NorQuest College alumni offer their advice to the Class of 2024

May 22, 2024

NorQuest College alumni offer their advice to the Class of 2024

As the Class of 2024 prepares for their big day at Convocation, many of our recent alumni are looking back at their education and graduation journeys. For them, it’s a time to reflect on how far they’ve come and impart their own words of wisdom to the next generation of NorQuest grads.

In this post, we’re highlighting four alumni who completed their programs in 2023 and are offering their advice to the graduating class of 2024.

Chelsea Harper

Business Administration (HR Specialization), 2023

Chelsea has yet to attend her convocation, but she already possesses an impressive career journey. She originally enrolled in NorQuest’s Business Administration diploma, because it’s one of the only programs recognized by CPHR—an association and exclusive registration body of HR professionals in Alberta. By taking her diploma at NorQuest, Chelsea received a free student membership where she could attend HR events, meet other professionals in her industry, and build her network.

Chelsea’s career journey started during her second semester of school back in 2021. Over the last three years, she worked her way up, using the lessons she learned in the classroom.

Just a few months after completing her program, she was promoted to Director of HR at the consulting firm she’s currently employed at. Each day, she uses the business and strategy skills she learned in the program to excel at her job.

It comes as no surprise that she advises other recent graduates and current students to start thinking about their career as early as possible.

“Start working on your personal brand now,” she advises, followed by, “network, build and maintain relationships, and look for opportunities to apply your learning while you’re learning.”

Chelsea is proud to be a NorQuest alumni and looks forward to watching every new generation thrive in their personal and career journeys. She recently hired a first-year NorQuest student to join her team, displaying an inspiring and exciting full circle moment.

Ronald Marcos Rivera

Early Learning and Child Care diploma, 2023

In 2021, Ronald decided it was time for some change. He left the Philippines to embark on his educational journey in Canada. After discovering the Early Learning and Child Care diploma at NorQuest, he decided this was the perfect program to leverage his past experience as a Training Manager for People Development. He was excited to teach young children the skills they needed to face challenges as adults.

After completing his diploma, he started off in a staff position but has since been promoted to Program Director at Sunny Station Childcare Centre in Edmonton. In his position, he gathers insight into how the children may become in the future and experiences many activities he wasn’t exposed to in the Philippines.

When asked what advice he would give to a new grad, he said, “Be open. The world will offer both the ups and downs, but be open to the process as it will surely bring you the best.”

During his convocation, Ronald felt a deep sense of fulfillment and has since been optimistic about his future. He recognizes that being an alumni is not the end to his connection with the college and reflects that he sees himself “as a bridge for young student in NorQuest to find their niche in the community.” He looks forward to helping them find placements at his present work, so they can practice what they learned in the NorQuest classroom.

Diana Ramirez

Settlement Studies, 2023

When Diana was struggling to balance work with being a new mom, she made a list of career ideas. Some of the words she jotted down were helping people, immigration, and advocating. After discovering NorQuest’s Settlement Studies diploma, she knew this was the perfect program for her. She was inspired to help newcomers integrate into Canada.

During Convocation, Diana had an emotional experience when she had the opportunity to walk across the stage in front of her son and family, knowing all her hard work had paid off. While reflecting on the moment, she said, “I graduated with honours, and I hope one day my son can look up to my diploma and aspire to get his own.”

After graduating from her program, Diana started her own grassroots organization to promote and advocate for migrants from Latin America. Familia Migrante Latino (FAM) teaches Latino migrants about their rights in Canada through workshops and artwork.

Diana loves doing outreach and speaking up for her community. Hearing migrant workers tell their stories of resilience motivates Diana to work harder. She is now pursuing her Bachelor of Professional Arts with a Major in Human Services at Athabasca University and is only two years away from graduating.

When asked what she would say to a new grad, she advises, “Volunteer. Volunteer. Volunteer. Get involved with an organization that you are passionate about; it might lead to your career advancement. Volunteering is useful to build skills, gain experience that can be added to your resume, building a community, and more importantly networking.”

Diana reflects that NorQuest was her community for two years. It felt like home, and while saying goodbye is never easy, Diana is excited for what the future holds.

Rob Gurney

Social Work, 2023

Rob Gurney was the Class of 2023’s President Medal recipient. He chose NorQuest’s Social Work diploma based on his past experience as a youth. During a moment of need, a social worker helped Rob with housing and emotional support. Rob recalls the impact this had on his life at the time and hopes to help others in the same way.

Convocation was both an exciting and sad experience for Rob. Three days before the ceremony, his mother passed away. She was going to be proudly sitting in the front row, watching as her son accepted the Presidents Achievement Award. And while she was not able to attend in person, she was there in spirit, cheering on Rob as he marked the completion of his program.

After graduating, Rob continued in his role as a peer supporter until December 2023 when he was hired as a Social Worker for Alberta Health Services. One of the aspects he enjoys most about his work is problem solving. He likes finding solutions and resources for people.

When asked what advice he would give to a new grad, he said, “Have an ‘after plan’ and start preparing it before graduation. Get your foot in the door. Volunteer.”

Rob feels honoured to be a NorQuest alumni and remains in contact with the connections he made on campus.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

On behalf of the NorQuest Alumni Network, we are so very proud of all your accomplishments and can’t wait to see all the amazing things you achieve.

To stay connected to the campus and alumni community, join our alumni newsletter. You’ll receive information on new and updated benefits, hear from other alumni, and discover ways to get involved.

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