Ally Badger stands in front of a research poster.

Inspired by the world around us: Ally Badger

August 9, 2022

Meet this year’s recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal

The living world has fascinated Ally Badger ever since she was a child, and she always knew she wanted to pursue biology.

She graduated this June with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology. Navigating the challenges of the pandemic and the worsening climate crisis over the past few hasn’t been easy, but despite these obstacles Ally received a perfect grade point average. 

Ally is this year’s recipient of VIU’s Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal, which is awarded annually to the student graduating with the highest academic standing in a bachelor’s degree. 

We caught up with Ally to get her thoughts on the award, the program and her time at VIU. 

What does receiving this award and recognition mean to you?

It is such an incredible honour to receive the Governor General Silver Medal. I was caught unaware and it was a fantastic surprise to hear my name called out during the graduation ceremony. I am very proud of my accomplishments at VIU and it is quite wonderful to feel as though all of my hard work has been acknowledged with this prestigious award. 

What drew you to the Biology program?

As someone with interests in many aspects of science, biology is ideal for me because it includes concepts from other sciences like chemistry and physics. There are many branches, so it is very integrative, and allows you to have expertise in different areas. 

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

Honestly, attending university feels like an exercise in overcoming challenges. The last few years with the COVID-19 pandemic and ever-worsening climate crisis has made this feel even more true. It is impossible to put your life on hold while you work toward your degree, and if you are a perfectionist like me, it can be hard to find the time you would like to put into your studies, while also maintaining financial, social and recreational commitments. Looking back now, I see that prioritizing my mental health was key, and taking the time to get out and do activities that made me happy was more beneficial than I realized at the time.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working in fisheries biology with the BC Conservation Foundation on Vancouver Island. After that, I would love to continue working in ecology, fisheries or marine biology. It would be amazing to find a job that I love close to home in Nanaimo. Eventually, I would like to pursue a graduate degree, but I plan to take some time to gain experience working in the field and determine what the next steps will look like for me.

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

The ability to receive so much hands-on learning at VIU was extremely beneficial. The small class sizes provided me with lots of experience with lab equipment, dissections and excellent field trips. It also allowed me to get to know my classmates and teachers well. This provided a great sense of community that I think was important during the last few years with COVID-19 lockdowns. Also, I completed a Biology 491 Research Project as part of my degree, which let me learn how to collect and work with ecological data and network with local organizations in this field. 

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

Where to begin? I have had so many amazing and memorable experiences throughout my time at VIU! Presenting my Biology 491 research poster at the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research earlier this year was a big highlight, and I also thoroughly enjoyed attending a field trip to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. My biggest takeaway has been just how much there is to learn about the world we live in. I am grateful for how the smallest details continue to amaze and inspire me.   

Anything else you would like to add?

I just want to say thank you so much for the wonderful opportunities VIU has provided. I would not have achieved such high academic success without the incredible support of the VIU community and the biology department in particular. I came to post-secondary school later in my life than I had originally intended, but it is never too late to follow your passions and keep trying new things.

Related Posts

Got an article idea for the blog? Email

Sign up for our blog