Although she is just celebrating her 23rd birthday next month, Kristen Lambke, Kwantlen student and scholarship winner, has already changed career directions.
Lambke won four scholarships totalling $5,250 at Kwantlenâ€™s 20th Annual Scholarship and Awards ceremony for her work in the Environmental Protection Program.
Lambke applied for Kwantlen scholarships in general but did not expect the awards she won, which included the Doctor Barry Leech memorial scholarship, the Eclipse Environmental Leader scholarship and scholarships from B.C. Hydro and the HSBC Bank of Canada.
She said she was excited and that it was nice to have her hard work at school rewarded.
It may have been scholarships that helped Lambke join the Environmental Protection program in the first place.
Before joining the program, Lambke was a drafter designing industrial buildings, a job, she said, that involved taking care of the needs of the clients in the industry rather than the protecting the environment or using sustainable practices.
â€œI wanted to have a career where I could, you know, protect the environment rather than destroy it, so I switched over.â€
She had scholarships from the architectural Ddrafting program at the University of the Fraser Valley, something she said pushed her to go back to school.
â€œIt was something just like, okay, I gotta do this.â€
Pam Macdonald, who instructed Lambke in her two first-year introduction to biology classes and a second-year ecology course, said Lambke was a strong but quiet student from the beginning, whose work, from small quizzes to long papers, was nearly perfect.
â€œIâ€™ve had a lot of good students over the years and I think she is right at the top of those,â€ said Macdonald.
Although Lambkeâ€™s work was consistently good throughout the program, she did improve in other ways.
â€œI think that she gained a greater sense of self-confidence and recognition of what her potential is over her time here,â€ said Macdonald.
Macdonald described Lambke as calm, cheerful and modest, qualities, she said, that are shared by Lambkeâ€™s boyfriend, Jason Beattie, who Macdonald also instructs.
Lambke and Beattie met at their Langley high school, and began dating shortly after.
Although her disappointed parents werenâ€™t invited to the award ceremony, Beattie, who also won a scholarship, was able to attend with Lambke.
â€œHe was happy for me, a little jealous because he wants to get lots of scholarships, too. Heâ€™s a really good student as well, but heâ€™s happy.â€
Lambke is currently in her second work practicum, with the B.C. Ministry of Environment, doing incident inspections and samplings
She said she plans on finishing her degree, something she said Macdonald has pushed her to do, and has applied at UBC and UNBC. She will use the money from the scholarships to pay for tuition.
â€œI think sheâ€™ll go a long way in her education, I hope, and in whatever career she chooses,â€ said Macdonald.
Lambke said she is not sure if sheâ€™s figured out what she wants to do for a career, but
said she would like to incorporate her background of construction and design with her new knowledge of the environment to work towards sustainable building and development.
If Lambke could instantaneously change anything about the environment, she said it would be to change peopleâ€™s minds about it so they would respect it more.
â€œIt takes a lot to change minds, but it will happen eventually.â€
Kwantlen President David Atkinson presented Parry with the award at the annual convocation ceremony on Feb. 16 for her work in the Bachelor of Applied Psychology Honours program. Three days later, in an almost deserted Richmond campus cafeteria, Parry spoke about what drew her to psychology.
“I was in business for about 20 years, and I was pretty good at it, but one of the things that I found, that I really loved about business, was working with people,” she said. Parry was a regional trainer at Jenny Craig, training counsellors and sales staff. She left and started her own training company, but missed the hands-on work.
“As a manager, I found my staff kept coming to me saying things like, ‘Can you help me with this’, or they would tell me their life’s problems, and I would listen and give them advice, and then I sat back and thought, ‘Well, you know, if I’m going to give them all this advice, I should probably make sure the advice I’m giving them is good, that I’m not sending them down the wrong path’.”
Parry enrolled in Kwantlen and took a few psychology courses out of general interest. After the second course she decided to become a full-time student. She had found her life’s passion. “I absolutely loved it.”
Richmond was close to home for her, but what really endeared her were the instructors.
“They didn’t just read what was in the textbooks and send you away. They inspired,” she said.
Parry had studied business at SFU, and while she admits that it has wonderful professors, she felt removed from them, and disliked the large class sizes and lecture hall environment. “I was literally able to just sponge the information out of their brains and put what I wanted into mine & mdash; it was amazing.”
In the third year, Parry specialized in child and developmental psychology. Her ultimate goal is a PhD in clinical psychology, then research on foster children for the Ministry of Children and Families.
This is where her family life comes into play. In addition to being a full-time student, President of the Kwantlen Psychological Society and working for the ministry, Parry was also raising eight children at home.
She and her husband have five children together, as well as three full-time foster children and two respite children who live with the family occasionally.
How does she do it?
“I have the most amazing partner in the world, who pitches in and enables me to do what I do.” The younger kids have daycare, so she works her schedule around them. “We’re partners, so there are days when I cover him and there are days when he covers me. I try and schedule things so that most of my busy-ness is when the kids are in school and daycare.”
Parry has advice for student who are parents.
“We’re really good at taking care of everybody else, and as parents we’re not so good at taking care of ourselves, and I think that in the long run that can end up impacting the care that you’re able to give to your kids and your studies as well because you simply burn out.”
She said young parents should know their limits, and try to find a balance between their needs and their children’s needs.
Parry is modest about her own accomplishments.
“Yes, I know I have decent grades and I work very hard for them, but I don’t see what I do as anything special. What I do is just, what I do,” she said. “Of course I’m a mom â€” so? Whether you have one or you have eight really doesn’t make that big a difference. It’s just a bigger grocery bill.”