Education’s 100: Community Leaders

Barbara Mikulec, BEd '69

Community leader, educator, and philanthropist, Barbara Mikulec is recognized for seniors’ advocacy and philanthropy in education.

Mikulec received her Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education from the University of British Columbia in 1969, and educated students at Van Horne Elementary in Vancouver until her retirement. She currently serves in over ten leadership roles of in her community: Board member of the Kerrisdale Community Centre, Director of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA), committee member of the National Pensioners Federation, Director of BC Forum, Secretary of Metro Vancouver Cross Cultural Seniors Network, presbytery representative of the Ryerson United Church, and vice-president of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC (COSCO). She wrote many articles in support of both the BCRTA and the National Pensioners Federation, and through COSCO has organized roundtables on senior Health and Housing issues.

Mikulec serves as director of the RR Smith Foundation, a memorial fund dedicated to the advancement of public education in British Columbia and developing countries. The fund provides scholarships and bursaries, administers grants, supplies school materials, and provides funding to support innovative projects that advance public education. With UBC, Mikulec endowed a fund in her own name: the Barbara Mikulec Prize in Education, for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Education. The award is offered to students whose teaching practicum demonstrates success in teaching English as an additional language. She also established an endowment fund in the Faculty of Law, in memory of Kenneth Douglas Landels. Known as the Landels Fund, it supports an award for a student entering the second year of the JD program who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to community service.

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Bill McNulty, BPE '68, MPE '70, MA '83

Recognized community leader, Bill McNulty is hailed as an approachable leader, passionate about sports, arts, and the value they bring to communities.

McNulty received a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of British Columbia in 1968. He furthered his studies at UBC with two master’s degrees, one in Physical Education in 1970 and the other in Counselling and Psychology, in 1983. He began his leadership involvement as a physical-education student in the role of director of UBC’s intermural program. His service continued well after he graduated from UBC: he was later president of the UBC Alumni Association and a twenty-five year member of the UBC Senate. Giving not only of his time but also of his means, McNulty endowed a scholarship in his name for the School of Kinesiology.

Beyond UBC’s gates, McNulty’s leadership and service continues. He is a sitting councillor for the City of Richmond, a role he has served in for two decades. He worked as a counselor and educator at Magee Secondary School, wrote a book on the history of Steveston, and documented the records and accomplishments of BC’s athletes as a track historian.

For his ongoing leadership in the arts, McNulty was made an honorary member of the Richmond Community Arts Council. In 2005, he received a BC Community Achievement Award, and in 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

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David Derpak, BEd '82

Educator and community leader, David Derpak, has been motivating students to succeed, in particular among Vancouver’s Aboriginal and inner-city youth during his nearly thirty-year career as an educator.

Derpak graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1982. Upon graduating, he taught at McKim Middle School, Selkirk Secondary, and Hatzic Secondary until 1990. In the following eight years, Derpak served as vice-principal for four secondary schools in British Columbia.

In 1998, Derpak was promoted to the role of principal. He spent eight years as head of Vancouver Technical Secondary School (VTSS). Under Derpak’s leadership, VTSS’s yearly student suspensions dropped from seventy-seven to ten, vandalism costs dropped by two-thirds, overall attendance improved forty-one percent, and, by 2009, the School was awarded Top School in the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards. While principal at Killarney Secondary, he contributed to a fivefold increase in Aboriginal graduation and a fifty-percent reduction in suspensions.

After two years as district principal in international education for the Vancouver School Board (VSB), Derpak has been appointed to the role of principal at Prince of Wales Secondary on Vancouver’s West side. He has worked with the People’s Republic of China on educational reform, touring schools there to present workshops and organize student forums on the Canadian education system. He is also a member of over ten committees for the VSB, including the Aboriginal Learners Committee and the Inner-City Committee.

Derpak’s impact extends into charitable work. He is a founding board member for Contributing to the Lives of City Kids, and spearheaded community fundraising for Aboriginal and immigrant families who lost their homes in a fire, raising $35,000 for one of the affected families.

For his manifold achievements in student success, Derpak was awarded the Richmond Outstanding Community Award for Outstanding Work with Youth in the Community, and was recognized by The Learning Partnership as one of Canada’s outstanding principals in 2010. He was also awarded an eagle feather at VTSS for his work with Aboriginal inner-city students.

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David Sidoo, BPE '83

Highly decorated athlete, David Sidoo graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1983 with a Bachelor of Physical Education.

As MVP defensive back, Sidoo led the UBC Thunderbirds to an undefeated season and the University’s first-ever Vanier Cup National Championship in 1982. He played five years of professional football in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame and the BC Football Hall of Fame, receiving the prestigious Bob Ackles award. The Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium is named in his honour.

An active community member and philanthropist, Sidoo and his wife Manjy created Sidoo Family Giving in 2006, an organization focused on enriching the lives of children and families, in particular at-risk youth and single mothers. The organization supported breakfast programs in New Westminister and Downtown Eastside schools, provided assistance for after-school care at Strathcona Community Centre, and made significant contributions to the Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-a-School program.

In 2012, Sidoo received Darpan Magazine’s Advancing Philanthropy Award and was named one of Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50. The following year, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his philanthropy. Most recently, in 2014, Sidoo was appointed to the UBC Board of Governors and, with five other successful UBC football alumni, began a fundraising project to redevelop Thunderbird Stadium and revitalize the football program.

Currently, David is the President and CEO of East West Petroleum Corporation, a global Oil & Gas company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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Gordon Barrett, BEd '78, MA '98, MEd '00

CIC Officer and musician, 2Lt the reverend Gordon Barrett is a distinguished University of British Columbia alumnus who has touched countless lives in his 40 years of public and community service.

He began his education at UBC in 1978, earning a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Education. Twenty years later, he returned to earn a Master of Arts in 1998 and a Master of Education in 2000. He also holds a MDiv degree at Carey Theological College.

For over 30 years, Barrett volunteered for the Canadian Armed Forces as a musician, band administrator, and association chaplain. He served as pipe major, honorary captain and regimental director of music with the British Columbia Regiment Irish Pipes & Drums. As an ordained Anglican deacon and honorary captain with the 15th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery he worked with the Military Family Resource Centre, where he assisted soldiers and their families in the lead-up to deployment and through their reintegration into society. His service extended to working with families of soldiers who were seriously injured or killed.

Barrett is the padre and event emcee for the Korean War Veterans Association of Canada, pastor for North Shore Search and Rescue and an officer with 2472 15th Field RCACC. He is a deacon at All Saint's Church in Burnaby, B.C., Diocese of New Westminster.

For his lifetime of service, Barrett’s distinguished honours include the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the British Columbia Regiment Medal in 2002, the British Columbia Community Achievement Award in 2008 and the Minister of Veteran Affairs Commendation in 2014 in recognition of his lifelong service to the veteran community.

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Jane Hungerford, O.B.C., BEd '67

A leader of social change and capacity development for communities, Jane Hungerford's work has left an indelible impact on education, conservation, healthcare, and social services.

Hungerford’s connection to the University of British Columbia began with a Bachelors of Education in 1967. In the early 1970’s, she joined the Junior League of Greater Vancouver. She supported the implementation of English as a Second Language programs in Vancouver schools that became a template for ESL education throughout British Columbia. In her role as a founding member of Science World and member of its leadership team (1987- 1994), she helped raise $25 million for the organization’s expansion. Hungerford has also worked closely with the Salvation Army, helping to spearhead the creation of the first facility for victims of human trafficking in the lower mainland, and with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, where she was instrumental in developing the organization’s signature regional fundraising dinners, now in their 25th year.

Some of Hungerford’s most acclaimed work has been for the BC Cancer Agency and the BC Cancer Foundation (1997-to date), where she served as chair of the foundation and in a director role for both organizations. The Millennium Campaign, Canada’s largest health care fundraising campaign in its time, was introduced under her leadership. The campaign raised $135 million for the construction of the new BC Cancer Research Centre, the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre and the creation of the Michael Smith Genome Science Centre. These facilities have been home to the development of new targeted therapies, advanced clinical tests, and world renowned discoveries of genetic makeup and subtypes of cancer. Hungerford was the visionary and driver behind the BC Cancer Foundation's Inspiration Gala and committee, raising over $20 million and enabling BC supporters to contribute to leading-edge research that directly improves cancer outcomes for the past decade.

Hungerford served as Chair of the UBC Alumni Association Board from 2001 to 2005 and was involved with the restructuring that led to the current alumni UBC model. She was an early champion for an alumni centre at UBC. She chaired the search committee that hired Marie Earl as the first Executive Director, alumni UBC and Associate Vice President, Alumni, and also served on the search committee that hired UBC's 12th President, Professor Stephen Toope. She has been deeply involved with the John M.S. Lecky UBC Boathouse and its Gold for Life executive volunteer committee that raised $10 million to construct the off campus facility. The committee received the 2010 UBC Alumni Milestone Achievement Award for its commitment to the project that provided UBC with the world-class rowing facility, equipment and scholarship endowments needed to ensure continued success in the sport. Hungerford was also made a honorary member of the Big Block.

Hungerford also has received the Slonecker Award for outstanding volunteer contribution to UBC. Her leadership and dedication have been recognized by the alumni UBC Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award, and she has received both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals. In 2014, Jane Hungerford was appointed to the Order of British Columbia.

Photo credit: Lachlan & Emily Photography

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Dr. Jane Munro, MFA '78, EdD '91

One of Canada’s finest poets, Jane Munro earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UBC in 1978. Her thesis, Daughters, won the Macmillan Prize for Creative Writing. She taught creative writing at UBC and worked as a course designer at the Open Learning Institute, then completed a Doctor of Education in Adult Education in 1991. Her dissertation, which won the Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for book-length research in independent study and distance education, examined why students drop out of distance learning, and suggested ways to increase retention.

Starting in 1998, Munro spent a decade on faculty at Kwantlen University where she taught creative writing, developed the first online creative writing course, and served as Coordinator for Distributed Learning. From there, she moved to BC’s Open University (OLA) as Associate Dean of Arts and Science. Then, the Centre for Curriculum, Transfer and Technology (C2T2) seconded her for three years to help foster innovation and collaboration in online learning across the public post-secondary sector. She was instrumental in developing BC Campus. Throughout these years, Munro continued to write and publish poetry.

Munro’s 2014 collection Blue Sonoma won the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize. The poems followed the path of her husband, who died with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. The judges called it “hauntingly candid explorations of the hard truths of growing old.”

Munro’s other books of poetry include Active Pass in 2010, whose title poem was short-listed for a CBC Literary Award; Point No Point in 2006; and Grief Notes and Animal Dreams in 1995. Her work has been widely published and reviewed in literary journals, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and the Vancouver Sun, and was featured in The Best Canadian Poetry 2013.

In 2007, Munro received the Bliss Carman Award for Poetry. She regularly gives readings across the country and is a member of the poetry collective, Yoko’s Dogs, which published its first book Whisk in 2013. Active in the poetry community, Munro is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild.

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Dr. Jean Barman, EdD '82

One of the province’s most essential historians, Jean Barman has dedicated her career to telling the stories of British Columbia and its people. She completed her Doctor of Education at the University of British Columbia in 1982.

The majority of Barman’s scholarship focuses on the lives of women in British Columbia, relationships between indigenous peoples and settlers, and the history of education. She has published more than 20 books and 50 articles and book chapters. Her book The West beyond the West: A History of British Columbia is considered one of the most important works on the history of the province.

Professor emerita in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC, Barman continues to publish works that are accessible to the public but are also used in academic programs. Her latest book, French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest, won the 2015 Sir John A. Macdonald Prize for best English-language book in Canadian history, the Governor General’s history award for scholarly research, Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, and K.D. Srivastava Prize for Excellence in Scholarly Publishing.

Barman has received many other awards, including UBC’s Killam Teaching Prize, the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in BC, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing. Her name appears on the Writers Walk of Fame on the north plaza of Library Square in Vancouver.

In addition to literary accolades, Barman was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002 and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Active in community organizations related to her field of study, Barman was a founding board member of the Chinese Canadian Historical Association of BC, is a director of the Pacific Book World News Society, and has served on several Vancouver Museum committees. She was a co-editor of BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly and sat on the editorial board of the Canadian Historical Association Journal and the Pacific Northwest Quarterly. She also served on the advisory board of the Encyclopedia of British Columbia.

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Judy Rogers, BRE '71

Acclaimed city administrator and public official, Judy Rogers has steered some of BC’s largest governmental organizations.

Rogers received her Bachelor of Recreation Education from the University of British Columbia in 1971. Rogers has maintained an active presence at UBC as a member of the President’s Strategic Advisory Council and chair of the UBC Alumni Association. She contributes to the Twenty-8 Club, which raises money for female varsity athletes.

Rogers was the first woman to be city manager for the City of Vancouver, holding that post from 1999 to 2008. It was under her leadership that Vancouver won the right to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. After leaving the city manager’s post and a 25-year tenure with the city, Rogers served on the board of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC). Rogers was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network for five straight years, 2003 to 2007.

Since the Games, Rogers has become a valued addition to many corporate boards. She currently chairs the board of directors for BC Assessment and is a member of the Local Government Management Association for BC. In recent years, she headed the Institute of Public Administrators of Canada and chaired the board of Lift Philanthropic Partners, a venture philanthropy organization that works to maximize the efficiency and impact of charitable organizations.

Rogers received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Service, and two United Nations Public Service Awards. The first UN award was for establishing Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Integrated Service Teams, which bring together disparate city departments and outside agencies to resolve neighborhood disputes. The second award was for the Vancouver Agreement, a tripartite agreement between municipal, provincial and federal governments critical toward revitalizing Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

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Justin Trudeau, BEd '98

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a career of public service in the volunteer sector and in politics.

Trudeau completed a Bachelor of Education in 1998 at UBC. After graduation, he taught French and math at West Point Grey Academy, and later at Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver. Between 2002 and 2006, Trudeau served as chair of Katimavik, a national volunteer service program for Canadians aged 17 to 21 who are placed in communities across the country.

Trudeau was recruited by the federal Liberals in 2006 to become chair of the party’s Task Force on Youth Renewal. One year later, he decided to enter elected politics, running successfully for the party in a by-election in Papineau, Quebec. He served as the Liberals’ critic for multiculturalism and youth, as well as youth citizenship and immigration, before being named party leader in 2013. In two years as leader, Trudeau has attended over 1,200 events in more than 155 cities and communities.

Outside of politics, Trudeau has been an advocate on several issues. In addition to the cause of youth, Trudeau has championed mountain safety. He and his family started the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign for winter sports safety in 2000, two years after his brother died in an avalanche during a ski trip. He is also a strong voice for responsible environmental stewardship and resource development in Canada’s north.

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Leslie Johnstone, BSc '81, MEd '07

Author, educator and community leader, Leslie Johnstone has been inspiring science interest and curiosity in Point Grey Secondary School (PGSS) students for nearly three decades. Her own love of science is evident in the more than 60 books she has written with co-author Shar Levine that make science interesting and accessible to young people.

With titles like The Icky, Sticky and Gross Fascinating Factbook, and Dirty Science, winner of the Canadian Science Writers Association Youth Book Award, Johnstone and Levine's books sold more than two million copies worldwide and were translated into several languages.

Now acting vice-principal, Johnstone has taught science at PGSS since 1988 and headed the science department since 2002. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia in 1981 and worked at UBC as a researcher and sessional lecturer in the Departments of Anatomy and Zoology. In 2007, she completed her Masters of Education in the joint program between Curriculum Studies, and Educational Administration and Leadership.

She is a sought-after science speaker and workshop presenter, and an active school and community volunteer. Johnstone served as advisor, treasurer, and chairperson to the board of the Alpha Omicron Pi Vancouver alumnae chapter, the sorority she joined while a student at UBC. She was an active member of the BC Science Teachers’ Association, acting as organizer of the annual conference and editor of its journal. Johnstone also lent a hand to advancement at UBC, co-chairing a fundraising event and book launch for the Electron Microscope Laboratory.

Through her teaching and writing, Johnstone has inspired a love of science that has been recognized with the Eve Savory Award for Science Communications, the Contributions for Science Education Award, the Elizabeth Heywood Wyman Award and the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology Award. Her interest and teachings have influenced many young girls to pursue their interest in science.

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The Honorable Linda Reid, BEd '82, MA '87

Member of the Legislative Assembly of BC, Linda Reid is the longest-serving member, marking 24 years of public service focused on improving child welfare and education.

Reid earned a Bachelor of Education in 1982 at the University of British Columbia, returning to complete a Master of Arts in 1987. For her master’s degree, she specialized in education, exceptional learners, language acquisition and public administration.

In 1991, she was elected to her first of six terms representing the riding of Richmond East on behalf of the BC Liberal Party. She held multiple roles as critic for the official opposition during the 1990s, including the portfolios of health, and children and families.

After the election of Premier Gordon Campbell, she served as minister of state for early childhood development from 2001 to 2005, and as minister of state for childcare from 2005 to 2009. In 2002, she created an individualized funding model for children with autism spectrum disorder. The same year, she rolled out the BC Early Childhood Development Legacy Fund, which supported community initiatives for children under six.

Reid became deputy speaker in 2009, and was unanimously elected in 2013 as speaker of the BC Legislative Assembly. As speaker, she presides over all debate in the house of parliament, ensuring that established rules of behaviour and procedure are followed.

As the ongoing 2014-2015 volunteer lieutenant-governor of the BC Youth Parliament, Reid encourages youth to take a more active role in shaping democracy. Increasing the number of young voters is of particular interest to Reid in this role.

Reid's commitment to public service has been recognized by three commemorative medals. These include the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

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Dr. Michel Tarko, PhD '02

Leader in the post-secondary education in BC, Michel Tarko has a particular interest in community, public safety training, and building partnerships with business and industry.

Métis from the Cree Nation, Tarko studied criminology and psychiatric nursing in Manitoba before coming to the University of British Columbia to pursue a PhD in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. He graduated in 2002, at which point his academic career took him to leadership roles at Douglas College, where he served as dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. He later served as vice-president for the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) from 2009 to 2012. In 2012, the JIBC Board of Governors appointed Tarko to a five-year term as president and chief executive officer.

In his current role, Tarko led the development of the new JIBC 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, and strengthened partnerships between JIBC and other public post-secondary educational institutions across Canada and internationally. He created opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, joint research initiatives on public and community safety, and worked with business and industry to find solutions to key public priorities.

Tarko is a member of the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia. He serves as vice-chair of the board of directors for the Post-Secondary Employers Association, and is on the board of directors for Colleges and Institutes Canada, a national association representing 95 community colleges, institutes and polytechnic teaching universities. Internationally, Tarko serves on two international boards: European Psychiatric Nursing Board and the Neuman Systems Model of Nursing, President, Executive Committee.

He currently sits on the External Advisory Board for the Dean of the UBC Faculty of Education.

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Dr. Thelma Cook, BEd '58

Professor emerita in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Thelma Cook, built a career distinguished by her persistent efforts to make studies at UBC more accessible to Aboriginal students. Drawing on her own personal experiences as a graduate of UBC’s Bachelor of Education program in 1958, she has been able to remove many of the barriers to post-secondary education that students previously experienced.

Cook initially joined the Faculty of Education as an assistant professor in sociology and education, where she impacted students as an educator. During her time as the director of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) she assumed responsibility for raising scholarship and bursary funding for Aboriginal students. Her success allowed countless students to access quality education that had previously been out of reach. These efforts earned her the Women of Distinction Award from the YWCA in 1987.

Cook was instrumental in creating Wesbrook Scholars, one of the university’s most prestigious awards. Through her position as chair of the Senate Awards Committee, she established this award in order to support outstanding graduating students that have shown a commitment to community service. Following this success, Cook continued her fundraising work, which led to the creation of the Thelma Sharp Cook Scholarship, an award that recognizes leadership, athletic achievement, and community contributions alongside academic standing.

Cook served as president of the UBC Association of Professors Emeriti and as governor and chair of the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation. In recognition of her lifelong community service and dedication to the university, Cook was given the Faculty Citation Award by the UBC Alumni Association, and was recently honoured with carrying the UBC mace during graduation ceremonies. Though now retired, she continues to give back to the university as a member of the President’s Committee on Campus Enhancement, the UBC Dean of Education’s External Advisory Committee, and the UBC Advisory Committee on Heritage Policy.

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Tim Laidler, BA '09, MA '14

Veteran and community advocate, Timothy Laidler is committed to the cause of assisting war veterans and service to his community.

After pursuing studies in philosophy, Laidler went on to the University of British Columbia to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science in 2009 and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology in 2014. While at UBC, he worked as a property manager for the university’s residence, managing the budget for rent and meal plans, and was the team leader for the Olympic rental project for seven properties at UBC. He also sat on the Ubyssey Board of Directors, and is an alumnus of and house manager for Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity.

Laidler has been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Service since 2002. He participated in a tour of duty in the Kandahar area of Afghanistan as a convoy escort troop, crew commander, acting station second-in-command, an RWS gunner, and a RG-31 driver. He was an army company mentor and weapons instructor with the 205th Corps of the Afghan National Arm as part of OMLT (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team). He was also a member of the Force Protection Company of National Support Element, a multinational armed service support to Kandahar Air Field.

Now founder and executive director of the non-profit Veterans Transition Network, Laidler worked to enhance quality of life and career prospects for veterans across Canada. His team of 20 staff worked to increase awareness of the impact of war on soldiers, and they have raised millions of dollars to support a peer-based group program developed at UBC.

Laidler’s community service was recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and he was selected as alumni UBC’s Young Alumnus of the Year in 2014. Laider is running as a Conservative candidate in Port Moody-Coquitlam during the 2015 General Election.

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Will Stroet, BA '02, BEd '04

Award-winning musician and children’s entertainer, Will Stroet has had an impact on youth both inside and outside the classroom.

Stroet received a Bachelor of Arts in 2002 and a Bachelor of Education in 2004 from UBC. After graduating, Stroet began teaching in New Westminster and Vancouver. He taught French-immersion music at Lord Tennyson Elementary for five years, working with students from K-7. It was during this time that he began writing and performing his own music for students, and then performing at local family events and festivals.

Stroet released his first children’s music album in 2005 with great success. From there, he decided to pursue a full-time career as a children’s entertainer. When he left the classroom in 2008, Stroet had already released two children’s albums. He has since released seven more albums through Pebble Star Productions. He has performed at more than 1,000 live shows at festivals, theatres and schools across Canada.

In 2013, Stroet joined the board of BC's ArtStarts in Schools, a non-profit that promotes art and creativity among BC's young people. In addition to being the chair of the program committee, he is an artist on their roster and regularly performs in schools, leads artist-in-residency programs for primary school students, and workshops for BC music teachers. Stroet also co-created and stars in Will’s Jams, an educational TV series teaching kids everything from sportsmanship to eating healthy. The show airs on Kids’ CBC and DISH in the United States.

Stroet has received a West Coast Songwriters Award for Best Children’s Song and a Kids Music Award, as well as nominations for Best Francophone Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2014, and in 2013 & 2011 for Best Children’s Recording. In 2017, Stroet was nominated for the JUNO Award for Children's Album of the Year.

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Senator Yonah Martin, BEd '87

The Honourable Yonah Martin was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009. She is the first Canadian of Korean descent to serve in the Senate of Canada and the first Korean-Canadian parliamentarian in Canadian history.

Martin received a Bachelor of Education in 1987 from the University of British Columbia; and had a 21-year teaching career in Abbotsford, Burnaby and Coquitlam school districts (1987-2008). She earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 1996.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Martin immigrated to Canada in 1972. In 2003, she co-founded the C3 Korean Canadian Society, a non-profit community organization that works to bridge the Korean and Canadian communities by providing cultural, educational and volunteer resources. She also served on the boards of Vancouver Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation, National Unification Advisory Council, the Multicultural Advisory Council of British Columbia among others.

Since 2013, Martin has served as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, a role she assumed after two years as the Deputy Government Whip. In addition, Martin is active on several inter-parliamentary committees, co-chairing the Canada-Korea Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group and serving as vice-chair of Canada Bulgaria, and director of Canada Philippines, Canada Pakistan and Canada Taiwan. She is honorary patron of C3, HMCS Haida Association and Historica Dominion's The Memory Project: Stories of the Korean War, and Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration. Since 2010, she has served on the Advisory Board of the UBC Sauder School of Business's Executive Mentorship Program

In recognition of her community service in the Tri-Cities region, Martin was awarded the 2004 Spirit of Community Award for Cultural Harmony. She was also awarded the Order of Civil Merit Moran Medal in 2009 by the president of the Republic of Korea for her work in advancing the rights of overseas Koreans. In 2012, Martin received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal awarded by Governor General David Johnston.

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