Jennifer Meyer had long envisioned a career in international development before an opportunity to make an impact locally sparked a change in plans.
When she crosses the stage at her Okanagan College Spring Convocation ceremony on Saturday, she’ll do so with a new perspective and big plans for how she can put her skills to work to benefit others in the Okanagan.
Meyer is one of nearly 500 students who will graduate during two convocation ceremonies at the Kelowna campus.
The morning ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. and will see students from arts, science, engineering technologies, computer science and health and social development programs receive their credentials.
Patrick Waunch, CEO and president of Rambow Mechanical Ltd., will be recognized as an Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College—the highest honour bestowed by the college.
At the afternoon ceremony, starting at 1:30 p.m., the college will confer degrees, diplomas and certificates to Okanagan School of Business students. Keynote speaker retired MLA Rick Thorpe will also be named Honorary Fellow and will address the graduates.
“I’ve always been a ‘yes’ person,” explained Meyer, who will receive her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in the afternoon ceremony.
“I think it’s exhilarating to try new things and uncover new passions along the way and it’s because of this that I’ve got this really neat mixture of skills, experience, training and education that are preparing me for a really exciting future.”
Born and raised in Kelowna, Meyer began at the college in 2013 where she enrolled in the associate of arts degree program with intentions of completing the two-year program and transferring to a university to pursue a degree in international development.
Her plans changed when she decided to say yes to the opportunity to enrol in the college’s BBA program in accounting—an opportunity which also saw her move to France for half a year to study abroad.
The time away found her thinking about how she could apply her blossoming business skills to good use when she returned to Kelowna.
“This is my hometown and I’m really passionate about making an impact here,” said Meyer. “My time in the school of business gave me a chance to gain a more global perspective but it also inspired me to look more closely and how I can drive change right here at home.”
Meyer’s first chance to apply her education came long before graduation. After being elected to the Okanagan College Student’s Union (OCSU), she worked with other students to come up with new ways of organizing the budget, lobbying for more student benefits, presenting to College boards and more.
“I’m an accounting student, so numbers are definitely my thing and I do have a tendency to think about that bottom line and how to make numbers work for you,” said Meyer. “But I also have this whole other side to me and I feel very motivated to do something bigger for my city.”
Meyer envisions a future in municipal or federal government but for now is focusing on graduation, starting a rewarding career at KPMG and working towards her Chartered Professional Accounting designation.
She’s also not the only Meyer who will be crossing the stage on Saturday.
“My brother Christian will be graduating with his Associate of Science degree in the morning ceremony,” explained Meyer. “My whole family is coming to watch both of us graduate.”
The ceremonies this weekend are two of eight convocation and commencement ceremonies Okanagan College will host this year.
“I want to congratulate all graduates and recognize them for their hard work, dedication and achievements both inside and outside of the classroom at Okanagan College,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton.
“The future of the Okanagan looks incredibly bright and whether students stay in the region or move away, I am confident they will help transform themselves, people around them and the communities they live in.”
A ceremony in Vernon will be held on Tuesday, June 26. At that ceremony, the college will confer the title of Honorary Fellow upon Vernon’s Mollie QuilQuil Sneena Bono who will also address the graduates.
The final summer convocation ceremonies in Kelowna will follow on Wednesday, June 27, and Thursday, June 28, and will confer approximately 380 diplomas and certificates.
More than 2,000 students will have graduated from Okanagan College in 2018 by the end of June.