Our Alumni

Telma Dos Santos sitting in a chair in front of a group of seniors who are all playing with a Hua hoop in their hands

Alum of the Month: Telma Dos Santos

September 8, 2023

Telma Dos Santos was working as a health care assistant when she first heard about the Activity Assistant certificate at VIU. The program is designed to provide further training for people who have previous experience as a health care aid or community support worker and want to create programming that promotes wellness and fun for those in their care. “I heard about this program from a recreation... Read more

Spenser Smith profile

Alum of the Month: Spenser Smith

September 6, 2023

Struggling with substance use in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan, Spenser Smith decided to come to a residential treatment centre in Nanaimo. Following his treatment, he made the decision to stay in the city after falling in love “with the rainforest, the wildlife and the small caring community.” He also decided to enroll in VIU’s Creative Writing program to chase his dreams of becoming a... Read more

Brian Timmer wears a SCUBA suit while swimming surrounded by kelp.

Alum of the Month: Brian Timmer

July 31, 2023

As a SCUBA instructor at Sundown Diving, Brian Timmer swam amongst the kelp forests in the waters of Nanoose Bay. During heatwaves in 2014 and 2015, he witnessed those kelp forests disappear.   A few years later while attending Vancouver Island University, he worked for the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute on a kelp restoration project, studying kelp forests and nearshore... Read more

Lee Cooper

Alum of the Month: Lee Cooper

June 18, 2023

French-inspired and set in a 19th century brick-and-beam building, L’Abattoir sprouted up among the cobblestones of Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood more than a decade ago. The restaurant’s executive chef and owner is Lee Cooper, who graduated from VIU’s Culinary Arts program in 1997. The restaurant’s most recent accomplishment is making the Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list this year. The... Read more

Ashley Kuramoto smiles with a natural and/or garden background

Alum of the Month: Ashley Kuramoto

May 20, 2023

From student to teacher to published author Since graduating from Vancouver Island University in 2011 with her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees, Ashley Kuramoto has been working her dream job as a teacher. She’s also a mother and, most recently, a published author. In recent months, Kuramoto has written and illustrated two children’s books that encourage families to explore fun... Read more

Xander leans against a pole outside VIU's Centre for Health and Science

Alum of the Month: Xander France

April 27, 2023

Xander France has found the ideal job combining his passions for tourism, sales and marketing. He is Director of Marketing and Sales with the Vancouver Island Ferry Company. This new, Nanaimo-based company is about to launch a downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver fast ferry service. The VIU Bachelor of Tourism Management grad has spent the past 14 years enjoying different roles in the sales,... Read more

Headshot of Amy Armstrong and Vanessa Young

Alumni spotlight: Amy Armstrong and Vanessa Young

April 13, 2023

Amy Armstrong and Vanessa Young graduated from VIU’s Bachelor of Interior Design program in 2015. They met during their studies and became good friends. Now they work together as senior co-directors of product design and development at Dvele, a home-building company based in California. We caught up with Amy and Vanessa to learn about their time at VIU and how their education helped them prepare... Read more

Tchadas Leo portrait

Journalist wins award for Indigenous-focused podcast

April 6, 2023

Former Digital Media Studies student Tchadas Leo shares his story Building skills for a career in broadcast journalism brought Tchadas Leo to Vancouver Island University in 2009. Fast forward to today and he now hosts the award-winning podcast Our Native Land. The podcast explores “all things Indigenous and First Nations” and features guests ranging from former BC Premier John Horgan to Cedar... Read more

Trevor Ballyntine smiling at the camera

Alum of the month: Trevor Ballantyne

March 24, 2023

When Trevor Ballyntine was growing up, graduating from high school seemed like a stretch – never mind university. Now Trevor, who graduated from VIU’s Liberal Studies program last spring, is on his way to becoming a lawyer. He recently had the opportunity to meet Justice Russell Brown of the Supreme Court of Canada. We caught up Trevor recently to learn more about what brought him to this stage... Read more

Drew Milne portrait next to VIU's Centre for Health and Science

Alum of the Month: Drew Milne

March 15, 2023

Growing up on Vancouver Island, Drew Milne explored the great outdoors whenever he got the chance, so it’s not surprising he gravitated towards a career as a BC Conservation Officer. Last fall, the provincial government recognized him for his excellent service in this role with the Conservation Officer of the Year designation. This is given to conservation officers who go above and beyond the... Read more