VIU Bachelor of Arts Graduates Share their Success Stories

VIU Global Studies alum Katie Durvin, a Policy Analyst with Global Affairs Canada, shares her story as part of the "25 Ways to B.A. Grad" campaign.

February 28, 2017 - 3:30pm

VIU celebrates 25 years of granting BAs with a look at the rewarding careers alumni pursued with their degree

From the Liberal Party of Canada’s videographer, who spends much of his time filming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; to a member of Team Canada’s national volleyball team who travels the world pursuing her passion; to a PhD student working in neuroscience research, Vancouver Island University (VIU) Bachelor of Arts graduates are finding rewarding careers around the world.

VIU’s BA program is celebrating its silver anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion, 25 alumni have shared their stories about what they are doing now, and how their degree helped them get there. Their stories make up the “25 Ways to B.A. Grad” campaign. From March 1 - 25, look for their stories on VIU’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

BA graduates are prized in the job market for the high level of skills they bring in written and spoken communication; careful and creative thinking; problem-solving; leadership and teamwork; social and cultural awareness; civic responsibility; and adaptability to shifting trends, as these stories tell.

“As a young student at VIU, I benefited greatly from the small classroom sizes, dedicated professors who knew everyone’s names, and the abundance of extracurricular opportunities available on and off campus,” remembers VIU alum Katie Durvin, who majored in Global Studies and is now a Policy Analyst with the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Division of Global Affairs Canada. “I was able to develop practical skills and tangible experience in my field of focus, which helped open the door to grad school and now a career with Global Affairs Canada.”

These alumni stories will be also be featured on a new website detailing the wide variety of BA programs on offer in the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences at VIU. The website also includes tips on getting the most out of your BA experience and articles on how a BA can lead you into a wide variety of rewarding careers.

“What a post-secondary education in the liberal arts offers is experience in critical thinking about messy, complicated concepts,” writes Brad Ferguson, president and CEO of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, in The Globe and Mail. “It offers a platform for the generation and evolution of ideas, and a safe space to take risks and develop the kind of courage that defines our greatest innovators, entrepreneurs and world-changers.”

For Creative Writing alum Mat Snowie, his VIU BA, along with the extracurricular activities he participated in on campus, helped him explore new ideas and activities and find out what he was interested in. He uses the writing skills he learned at VIU in his current job as the Liberal Party of Canada’s videographer.

“I know people who had a career path in mind coming out of high school and pursued it happily, but I know far more people who needed to learn new things before they found their passion, and at the end of those years of exploration the BA is a landmark that all the experiences that led to it can hang on,” he says.

Dr. Ross MacKay, Dean of VIU’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, says the idea for this campaign started a couple of years ago as a collaboration between his Faculty and the Faculty of Social Sciences to debunk some of the misinformation about BA graduates and to establish a positive narrative with respect to the tangible benefits of pursuing a BA.

“I went to a Conference Board of Canada conference in Toronto last November that was attended by many executives from banks and major corporations, and they kept insisting on the value of arts education, with many declaring that they often hire arts and humanities grads,” he says. “They say they know they are getting people who can communicate, can problem-solve and are excellent critical thinkers. These grads are also flexible. They can move with changing trends because they’ve been educated for life, they have ‘learned how to learn.’”

Dr. John Black, Dean of VIU’s Faculty of Social Sciences, says after 5-10 years in a particular occupation, BA grads often end up in management positions.

“A company can teach workers the technical skills they require, but they need fertile ground to fall on – and that’s your BA student,” he says.

To view the 25 student success stories, visit



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Our Alumni