Serene Kerpan surprised herself in her first few semesters of working towards a BA in Phys. Ed and History at VIU in 2003. Not only did she find she was able to manage her courses, part-time work, and the demanding schedule for players on the VIU Mariners Women's Basketball team, but she pulled in some very good grades as well. With encouragement from her faculty who took notice of her intelligence and burning curiosity, Serene was soon involved in undergraduate research involving fitness levels in young Aboriginal athletes. Through this research while in her BA studies, she developed the confidence to pursue graduate studies to continue on the path set by that first research experience. "My BA was my ticket in the door to a life and career I love now," said Kerpan, who is close to completing her PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). "At VIU I got the one-on-one attention I needed to really find my passion." Skills she developed while studying as an undergrad -- time management, writing, public speaking, critical thinking, and working with professional standards -- also provided a firm career foundation. Success in her research and satisfaction in her work are today's reward for Kerpan, whose doctoral research is focused on how learning outcomes in young Aboriginal children are affected by physical activity. Recognition and rewards for her since include prestigious scholarships to support her work, an undergraduate teaching award from the U of S, and, in 2014, VIU's Distinguished Alumni Award for Early Achievement.
Serene's BA Advantage can be found in her research skills, confidence and the academic focus honed in the years spent working at VIU on her undergraduate degree. Now, she is well on her way to a career that is clear to make a difference.