Victoria Fernandes is a third-year student who grew up listening to her dad share about the great experiences he had as an undergraduate student at Western University. As its founding institution, Huron has inextricable ties with Western and their unique affiliation creates limitless opportunities for student involvement.
When the time came for Victoria to choose a school to continue her studies, she visited Huron and just fell in love with its educational model. Speaking to professors and students during the Open House made her realize she was a great fit for various programs. Victoria proceeded to apply, and when she received the Hellmuth scholarship and got into the Scholar’s Electives module, there was no doubt left about her future alma mater. She is now pursuing a combined degree inclusive of an Honors Specialization in Economics and Ivey Business School, along with Scholar’s Electives.
During the past two years, Victoria has found various ways to contribute to the community. In her first year, she made several life-changing decisions, one of them being her Impact Experience trip, which took her to Guatemala. During this experiential learning opportunity, she travelled with other students to a community of coffee farmers to learn about another culture and build international relationships.
The idea was to engage in community-based learning, so we stayed with the coffee farmers. In less than two weeks we had the opportunity to learn about their stories and their struggles with immigration, post-civil war reconstruction and their fair-trade business model.
During that year Victoria decided to be part of the Residence Ambassador program as well, where prospective students can interact with current undergraduates to get a true insight of Huron’s student life. She was able to share her experience, answer questions and, overall, transmit what she thought Huron was really about: community, care and support. This opportunity prepared her for second year, when she decided to be a Don.
Being a Don was an incredibly rewarding job. I got to be a support system for many of the students on my residence floor and I just hope I impacted their first-year life somehow.
Victoria was excited to transition into her third year, despite the online component that has made this year a little different than the previous ones. This is Victoria’s first semester at Ivey and though it is challenging to start in a virtual setting, she has found ways to make it work. She joined both the Ivey Consulting Club and Women and Management at Ivey Club hoping to learn more about the field. In addition, she is supporting the Huron University College Student Council (HUCSC) as the Charity and Awareness Commissioner. In this role, Victoria is looking to bring attention to local and national organizations that are working on current issues such as food insecurity, inequality, poverty, etc. She is excited to bring a new component to the work by incorporating a Fashion Show as one of the events.
I asked Victoria what she was looking forward to in the course of this academic year and her answer was simple:
I want to keep working hard in my grading assistant job to learn how to mark fairly and better understand student work. I am excited to continue my interdisciplinary research in the Scholar’s Electives program and hopefully get the chance to take on a summer internship in consulting or finance.
Regardless what comes her way, Victoria knows she will do it passionately, with the intention of always adding something positive to the environment.
Making critical decisions and being sure that you are leaving people and spaces better than you found them, that’s what being a leader with heart means to me.
Students who wish to support first year students in their transition to university can get in touch with the Career Development Centre and Residence management. Opportunities to do so will be shared with them according to residence status. For the 2020-2021 year students can partake in these roles virtually.