What brought Karly Bernard to Cape Breton University was the promise of a small, close-knit campus and Indigenous course offerings such as Indigenous Politics, and Mi’kmaw Language and History. What she didn’t know was just how much she would fall in love with her university experience. Now, the Bachelor of Arts student from Paqtnkek First Nation will be graduating as one of CBU’s most involved students.
“What I enjoyed most about being a student at CBU was campus life,” says Karly. “There was always something fun to do whether it was going to basketball and soccer games, getting involved in the Students’ Union or learning about cultures from all over the world at various events.”
Karly says her time at CBU allowed her to meet friends from around the world and gain experience through numerous volunteer and employment opportunities. During her time as a student, Karly worked for the Enrolment Services Department, Student Affairs, the Students’ Union and was a member of the CBU Road Squad. Not to mention her volunteer experience at events such as CBU 101, Diwali, Convocation, Open House and more. Karly is proud to have become the first Indigenous Liason Officer for the Students’ Union and has paved a strong foundation for the next person who will take on the role.
When she wasn’t busy with campus events, Karly excelled in her program, becoming increasingly interested in political science. “When I came to CBU I didn’t know what I was most interested in, but after taking a political science elective I knew I loved it,” she explains. “Now my plan is to study law and use my education to help Indigenous people throughout Canada.”
Karly says her time at CBU has prepared her for the future by helping her develop a sense of independence and leadership. Students are provided opportunities to learn new skills both within the classroom and out. “Something people may not know about CBU is just how much the staff and faculty want you to succeed,” she adds. “They are always encouraging students to challenge themselves in new ways.”
Although saddened that the convocation ceremony has been cancelled due to COVID-19, Karly says she is still looking forward to receiving her degree and celebrating virtually with her classmates. “While it’s definitely challenging to graduate amidst a pandemic, I’m lucky to have a great support system throughout the university,” says Karly. “Plus, it will make a great story in 20 years!”