Four Cape Breton University students will make history this spring as the first graduates of the Bachelor of Arts and Science in Environment (BASE) program. Drew MacLean, Hannah Kosick, Brittany Lawrence, and Rory McNeil will celebrate their graduation from CBU on Saturday, May 8, during the virtual convocation ceremony.
“We initially discussed this program nearly seven years ago with the idea of combining the best of sciences and environmental studies,” says Dr. Dana Mount, Co-Director of the BASE program. “Today, these students fully represent that vision.” Dr. Mount collaborated with Dr. Deanne van Rooyen, Co-Director and Associate Professor of Geology to develop BASE, a program that allows students to move seamlessly between the arts and sciences while highlighting the Indigenous context that grounds environmental studies.
For Brittany, the unique nature of the BASE program is what drew her in. “The uniqueness of this program is largely due to its interdisciplinary structure,” she explains. “I was able to expand my knowledge in the fields of psychology, political science and environmental studies and gain an educational experience that I would not have been able to find at any other post-secondary institution.”
Drew, who will be heading to Dalhousie to pursue a Master of Science in Marine Management following graduation, says the program set him up for success. “The BASE program allowed me to pursue both my interests in biology and political science at the same time,” he explains. “This connection between the academic distinctions is what makes the BASE program so special.”
Throughout the program, students worked toward a research project that required them to lean on their knowledge of arts, sciences and Indigenous perspectives. Now, after presenting their Senior Honours Projects, Brittany, Drew, Hannah and Rory are able to look back on their hard work with pride. They say their success was made possible by all those who supported them throughout this journey.
“I am so thankful to have had so much support and mentorship from CBU professors over these past few years,” says Hannah. “Their passion for environmental stewardship and sharing knowledge with students is what made learning at CBU so much fun. I couldn’t have done all of this without them.”
As Drew reflects on his time at CBU, he says the BASE program was a great experience from start to finish, adding, “I could not be more proud to be one of the four students in this inaugural class.”
For Dr. Mount and Dr. van Rooyen, it will be a bittersweet moment as they watch this first group of BASE students transition into well-trained, confident, young professionals in their fields. “We are so proud of them and we wish them all the best of luck as they go forward to make a difference in their careers,” says Dr. Mount.