duncan, received the award from Malaspina President Rich Johnston at Monday’s spring convocation ceremony at the Port Theatre. The annual award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of Malaspina University-College alumni early in their careers, within 10 years of receiving a credential from the institution.


“I’m extremely honoured to receive the Alumni Horizon Award,” said Keple. “Malaspina is all about relationships and opportunities. It’s the people that I met at Malaspina, and opportunities they gave me, that have shaped where I am today.”


Keple graduated from Malaspina’s Resource Management and Officer Training Diploma Program in 1996. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Malaspina in 1999, and received the department's most Outstanding Student Award.


"We all knew Alison was going to achieve great things, and did she ever," said Malaspina Biology professor Dr. Tim Goater.


After graduating from Malaspina, Keple went on to obtain a Masters Degree in 2002 from the Zoology Department at the University of British Columbia. During her studies, she became a well-recognized expert on the ecology of marine mammals in the Strait of Georgia and lectured frequently on aspects of her research. In 2003, she pursued her primary passion to become a teacher and completed the post-degree teaching program at the University of Victoria.


“Alison excels as a teacher because she possesses infectious enthusiasm and a fun-loving, adventurous spirit,” added Goater. “She creates a positive learning environment for her students, and possesses all the key qualities of a great teacher - she's patient, adaptable and innovative, and is constantly developing exciting new curricula.”


Jane Watson, Chair of the Biology Department at Malaspina, once hired Keple as a summer field assistant and also as a teaching assistant for a course in the Biology of Marine Mammals. “Alison helped in my research on the community ecology of sea otters and completed an independent research project on the foraging behaviour of sea otters,” said Watson. “Her project is one of the best examples of undergraduate research I have seen."


Keple’s background in biology, scientific research and her love of teaching “has made her an outstanding, dynamic and inspiring teacher,” added Watson. “Alison hasn’t abandoned her love of research, and continues to conduct marine mammal surveys with colleagues in the US and Canada.”


Keple also serves a board member for the Smart Foundation of Melanoma Research and acts as an assistant race director and sponsorship coordinator for a large triatholon race in Victoria. An accomplished ironman triathlete and competitive swimmer, Keple coaches the track and cross country running teams at her high school. She has given back to her alma matter by being a member of the Malaspina University-College Alumni Advisory Board since 2003.


“Alison is a terrific ambassador for Malaspina,” added President Rich Johnston. “She’s always telling others about the quality of undergraduate education she received at Malaspina University-College, mostly due to the hands-on research and teaching experience she gained here. She’s an excellent role model who is now encouraging her own students to consider Malaspina to pursue their degrees. We’re very proud of her.”

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