Celebrating our Outstanding Alumni
In honour of the valued work and contributions of the UBC Faculty of Education Alumni, biographies and interviews with eight of some of our illustrious alumni will be released between September 5th to December 19th.
Martina Seo is a Home Economics teacher at West Vancouver Secondary School. She graduated from UBC Bachelor of Home Economics in 2000. Her passion is volunteering and helping those in need. For 3 years, she worked with homeless people in Australia, orphans and HIV patients in South Africa, senior citizens in Hawaii, and women prisoners and poverty-stricken children in Fiji. After volunteering with poor children who were unable to afford to attend school, she came back to Canada and completed her Bachelor of Education in Elementary Teacher Fine Arts and Media Education (FAME) in 2009. During her Education Program at UBC, she started an initiative for 2 years where she led up to 100 volunteers to create and distribute 1,500 sandwiches to the homeless twice a month in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With the growing international student population in Vancouver, she decided to complete her Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Coursework Certificate during a summer at UBC. On top of that, she finished her Master of Education Technology at UBC in 2017 because she believes by incorporating technology in the classroom can enhance the student educational experience. Most recently, she was chosen to be a racer on The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition with her brother Phil Seo. Her lifelong dream is to open and manage an orphanage in a developing country to help children have a better life through education, housing, and adoption.
Pauline Sameshima is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Arts Integrated Studies at Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay, ON. She is an artist, poet, and writer. Working across disciplines, Pauline’s creative research methods seek to respond to pressing calls for Canada to nurture and develop creativity and innovation capacity by leveraging broad interdisciplinary approaches.
When she graduated from UBC with a PhD in curriculum and pedagogy, Pauline was the recipient of the Gordon and Marion Smith Prize in Art Education for most promising artist and educator. She went on to win the UBC Ted T. Aoki Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in Curriculum Studies and three national, and international awards across educational disciplinary fields for her dissertation, written in the form of a novel. Seeing Red was published in 2007. Pauline has received numerous awards for research, teaching, and civic engagement.
Pauline was a Vancouver Churchill High School graduate. She worked as a classroom and head-teacher in the Burnaby School District for 17 years, was hired into a tenure track job in mathematics at Washington State University (WSU), then returned to Canada to take up the CRC at Lakehead. While at WSU, she spearheaded the arts integrated pre-service teacher program and was very involved in the research through the arts communities in the US and in Canada. Her collaborative research model framework, Parallaxic Praxis, has been taken up in research projects ranging from HIV research, interpersonal violence, mental health care, dementia studies, technology and inclusive education, knowledge generation, literacy, and more. Her latest award-winning book is Poetic Inquiry: Enchantment of Place, co-edited by Alexandra Fidyk, University of Alberta, and Kedrick James and Carl Leggo, both of UBC.
Pauline is certified in SomaYoga instruction (RYT 500) and Level 1 Yoga Therapy (International SomaYoga Institute); She is curator of Lakehead Education Research Galleries; and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies.
Jessica La Rochelle is the granddaughter of Siyamtelot and Swelimeltxw (Shirley and Rudy Leon). She shares her traditional name, Lhkwemiya, with her mother. Her great-grandfather gave her mother the name and it was passed on to Jessica by her maternal grandparents. There is a set of mountains known as the three sisters near her home territory; her name refers to the third sister. Jessica is Stó:lō, Okanagan, and also has Trinidadian ancestry on her father’s side. Jessica is very proud to be the Assistant Director of NITEP, the Indigenous Teacher Education Program, and the Manager for Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education. Her grandmother is a graduate of NITEP. Jessica is an alumna of University of British Columbia (UBC), completing her Bachelor of Arts degree there in 2006 and her MEd in Educational Administration and Leadership with a focus on Leadership in Indigenous Education in May 2018. At NITEP, Jessica continues to be motivated by the future teachers and leaders in the program to provide an engaging and positive learning experience and evoke change in Indigenous education.
I am so grateful to work in an environment that fuels my passion for Indigenous education and feeds my spirit. My roles allow me to travel to Indigenous communities to engage with potential students and educational leaders to recruit them to our programs, work with an amazing team of educators and strong advocates, engage with leaders in Indigenous education to promote and facilitate reconciliation and resurgence, and connect with colleagues within the Faculty of Education and across campus to support and empower Indigenous students. As a Wellness Liaison, the lead for the NITEP Mental Health and Wellness program and member (former chair) of the Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellness Working Group, I am passionate about creating and maintaining safe spaces for students to have meaningful discussions about mental health and also what it means to be an Indigenous student at a mainstream university.
Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education (Concurrent English Language) at Laurentian University. She has taught Primary/Junior Methods, Junior/Intermediate Methods, Indigenous Studies as a Teachable, English as a Teachable, Primary/Junior Literacy, Junior/Intermediate Literacy, Introduction to Social Work & Native Social Welfare, Indigenous Ways of Learning, Indigenous Relations in Community Contexts (Masters Level) and Independent Studies/Field Courses (PhD Level). Her areas of specialty are inclusive education, classroom management, lesson planning, learning cycles, assessment/evaluation, technology, differentiated instruction, Indigenous Education and social justice collaborations. She is a National 3M Teaching Excellence Award Fellow and has also been cited in previous editions of Maclean’s magazine as one of LU’s favourite professors.
Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse is originally from the community of Sagamok First Nation. She is a proud Ojibwe/Odawa woman that comes from a long line of educators. Dr. Toulouse celebrates many years of activity (entering her 25th year) in the formal educational setting, beginning as an elementary school teacher and then finding herself in the role of colleague within the university system. She is well known for her contributions in Indigenous Education. Dr. Toulouse has published well over 50 resources which include books, chapters in books, curriculum pieces, articles, videos and other key selections.
Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse is fondly known for her dynamic teaching, commitment to equity and passion for education. She chairs various committees, works with a variety of school boards, presents regularly and is active in her areas of research. Dr. Toulouse continues her life journey in the field of education by representing her Nation and profession in a respectful and meaningful way.
Born and raised in Rossland, Mike decided to join the WKTEP program and pursue his education degree in Nelson, BC. Upon graduating, Mike began applying to every possible job he could. The first position he took was teaching elementary music and band. Despite this being the last role a person bearing a science and kinesiology degree expected to fill, Mike continued his work as a music teacher for three years. His new and unexpected position in his community pushed him to expand his horizons – he learned new instruments, teaching methods, and he even found his passion for music growing outside of school. With a new sense of flexibility and a talent for the guitar, Mike returned to school.
In July, Mike completed the classroom component of his Masters of Education (MEd) in place-based pedagogy and is ready to convocate in less than a month. Just as with his first degree, Mike’s continued pursuit of his own education has allowed him to make connections between countless passionate and knowledgeable educators within his own community and from surrounding districts.
Everyone hears the mantra ‘be a lifelong learner’, but Mike is among those scant few who take it to heart. Mike’s work is driven and sustained by a passion to find and overcome new challenges, taking something away from every opportunity presented to him – no matter how small. He took his latest adventure in tandem with fellow School District 20 educator Nate Lott. Together they developed a new and engaging curriculum following the principles of Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies (ADST). These two dedicated educators pride themselves on bringing the use of physical computing, digital fabrication, and virtual/augmented environments to their students – all with the goal of enriching and modernizing their students’ learning. Mike wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the people in his district who have acted as catalysts to the program, equipping and implementing this dream.
Having been a student, a graduate, a music teacher, and now a vice-principal, Mike epitomizes a lifelong learner and he hopes to inspire others to become lifelong learners as well. Mike continues to tour around BC delivering talks on professional development for teachers and the ADST curriculum in the K-9 age group. If you are interested in following his adventures, please check out his twitter @OpenSourceLab20.
Jee Yeon Ryu completed her PhD in Curriculum Studies at The University of British Columbia, specializing in music education. As a piano teacher-researcher, she incorporates a variety of artistic genres into her teaching and researching practices, including music, poetry, video, and creative writing. In her dissertation titled, Exploring music and piano playing with young children: A piano teacher’s pedagogical stories, she shared a collection of photographs, videos, and stories about her piano teaching and learning experiences to illustrate the importance and value of piano teachers’ pedagogical stories in the development of piano pedagogy for young children and piano teacher education. Dr. Ryu’s artistic/scholarly works are published in Music Education Research, International Journal of Education Through Art, Poetic Inquiry: Enchantment of Place, Handbook of Arts-Based Research, and LEARNing Landscapes Journal.
I was born and raised in Ottawa and I completed my Bachelor of Science at Carleton University. My program elements allowed me to pursue various areas of interest, including a double minor in Neuroscience and French Linguistics. My childhood nicknames include Hurricane and Dennis the Menace, so it should come as a surprise to nobody when I say that my sense of wonder lead me to mischief on more than one occasion. After one particular incident my first grade teacher told me the cautionary tale of how curiosity killed the cat. Luckily, the proverb hasn’t quelled my inquisitive nature and I consider myself a lifelong learner, a laugher and a dreamer. I have a love for all things adventure-related and I am an avid fan of exercise: I can usually be found trail running, hiking a mountain, doing yoga, or playing hockey. I also enjoy trying new things and being challenged: I am new to skiing and mountain biking.
Dr. Perkins is Superintendent of Schools/CEO for School District 8 – Kootenay Lake. She leads a district with 5000 students and a committed staff of 900 plus who believe and “focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment”. Dr. Perkins works with a diverse Board representing 23 schools, both face to face and online. In addition to the Education, International, French Immersion, and many Outdoor Education programs, Dr. Perkins overseas the areas of Finance & Operations, Governance and Policy, Human Resources, Inclusion, International and Aboriginal Education. She also served as Assistant Superintendent for Nicola-Similkameen School District #58, and as a high school Principal and Vice-Principal at Sea to Sky School District #48, and began her teaching career in Central Okanagan School District #23. Dr. Perkins spent her early career in the Communications industry: as Promotions Manager in radio, as reporter and editor in print media, as well as, Communications Director in professional theatre. Dr. Perkins believes in holistic, humanistic approaches to education and have always enjoyed being on the leading edge of new learning. She believes in collaborative leadership and involving representative stakeholders in decision-making while remaining fiscally responsible. Dr. Perkins wants students to not only have an enriching educational experience, but to have an educational experience that will enable them to make the world a better place for all of us. Dr. Perkins was born near Belfast, Northern Ireland, raised in Jamaica, and has traveled quite extensively throughout her career.
YOU and Paul Wong can work together to bring out the best communicators in people. He is the Founder & Communications Trainer of Speaking G.I.F.T.™ , a company which helps individuals and organizations communicate better with each other. Corporate clients master speaking with presence (how to DO), influence (how to SAY), and connection (how to THINK), including: Bloomstar, Sonic Enclosures, Pebble Studio, Kennen Construction, 2LevaMedia and Workshop Salon. Paul has taught as a High School English Teacher at the Vancouver School Board, consults as a Real Estate Advisor at Rennie & Associates Realty, and was cast in Season 1 of the Vancouver docu-reality show “House My Style” on OMNI Canadian Television. His love of people and cultures has him practicing 10 phrases in 10 languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, German, Spanish, Polish, Turkish, Farsi, French and Russian. To date, Paul has emceed 21 weddings, with one of them in Hawaii while he officiated the wedding and “married” the bride and groom. He is proud to work with UBC and the Centre of Excellence at the Faculty of Education to help launch Vancouver’s first-ever Dating School to challenge loneliness in the city and show that building strong relationships is easy, exciting, and ultimately meaningful. You can meet Paul at the next Dating School on February 12th from 6-9pm at the Vancouver Club downtown. All are welcome!
Greg Quan, a music educator in public schools since 1998, is the artistic director of the choral and orchestra programs at Magee Secondary School in Vancouver BC. He received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Jazz from Capilano University then went on to complete a Bachelor of Education and a Masters in Music Education at the University of British Columbia.
Believing in creating beauty through sound and teaching life through music, Greg’s never-ending goal is to create the best possible musical experience through the teaching of quality literature in a safe and warm environment of respect and joy.
In September 2015, Greg was honored to be nominated and selected by UBC’s Education Department as part of their Centennial celebrations as one of their “Education 100”, the top 100 graduates from the Education Department who are making a positive difference in the world. In June 2016, he was honored to be the recipient of Capilano University’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Magee’s choirs and orchestras, under the direction of Mr. Quan, have continued the tradition of excellence started by Mr. John Trepp, and the Magee Chamber Choir, in particular, is recognized both Nationally and Internationally for not only their fine musicianship, but more than that, the overwhelming feeling that one gets from experiencing a performance and the sense of love and passion between the members that really leaves a lasting impression. Most importantly we are helping these young people discover who they are through music, build connections with others, and to see a world beyond themselves.