Castlegar Selkirk grad wins $5,000 scholarship
Making the leap from the comfort of hometown Castlegar and the familiar classrooms of Selkirk College to complete a degree 450 kilometres away can be daunting for any undergraduate student, but $5,000 in financial assistance can go a long way to easing the transition.
That eased transition is the experience for Christina Postnikoff, who has finished the first two years of her university education and recently moved to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops to complete a social work degree. Postnikoff is one of 108 British Columbian students who received the Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship this year, a $5,000 award established to help students make the jump from college to university. “Finances have always been a concern,” says Postnikoff. “The scholarship will basically cover my first year of tuition at TRU.”
Before applying for the scholarship, Postnikoff wasn’t sure how she would continue her studies; the social work program is demanding and is not offered online. The costs of moving and paying tuition while trying to focus on her studies seemed out of reach but the scholarship award helped her pave the way. “I’m honoured,” she says. “I’ve always admired the work of the Scholarship Society and its dedication to accessible education.”
“Christina is a good example of who Irving K. Barber had in mind when he petitioned the provincial government to establish a transfer scholarship program,” explains Rory Grewar, program director of the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society. “Ike realized that many students attending local colleges need to complete their degrees at other – often distant – universities or colleges and he saw the need to provide some assistance to make that possible. The BC government created the Transfer Scholarship program in 2006 through an endowed grant to the Society that now bears Barber’s name.”
Postnikoff took courses in addictions, sociology, abnormal psychology, human development, and women’s studies while at Selkirk. “The first two years of my university education really expanded my knowledge in certain areas.” It was through these courses that she learned of her passion for social issues and helping women facing adversity.
Postnikoff’s volunteer work and community service hinted at her passions as well. She has been a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, an organization close to her heart, for as long as she can remember, and during her time at Selkirk College, Postnikoff started a group to discuss gender and equality issues. They also participated in local events to promote awareness and social justice for marginalized women.
Although it may seem that Postnikoff knew her path all along, she didn’t; social work as a career wasn’t on her radar at first. Her mom and sister are both teachers and she thought she would likely follow in their footsteps. But, when social work kept showing up on career quizzes, she researched her options and found that it was a perfect fit for her passion for helping people. She found that, over time, it became more and more clear what she was meant to do.
What advice does Christina have for students in her shoes? “Make sure you take time out and spend time with your friends.” And for those contemplating a transfer scholarship application, “don’t doubt yourself,” she says. “It gives you great practice for writing and presenting yourself – go for it.”
For more information on the Irving K. Barber Transfer Scholarship, visit http://www.ikbbc.ca/web/transfer. Applications for the transfer scholarship open in November.