VIU Queen Elizabeth Scholars Prepare for Global Internships

Queen Elizabeth Scholars

VIU Queen Elizabeth Scholars Melanie Poerner Loureiro, a third-year Biology major, is heading to Belize, while fourth-year Global Studies student Jeremy Perkins will travel to Australia.

April 27, 2022 - 1:00pm

The global student mobility program has returned, with students traveling to Australia and Belize.

After a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Vancouver Island University (VIU) are once again able to participate in a global talent exchange program between Canada and other Commonwealth countries.

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship (QES) program aims to develop the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders by providing enriched academic, professional and cross-cultural experiences. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement and community involvement, and the goals are to develop global citizens, activate a new generation of leaders, enhance collaborative capacity and peer relationships, and enable scholars to pursue and amplify community development.

“We’re excited to be returning to international travel and reconnecting with our QES partnership network around the world,” says Jennifer Sills, Manager of Education Abroad and the QES program at VIU.

VIU’s Building Resilience in Coastal Communities project (BRiCC) provides QES scholarship funding to outbound VIU students and incoming graduate level international scholars and supports opportunities for students to collaborate on innovative solutions to the pressing issues facing coastal communities in Canada and around the world. In particular, scholarship activities are focused on fostering sustainable economic activity, particularly tourism, water management, management of parks and protected areas, community resilience to climate change, and sustainable aquatic foods and local agricultural production.

“Our scholars have diligently and carefully prepared for their internships and we are so proud of them for their flexibility, adaptability, and tenacity throughout the pandemic and especially the past few months,” says Sills. “They have truly embodied the values of the QE scholarship program and I’m confident they will be excellent ambassadors of VIU, our BRiCC project, and the QE scholarship program.”

Jeremy Perkins, a fourth-year Global Studies student, was originally supposed to do his internship in 2020, but had it postponed due to the global travel shutdown. He is heading to Australia, where he’ll spend three months working with a non-governmental organization known as Climate Action Network Australia.

“I’ll be working directly on the humanitarian consequences of climate change, policy, logistics, engaging with stakeholders and whatever else they need me to do,” explains Perkins, who plans to return to VIU for his fifth year in the fall. “I think the internship will be an opportunity to learn how to be a force for change and allow me to really think about the part I can play and what I can do. My general goal is to do something that has an impact and makes change in the world.” 

Melanie Poerner Loureiro, a third-year Biology major, is heading to Belize, where she’ll be assisting Tobacco Caye Marine Station with educational outreach, dissecting the “very invasive" species of fish known as lionfish and collecting data, preparing snorkeling kits for visiting researchers, collecting data for Coral Watch research and conservation, along with a variety of other tasks.

She expects to return home with more experience in research and more knowledge about marine animals, conservation of coral reefs, climate change impacts and outreach education.

For other students thinking about the possibility of pursuing an internship with the QES program, both Poerner Loureiro and Perkins have some advice:

“Put in the effort during your studies because it is worth it,” says Poerner Loureiro. 

“Be prepared to be proactive and not rely on other people to get to where you want to be,” says Perkins. “Know that it will be a lot of work, but it will also be very rewarding. You’ll grow a lot, gain more independence and be able to figure things out for yourself.”

Due to restrictions on international travel during the pandemic, the QES program has been extended through to December 2023 with scholarship funding available for both outbound VIU undergraduate and graduate level internships and short-term studies for incoming international scholars.

Past VIU scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines have completed internships in Belize, Tanzania, Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam.  The QES program is administered through Universities Canada, The Rideau Hall Foundation and Community Foundations of Canada.

More information about the QES program and scholarship funding for 2023 can be found on the program's website.



Eric Zimmer, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.618.7296 | I T: @VIUNews

Tags: Education Abroad | Global Studies | Queen Elizabeth Scholars | Teaching and Learning

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