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University Women give hand up

Comox Valley-raised Mikaela Jorgensen, third from right, receives a $1,000-bursary from the Canadian Federation of University Women — Comox Valley during a luncheon. Comox Valley executive members, from left, Gertrude Baader, Gail Nasadyk, Pat James, Margaret Monks and Sally Wilson. Rose Prieto also received $1,000, but was unable to attend the lunch.  - Photo by Renée Andor
Comox Valley-raised Mikaela Jorgensen, third from right, receives a $1,000-bursary from the Canadian Federation of University Women — Comox Valley during a luncheon. Comox Valley executive members, from left, Gertrude Baader, Gail Nasadyk, Pat James, Margaret Monks and Sally Wilson. Rose Prieto also received $1,000, but was unable to attend the lunch.
— image credit: Photo by Renée Andor

Two Comox Valley-raised female university students will receive a hand-up to finish their studies.

Mikaela Jorgensen and Rose Prieto each received $1,000 bursaries from the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) – Comox Valley.

Pat James, previous CFUW bursary committee chair, noted students must be graduates of a Comox Valley secondary school and they must be in at least their second, third or fourth year of an undergraduate degree.

“This is really to help younger women complete their education and go on and get a proper university degree,” James said at the CFUW bursary lunch last week, adding there’s more bursaries for first-year students available, and CFUW wanted to ensure students further along in their studies have a chance for financial help to finish.

She also noted bursaries are needs-based rather than solely academic, and CFUW chooses to give bursaries so the money goes to young women who could really use it.

“This is why we established this because we wanted to help somebody in need,” she said. “We like to give the money to someone who can make use of the money.”

Vanier graduate Jorgensen said the money will certainly come in handy for her. The University of Victoria student is just starting her fourth year in the nursing program. She’s doing her practicum, which is unpaid and takes up the majority of her time, while she also works a part-time job in Victoria.

Between school and work, she is busy seven days per week, but she still relies heavily on student loans — and the amount she receives each semester has diminished recently.

“Right now, I had basically $2,000 of unmet need that I wasn’t able to come up with so this bursary has helped me pretty much pay for my tuition next semester,” explained Jorgensen. “I was really, really happy; it’s a really big deal for me to have that.”

Jorgensen will graduate as a registered nurse with a specialty in emergency room nursing next spring, and plans to work in one of the Victoria hospitals for a year after that to get some experience. She then plans to work in Hawaii for six months, and at some point she plans to travel back to Nepal and volunteer again.

“In my first year (of schooling), I went and did one of my clinical experiences in Nepal at a teaching hospital, so I plan on going back there to do some volunteer work as well,” said Jorgensen. “There’s so many things I can do once I graduate. I’ve got a bit of a timeline of things I want to get done.”

Highland graduate Rose Prieto couldn’t attend the bursary lunch because she was out tree planting to pay for her education. She’s just about to enter her third year at UVIC, where she is working towards a double major degree in Spanish and environmental studies.

Prieto is of Mexican and Canadian heritage and plans to become a teacher, using her cultural background and language skills to work as a liaison between Canada and South America to improve communities’ environmental practices.

Niether of Prieto’s parents have a college education and “by Canadian standards are impoverished,” according to Prieto. The young woman has spent the past three summers tree planting and held a part-time job in Victoria during the school year in an effort to finish her studies without incurring major financial debt.

She has volunteered abroad with Canada World Youth for six months in an orphanage and a hospital, (in Mexico and Honduras), and at another Mexican orphanage for four months.

The Comox Valley Canadian Federation of University Women Club (CV CFUW) was formed in June 1983. It gives out these two University Bursaries once per year, and it offers a $500 entrance bursary to a mature female student in the Comox Valley, who is attending North Island College for university studies.

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