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Integrated Studies

Alumni success stories


You have a story to tell – and we’d love to hear it!

Are you coming up on graduation or have recently graduated from the Integrated and General Studies program? We'd love to hear about your time at UFV and learn where you're planning to take your degree or where you are currently using it. Please share with us your story.

We value your comments and feedback which assist us in continuing to improve the growth and quality of the program.


The Faces of UFV Integrated Studies


– John Botti
BIS; Theme: Planning Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems

New York financier turned food security activist.

"I am an undergraduate student at UFV pursuing a BIS Degree in Planning Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems. Having previously earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Haverford College. I am an accomplished business and social entrepreneur who has founded several investment management entities and non-profits. In April 2020, I co-founded, a COVID response and food security non-profit initiative. We fundraised over $1.5 million and purchased over 1.3 million pounds of food feeding over 230,000 people in the South Bronx, NYC. We partnered with East Side House and World Central Kitchen and represented Farms to Food Banks on ABC World News Tonight and Good Morning America. Under the tutelage of Dr. Lenore Newman and Dr. Robert Newell of UFV’s Food and Agriculture Institute, I am currently researching and developing community planning models for food security. The BIS program afforded me the opportunity to create and customize a comprehensive and specialized curriculum for my new area of interest which culminated in Directed Studies with accomplished teacher-scholars in my field. I will be utilizing the knowledge, experience, and relationships from my studies at UFV as I develop new business models for resilient and sustainable food systems in community planning and residential development. I was selected as a panelist speaker at the Environmental Studies Association of Canada 2022 Annual Conference presenting research on “Bringing residential into agricultural space: Transitioning to resilient and sustainable food systems in community planning.”


– Zain Rehmtulla
BIS; Minors: Mathematics and French; Career: Secondary Educator

Aspiring educator with a passion to help others discover their true potential.

"Since I was young, I always wondered how I could combine my interests and goals into my degree. I am extremely pleased to be a 2022 graduate of the Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS) program. This program has lived up to my expectations as I completed both Math and French specializations while pursuing other in-demand disciplines such as computer science and statistics that illustrate competency in two out of the six core areas of the BIS program. Moreover, I was able to accelerate my degree by starting in Fall 2019 and finishing in Winter 2022 by virtue of the program’s flexibility to allow students to transfer a maximum of 90 credits. For example, I studied at Athabasca University and Thompson Rivers University at a distance which allowed me to acquire independent study and project development skills while learning about other universities. Lastly, I was able to better connect with aspiring teachers who also chose the program due to its flexibility."


‌‌‌‌‌– Brandi Ranger, BIS 

BIS graduate with an ambition to pursue teacher education.

"As a single mom and mature student returning to university after many years, the Bachelor of Integrated Studies at UFV was the perfect program for me. This program aligned with my professional and academic goals and allowed me to transfer my previous education and professional experiences for credit. Completing the BIS has helped me to gain confidence by giving me skills such as the ability to analyze critically, communicate effectively and engage in collaborative leadership. These skills are fundamental tools that will allow me to be successful in my continued journey as an educator. The program provided me with the freedom and flexibility to individualize and create a unique academic program that focused on my interests and passions. The faculty and staff are supportive, approachable, and welcoming and the small class sizes allows for individualized learning. I was accepted into other universities to further my studies, however I chose UFV because of its outstanding social justice stance, and diversity awareness, and because I love how the learning community provided a sense of belonging and social connectedness."


‌‌‌‌‌– Deborah Soutar
BIS; Theme: Wetlands Conservation & Advocacy 

Retired professional forester to future city councillor.

"I received my invitation to Convocation 2022 yesterday! It’s really happening, I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree! When I graduated from high school, although I would have loved to go to university, it was not an option. Over time I was able to save enough to attend BCIT and obtain a diploma of forest technology. This really helped me secure higher paying employment. Through self-study I was able to obtain professional designation, but I really wanted a degree to round out my education. The University of the Fraser Valley made that a reality. The admissions department helped me secure transcripts from all the past courses I managed to pick up during my career as a forester. Kulwant Gill helped me define my educational goals and select appropriate courses to achieve a Bachelor of Integrated Studies with a personalized thematic option "Wetlands Conservation and Advocacy." The best part of this experience was meeting the other students, even if it was usually online. These young students are highly intelligent, generous, incredibly hard-working, and full of idealism. It was an honour to be working with them. They filled me with so much optimism. One of the skills I appreciated learning was GIS mapping. It is a very powerful tool for effectively communicating mountains of data into compelling and useful maps. Having a degree has enhanced my confidence in myself so that I am willing to take on new challenges. Although I have retired from professional forestry, I am expanding my volunteer efforts in the community, including serving on the boards of various organizations devoted to conserving wetlands, and advocating for the environment in my community. I plan to run for City Council where I can inspire others to take action to protect wetlands and urban forests. For some people, the years from 2020 to 2022 will be remembered as the Covid pandemic, but for me they were the years of learning and finally earning a degree!"


– Alanna Clempson
BIS; Theme: Food Security; Career: Perinatal Support Worker Assistant

Non-profit worker with a focus in food security and health.

"I love that the BIS can be a fairly self-determined degree, providing an autonomous learning experience for students. The BIS program has helped give me the confidence to be successful not only through my educational experience, but in my professional career. It has put me on a path to a better future for myself and my family. Despite considering myself a lifelong learner, I started my post-secondary journey 20 years after graduating high school. At that time, I had volunteered within the community in various capacities but most notably with Chilliwack Community Services and in GrassRoots Food Security Initiatives. Through these volunteer positions I experienced a multitude of informal and formal learning opportunities. Yet I lacked the formal training, professional communication skills and ultimately the confidence to fulfill these roles at my full potential. I am currently employed by Chilliwack Community Services. I work as a Perinatal Support Worker Assistant for the Better Beginnings Prenatal Nutrition Program. After the BIS I am continuing in my post-secondary studies pursuing a Graduate Degree. Ultimately, I would like to work in my community helping to create a sustainable community food system with access to safe and nutritious food for all people. And in turn one that fosters not only health and wellbeing for all people but contributes to healthy sustainable relationships with each other and the earth. Within the Bachelor of Integrated studies, I was able to include a Social Services Diploma - First Nations option, a Professional Communication Essentials associate certificate, and Integrated Learning Design associate certificate, helping to diversify my employment portfolio and mature my professional skills. In addition, I am pursuing a Thematic Option in Food Security, including educational elements of food systems planning, policy work and food asset mapping. I have been able to take courses in a multitude of disciplines, most notably Human Services, Indigenous Studies, Communications, Agriculture, Geography, Social Work, Adult Education, broadening the scope of my learning, and deepening my understanding of the interdisciplinary relationships that exist in these fields. If I had any advice to give future students it would be that it is never too late to pursue a degree, that you are capable, and the UFV BIS provides a holistic supportive learning experience that allows you to become a self-directed learner and gives you the professional communication skills to succeed in life."


– Rajneel (Raj) Reddy
BIS; Minor: Geography (Urban & Community Planning); Career: Educator, Urban Planner

Lifelong educator with a focus in community and urban planning.

"I enrolled into UFV’s Bachelor of Integrated Studies program to upgrade my teaching diploma originally attained in Fiji in 2008. The BIS program provided me with the opportunity to customize my degree with research and project-oriented community and urban planning courses for diverse career opportunities. I was able to apply credits from my diploma towards the BIS degree and expand my education to achieve a British Columbia Teaching Certificate. The BIS program opened a door for me to personalize my degree according to my long-term goals. Courses offered in the BIS program with small class sizes and flexible modes of delivery during the pandemic helped me to be involved in class discussions and upgrade my skills. The research and data analysis that I was involved in made me realize my true potential and skills driving me to plan and pursue a PhD in community and urban planning.

A crucial skill I learned during this program is the cycle of learning-unlearning and relearning. This process helped me and continues to, so to explore diverse perspectives of the global community and build productive relationships in society."


– Whitney Tachie-Edwards
BIS; Minor: History; Career: Future Educator

Future educator with a passion for social justice.

"When I started my journey at UFV, I knew I wanted to be a teacher that created equitable opportunities and positive experiences for my future students; however, I wasn't sure how I could do this within my degree. I started talking to the wonderful advisors, they suggested looking into the Bachelor of Integrated Studies program, as it would allow me to take many courses that aligned with my social justice passions. The BIS program opened many avenues of educating myself and those around me with Indigenous history, the history of Canada, and dive into how systems in place affect many groups of people. As a future educator, I have gained so much knowledge on how to help students in minority groups, and I am so grateful for that. To future BIS students, if you are passionate about a topic or movement, talk to one of the advisors to see how/what UFV courses align with that passion. You can do it, good luck!"


– Sarah Lee
BIS; Theme: Transformational Leadership; Career: Learning & Development Consultant, McDonald's Restaurant

A lifelong learner with a focus in transformational leadership.

"I am grateful for the opportunity I’ve been granted to rewrite the ending of my post-secondary education. I have been able to transfer the credits from my unfinished degree, apply my experience through prior learning assessment and have my professional development recognized through the Archways to Opportunity partnership. The Bachelor of Integrated Studies program has far exceeded my intentions of returning to school. What began as a mission to complete my degree has evolved to a genuine love of lifelong learning, sustained through the flexibility of registering for courses I am extremely passionate about and some terrific mentors. It is an honour to be a student at UFV and be an ambassador to this program."


– Emma Rothwell
Bachelor of Integrated Studies

"The Bachelor of Integrated Studies program at UFV has been instrumental in my journey to becoming an educator. The program allowed me to complete a flexible array of courses relating to my career goals and has provided me with both soft and hard skills pertaining to my future career in education. The small class sizes at UFV allow for a more intimate relationship between students and professors which I greatly attribute to my academic success. I am grateful to the BIS program for providing me with the skills I need to pursue my lifelong goal of becoming an educator."


– Gillian Mann
Bachelor of Integrated Studies: Professional Pilot Training (Fixed Wing); Minor: Geography

"The Bachelor of Integrated Studies allowed me to curate my education to the career goals I had set out for myself. I wanted to take courses that I was passionate about and ones that I would be able to utilize every aspect of out in the field. Throughout my time in the BIS, I found that being able to work in small classrooms was something that stood out to me. The smaller class sizes that were offered gave me the experience of working hand in hand with professors instead of leaving class feeling like just another student in their day. The skills I gained from the BIS program range from hard skills to soft skills. I was able to learn and master hard skills like data analysis, data mining, and data management through geographic information systems (GIS) courses. Learning another language in Spanish courses. Learning how to market myself and products online through different communications courses. Soft skills I am also taking away from the program include; teamwork and leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and a high work ethic. I would like to tell future BIS students that, you are the pilot of your future. You have the opportunity in the BIS program to curate your education to be exactly what you want and need it to be." 


– Rod Neufeld
Bachelor of Integrated Studies: Ext. Minor: Computer Information Systems

"The BIS degree program has been a real opportunity for me. I had originally finished my Computer Information systems (CIS) diploma back in 1999 and did not return to school until Jan 2020. I was however able to apply my courses to the BIS degree and as a result, I will be graduating at the end of the Winter 2021 term. Not only is the core of my course work what would have been required for a CIS degree, I am now planning to pursue GIS and image analysis and processing as a career and further academic pursuits. I wholeheartedly encourage others to pursue a BIS degree because of the flexibility that it affords in course selection."


– Jayden Wolfe
BIS: Professional Pilot Training (Fixed Wing); 
Career: Canadian Licensed Flight Instructor

"I transferred into the Bachelor of Integrated Studies program one semester into my post-secondary education at UFV so that I could expand my knowledge and explore different UFV departments. As an aviation student, besides our government issued licenses, there are little requirements to be a pilot. Many opportunities require post-secondary education, specifically a degree. However, there is rarely a requirement for a specific degree. I felt that the BIS was a good option as it fulfilled many of the requirements for the aviation industry, and allowed me to explore different subjects that I had an interest in."


– Sukhi Brar
Bachelor of Integrated Studies: Indigenous Maps, Films, Rights & Land Claims (Coordinator)

"I’m someone that really knows what my interests are, what I want to learn and how I want to ‌apply myself in the real world. When I took the Indigenous Maps, Films, Rights and Land Claims certificate, I was able to immediately apply it to help build a strategic plan and to roll out programming. I had the flexibility to then turn that into a directed studies about Indigenizing curriculum and it ended up being my practicum for a course that I had to take. I really enjoyed that flexibility. The College of Arts was a good fit for how I wanted to learn and what I wanted to get out of my learning journey. I’m really glad I found my way here."



– Sualeha Jafri Syeda
Bachelor of Integrated Studies; Career: Early Childhood Educator Assistant & Supervisor

"After completing the Bachelor of Integrated Studies program, I feel more confident and undeterred when speaking against injustice and racism in societies and schools. The program helped me to develop global skills and competencies. Some of the skills are Microsoft Office, podcast recording, communication, academic writing, lateral thinking, and problem solving. I am accumulating work hours to get into the B.Ed. program, along with working as ECEA at Hand in Hand and doing a supervision job at an Elementary School."



– Bailie Lowe
BIS: Professional Pilot Training (Fixed Wing) Minor: Business; Career: Professional Flight Instructor at Montair Aviation

"The concentration in professional pilot training had the most direct impact on obtaining my career goals. As part of my program, I obtained my Commercial Pilots Licence and my Flight Instructor rating. However, I credit a lot of what I learned in all my courses over my four years at UFV to my ability to launch my career and give me the guidance and confidence to move up in the company I am working for. As I have hopes to work for the regional/international airlines one day, my education experience at UFV has helped me set a great foundation for a future in the aviation industry.

"One skill I learned during this program that particularly stands out to me is reflection. This program gives you a unique opportunity to reflect on what you have created and create not only a self-assessment towards the learning outcomes of the class, but also personal learning goals are adapted." 



Alumni video

Check out Terisha Mitchell's story as a UFV graduate with her Bachelor of Integrated Studies and how it led her into a career in agriculture.

Are you currently employed with McDonald’s?

Receive credits toward one of four credentials, including the General Studies diploma & the Bachelor of Integrated Studies through a new UFV-McDonald's partnership.

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