Kelsey Moore smiles with a mountain range at sunset behind her.

Connecting with community and nature

July 17, 2023

Meet this year’s recipient of VIU’s Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal

Kelsey Moore was working as a forensic drug analyst when she decided she wanted a career that gave her a greater connection to community and nature. She enrolled in VIU’s Resource Management Officer Technology (RMOT) diploma. The program prepares students for careers related to the protection and management of Canada’s fisheries, wildlife and park resources. Kelsey graduated this June with the RMOT diploma and received VIU’s Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal, which is awarded to the graduating student with the highest academic standing in a two-year diploma program. She now works as a Natural Resource Officer in Revelstoke.

“To anyone thinking of doing the RMOT program, do it,” says Kelsey. “VIU facilitated so much growth in my academic and professional career, but also in my personal journey.”

We caught up with Kelsey to get her thoughts about winning the award, the program and her time at VIU.

What does receiving this award and recognition mean to you?

Receiving this award was a great way to end my time at VIU. I feel very honoured for my hard work over these past two years to be recognized. When I told my family that I was receiving this award, I found out that two of my aunts have also won the Governor General’s award as well. I suppose this award now feels a bit like a family legacy that I am carrying on, which makes it even more special. 

What drew you to the Resource Management Officer Technology diploma?

I have a previous degree in forensic science, but after working as a forensic drug analyst I realized that I wanted a career that gave me a greater sense of connection to my community and to nature. I still wanted to apply my learnings from my forensic background to those values, which led me to pursue further education that would allow me to have a career in natural resource law enforcement. 

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during your studies or otherwise, and how did you overcome them? 

I would say balancing my studies with my personal life. I am training for a triathlon, so fitting in swims, bikes, and runs and just generally staying active on top of school work was sometimes challenging. Having friends taking the RMOT program that were willing to do Mount Benson with me every Tuesday kept me honest about my fitness. Also, I found biking to school was a great way for me to balance these sometimes opposing interests.  

I am lucky in the way that I have a previous degree, and I learned a lot about how I best study from that experience. I learned that I actually do better in school when I take time for my activities and I can come at things with a fresh set of eyes. 

What’s next for you?

I just landed my dream job in my dream location. I am now a Natural Resource Officer in Revelstoke, BC. Before thinking about what is next for me, I am relishing that accomplishment. I am however looking forward to using both my forensics background and my RMOT diploma to apply my learnings to the real world! I am also getting out and enjoying all the things that this wonderful little mountain town has to offer – rock climbing, hiking, biking and camping. 

How do you feel your time at VIU helped in your path toward achieving this goal?

My time at VIU shaped my path to achieving my goal of having a natural resource law enforcement job. I came in with a set of values that I wanted to get out of a career, those being gaining a greater sense of connection to my community and to nature. It is such a specialized program so I came in seeking these values, and RMOT and VIU as a whole delivered. I can confidently say I would not be in my position now if it weren’t for VIU offering the diploma program.  

What was the highlight of your time at VIU, and what was the biggest takeaway? 

I would say the people. From students to professors, the people made my time at VIU memorable. I made some lifelong friends during my time at VIU that I am so thankful for. The professors in the RMOT program truly set you up for success during and after the program. RMOT holds an impressive legacy in the resource management world because of the calibre of its students, which are shaped by amazing professors. My biggest takeaway is to make those connections and memories.

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