Alumna Spotlight: Preety Nijjar ‘12

Q & A with Preety Nijjar ’12

Preety is majoring in Honours Biomedical Studies with a minor in First Nations Studies and plays on the UNBC Women’s Basketball Team

Preety Nijjar ’12

When you look back at your time at York House, what stands out?
I feel so incredibly thankful to have had such supportive and amazing mentors like my basketball coaches, Mr. Prissinotti, Mr. Brown, Ms. DL and Mr. Jackson, and teachers like Ms. Boteju. They really made my experience at York House that much more meaningful and have all been so instrumental in my personal growth during my teen years.

You’ve had a stellar academic experience to date. Please tell us a little about that.
Yes, I’ve received an Academic All Canadian Award each year of my undergraduate studies thus far. The award is recognized and signed by the Governor General and means that you have been able to maintain an A- or higher GPA, while playing on a varsity team that is in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport league (CIS). The league has now been renamed University Sports or U Sports and it is the highest collegiate athletic league in Canada.

Now I am in my fifth and last year of CIS eligibility on the UNBC women’s basketball team and of my undergraduate degree. I was voted captain of my team again this year, so will have more responsibilities throughout this season.

What are you currently studying at UNBC?
My major is in Honours Biomedical Studies with a minor in First Nations Studies. I completed my undergraduate thesis last year on PACAP’s (a hormone called pituitary adenylate cyclase-activity polypeptide) role in vascular function with Dr. Sarah Gray, the Assistant Dean of UBC’s Northern Medical Program and Dr. Geoffrey Payne, UNBC’s Interim Vice President of Research. My thesis would be relevant for the development of new treatments to control or reverse the vascular complications associated with obesity along with its related caveats. This is a project that I have been working on since the end of my second year. I first received an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Award at the end of my second year which allowed me to begin the project, and then I continued the project as an independent study in my third year, and then as my honours thesis in my fourth year.

In terms of volunteer experiences, what are you involved with?
I have had an active role with the UNBC First Nations Centre and have been a peer support volunteer with the organization’s Peer Support Network (PSN) and have held a Student Leader position with them for the last two years. The PSN provides services to students and faculty, and we are trained to provide an Indigenous holistic approach to supporting mental health. My role in the Student Leader position includes developing outreach projects and peer-based wellness services around campus, being a liaison between counsellors and First Nations Centre staff, mentoring other peer support volunteers, creating campus-wide art based experiential workshops to learn more about stress management and self-care techniques. I am also a Crisis Line Worker for Northern BC.

Celebrating our Alumnae

Alumnae Day 2016

Dr. Robin Mansell ’69 with Lisa Roberts ’82

The challenges and benefits of living in our digital age and sustainability were the main themes of this year’s York House Alumnae Day. The day started with a welcome from Head of School, Chantal Gionet, who introduced our keynote speaker, Dr. Robin Mansell ‘69.

Since 2001, Dr. Mansell has been a Professor of New Media and the Internet in the Department of Media and Communication at the London School of Economics and was the first woman to become Interim Deputy Director and Provost at LSE. She is internationally recognized for her work on the social, economic, and political issues arising from innovations in digital technologies and is a leading contributor to policy debates on the potential of and risks associated with the information society.

Robin Mansell ’69 Keynote Adress

In her keynote address, “Data, Social Media and Society: Challenges and Risks,” Professor Robin Mansell started with a simple question: Can an increasingly data-driven society be governed effectively? A question that is crucial in the wake of the enormous growth in the use of social media that depend on algorithms and rely on the analysis of vast quantities of personal data.

Dr. Robin Mansell focused on our how the values of society today and our own personal values inform our daily online interactions. She also addressed the benefits and challenges to societies in which “big data” plays an increasingly central part.

Following her keynote address, Lisa (Greczmiel) Roberts ’82, President of the Alumnae Association, presented Robin with the YHS Alumnae Special Achiever Award for her many accomplishments and thanked her for her commitment to York House School. All proceeds from the sale of Robin’s book “Imagining the Internet, communication, innovation and governance” were donated to the Alumnae Scholarship. Read more about Robin here.

Sustainability Discussion Panel

During the luncheon, everyone had a chance to connect, including the Class of 1981 who were celebrating their 35th anniversary. In the afternoon, our discussion panel featured Gurdeep Stephens ’91, GMO-free activist, Nicole Bridger ’99, eco-fashion designer and Kathy Wardle ’93, Green Buildings advocate. It was inspiring to hear about the career journeys of all three speakers and learn about what motivates them today. From what we eat and wear, to what we use on our skin, the conversation flowed. The overall consensus was that you can start small by switching to eco-friendly cleaning products, purchasing sustainable clothing, eating organic food, and looking for simple ways to make our homes more environmentally friendly. Small steps that all make a difference!

Alumnae Art Gallery

The day concluded in the Alumnae Gallery on the third floor of the Senior School with the opening reception for Sustainability in Design, an exhibit featuring art by three alumnae working in the fields of architecture, fashion, and furniture design. Angela Zhou ’07, Nicole Bridger ’99 and Lisa (Bentley) Turner ’81 each contributed pieces revealing aspects of the inspiration, planning, and evolution involved in sustainably designing and producing their creative work.