VIU Hairdressing Student Snags Lieutenant Governor's Silver Medal

Jaime Howden, a graduate from VIU's Hairdressing Program, will receive the Lieutenant Governor's Silver medal during the 10 am convocation ceremony on Friday, June 24 at the Port Theatre.

June 22, 2016 - 12:00pm

Jaime Howden, a Tuition Waiver student, among more than 250 graduates at VIU’s Trades & Applied Technology Convocation ceremonies Friday

Jaime Howden is graduating from Vancouver Island University’s Hairdressing Program this Friday with a little silver to add to her kit.

The 19-year-old will receive the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal during the 10 am convocation ceremony on Friday, June 24 at the Port Theatre. Each year, one VIU student in a certificate program is chosen for this award, which recognizes academic excellence and positive contributions to the university and community.

“She’s been a driving force in the success of her class because she’s always strived to do her best and that’s rubbed off on the rest of the students,” said Instructor Sally Vinden. “She’s a strong team player, she’s very dedicated to her learning and she models that constantly.” 

What makes this award extra special is that Howden is one of VIU’s Youth in Care Tuition Waiver Program students. The program supports eligible students who have grown up in BC’s youth in care system by waiving tuition fees for the student’s first certificate, diploma or degree program. VIU has funded nearly 80 students through this program since Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, raised a challenge to post-secondary institutions in 2013.

In Howden’s case, the Tuition Waiver Program has allowed her to focus on excelling in the classroom – she works part-time at Urban Edge Hair Group in Parksville, but thanks to the program, tuition is one bill she doesn’t need to worry about.

“It’s helped me out so much,” said Howden, who moved out of her parents’ house when she was 16 and into BC’s foster care system. When she turned 18, while still attending high school in Qualicum, she moved out on her own.

Howden got interested in hairdressing after doing a few updos for her friends for their high school prom. “I like the creativity of it, how you’re interacting with people all day and you’re always moving,” she said. “I like fast-paced environments. Making people feel better about themselves is a huge bonus.”

Since starting the 10-month Hairdressing Program at VIU last fall, Howden has worked hard, staying after school to practice on her own time, volunteering for every event the department participates in and getting involved with helping her peers, said Instructor Joanne Slocum.

“It’s nice to see students who go the extra mile get rewarded,” said Slocum. “It also acknowledges the value of our program and the industry of hairdressing.”

Howden feels that being independent at a young age has made her more appreciative of any opportunities that come her way. “My half-sister has helped me out a lot, but I definitely work hard for what I want,” she said. “Being independent has helped a lot with time management. Winning this award shows me that hard work pays off.”

Convocation Ceremonies for VIU’s Trades and Applied Technology graduates take place on Friday, June 24, at 10 am and 2:30 pm at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo. More than 250 graduates from a range of diploma and certificate programs will walk across the stage. Programs include Aboriginal Construction, Applied Business Technology, Automotive Service Technician, Carpentry, Computer Systems and Networking, Culinary Arts, Electrician, Hairdressing, Heavy Mechanical Trades, Horticulture Technician, Information Technology and Applied Systems, Motorcycle and Marine Technician, Power Engineering, Professional Baking and Pastry Arts, Professional Cook, Refrigeration Air-Conditioning Mechanic and Welding.

For more details on VIU’s Tuition Waiver Program, click here. Visit VIU’s Convocation homepage for more information on Friday’s ceremonies. 



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250-740-6288 C: 250.619-6860 E:



Culinary Arts Graduate Heads to Top-rated Singapore Restaurant

A desire to learn about French cuisine – and the fact that his girlfriend is studying Hospitality Management at VIU – motivated Haoran Fang, 26, from Zhengzhou, China, to enroll in the University’s Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island. “I heard it was one of the best culinary schools in Canada,” he said.

After crossing the stage on Friday, Fang heads to Singapore for an internship at Restaurant Andre, No. 32 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 list.

“It’s a really good opportunity for me, I will learn a lot about fine dining,” he said. “I’m really excited, but I’m also really nervous. I beat out a lot of people to work there.”

Fang plans to come back to Vancouver Island in the fall and work for a few years, then open his own restaurant in Victoria or Nanaimo.

Student’s Family Flies in from Africa and Toronto for Graduation Ceremony

John Adeyinka, 23, travelled a long way to attend VIU’s Information Technology & Applied Systems Program – all the way from Nigeria.

He was looking for a practical course that offers hands-on training, and his decision paid off – he already has a job with Real Estate Webmasters in Nanaimo.

The icing on the cake? His family is flying in from Nigeria and Toronto to attend his graduation ceremony on Friday. His parents and two siblings are flying in from Nigeria, and two extended family members are coming from Toronto. Adeyinka hasn’t seen his parents or brother and sister in three years, so this is an extra-special occasion for him.

“Graduation is a big deal in Africa,” says Adeyinka. “It’s one of the days we like to celebrate.”

Adeyinka plans to work for a while and then apply for his Permanent Resident Card.  

Tags: Student Success