TWO LOCAL graduates of the University of Northern British Columbia are being honoured at this year’s fifth Alumni Awards and Wine Tasting Reception as part of Homecoming 2011.
Sarah de Leeuw, award-winning author and a professor in the Northern Medical Program, and Virginia Russell, an outstanding student and researcher will be front and centre at the awards reception Sept. 23.
De Leeuw is a human geographer and creative writer, who grew up on Haida Gwaii and graduated from high school in Terrace.
She is the author of two books of essays, Unmarked: Landscapes Along Highway 16 and Front Lines: Portraits of Care Givers in Northern British Columbia, which featured several locals, and a forthcoming collection of poetry.
She is also a two-time recipient of a CBC Literary Award in Creative Non-Fiction.
De Leeuw is the current president of the Two Rivers Gallery Board of Trustees and a director with the Prince George Elizabeth Fry Society Board of Directors.
Virginia Russell is a Métis woman who grew up in Terrace and completed her undergraduate honours degree in Psychology and, recently, her Master of Science degree in Community Health Sciences, also with a high degree of academic success.
All the while, Russell has been raising two children and working for agencies focused on social justice, indigenous health, and women’s issues.
Prior to graduation, Russell secured a position with a research program dedicated to understanding HIV and AIDS in northern communities.
This year’s honourees were chosen last month by the Alumni Association of UNBC.
Each September, UNBC invites its graduates to Homecoming, an opportunity to celebrate their achievements.
Activities include the awards reception, an Alumni vs. Timberwolves basketball game, and the Homecoming Golf Tournament.