University of Calgary

Education grad lets bursary steer her north to parts unknown

UToday HomeJune 12, 2013

By Betty Rice

Alyssa Stacy will receive a Bachelor of Education during convocation ceremonies today at the University of Calgary.Alyssa Stacy will receive a Bachelor of Education during convocation ceremonies today at the University of Calgary.As Alyssa Stacy receives her Bachelor of Education degree today, she does it with the knowledge that she has a one hundred per cent chance of landing a job.

The thing is, she doesn’t know where that job will be just yet.

Stacy accepted an Alberta Northern Bursary, which funded her studies. In turn, she has agreed to teach in a northern Alberta community for the first years of her practice.

Each fall, the Northern Alberta Development Council accepts applications for new teachers. If a student is accepted into the program, he or she receives funding to finish their degree. In accepting the bursary, the student commits to two to three years teaching in a northern community.

“On the application they look to see what experience you have in the north, what your area of specialty is, and the reasons why you would want to work up north to see if you would be a good fit,” explains Stacy.

Last summer I worked in a First Nations Community in northern Alberta and I did not know which community I was going to work and live until a few days before I had to arrive. So I know that I can handle dealing with the unknown.”

In addition to her studies in the Faculty of Education, Stacy has served as vice-president of the Education Students’ Association, vice-president (academic) of the Students’ Union, and as a leadership ambassador at the Student Success Centre. It’s clear that leadership is a role that suits her well, and it’s a trait that will serve her in her teaching career.

Stacy says she’s also aware of some of the limitations — and opportunities — that exist in the north and feels she’s prepared to make the adjustment.

“Living in the north has been a passion and a goal of mine ever since my first degree in development studies, where I learned about different northern communities and their various strengths and struggles.”

Stacy’s advice to others who are thinking about the Northern Bursary is to not consider the north just because of the surety of work or for the northern allowance pay that is often offered in some remote communities, or simply for the bursary money.

“Pursue a career in northern Alberta or northern Canada to learn a new way of life and to provide a skill set that you think would be beneficial for the community you want to work in. And most importantly, if you do decide to work in the north, don’t be an outsider in the community, but be a part of it — and not just the school community.”


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