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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May 8, 2003

Co-op Made the Difference for Wesbrook Scholar

Experience included communications and talking turkey.

By Erica Smishek

Alicia Miller didn’t know a thing about farming when her Arts Co-op work term took her to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in Abbotsford to write profiles of farmers for a non-farming audience.

But six weeks taking care of her boss’ five-acre hobby farm while he and his family went on vacation changed all that.

“I have a huge sense of appreciation for it now,” says the energetic and engaging Miller, 23, who tended to a racehorse, two steers, five chickens, a dog, cats, gerbils -- and 40 turkeys, which she had to retrieve when they escaped through an electric fence into tall grass.

“They are so stupid. I never enjoyed eating Christmas turkey so much as I did that year.”

Miller, an Arts Co-op student with a major in English and minor in Canadian Studies, achieved an exceptional record of academic, professional and community excellence during her undergraduate degree. This year’s C.K. Choi scholar and a Wesbrook scholar, she was a Ubyssey staff writer and a founding member of the UBC Arts Co-op Students’ Association, and helped create a highly successful peer mentorship program for Arts Co-op students.

She also gained varied experiences, working in communications-related positions with a small internet travel publisher in West Vancouver, the Canadian International Development Agency in Ottawa, and Harbour Publishing, one of B.C.’s foremost book publishers, based on the Sunshine Coast.

“Co-op was a deciding factor in why I came to UBC,” Miller explains. “You have a conception of what certain jobs are but you don’t know the day-to-day realities of them. You also see the relevance of your academic studies, which is easy to lose sight of in Arts. You gain writing, reading and analytical skills but it is not always a one-to-one relationship with jobs like in some other faculties.”

Miller rounds out her busy life with swing dancing, campus aerobics and athletics, reading, writing, piano, guitar, hiking, kayaking, travelling and photography. This term, she worked part time at UBC Press and also trained for the UBC Sprint Distance Triathlon in early March, her first, which she completed in one hour, 55 minutes.

She will begin a permanent full-time job at Harbour Publishing later this summer following a five-week French immersion program in Quebec and a trip to the Maritimes and New York.

“It’s a really exciting time to be joining the company. They are growing, they are expanding their distribution into the U.S. Plus I just have a real passion for books. I’ll be working with different ideas and a whole variety of topics. It’s the perfect marriage of what I’m interested in.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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