By Karen Kelly
Photos by Bryan Gagnon
When Keean Nembhard left for Jamaica to pursue his international experience requirement, he had a vision for his future. He would earn a Bachelor of Global and International Studies degree with a specialization in Global Politics, work as a page for the Senate of Canada, and then go to law school.
His international experience also fit into that plan: he was selected for an internship with the GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme in Kingston, Jamaica, where he worked for the CEO as a legal intern.
But everything changed when Nembhard and his fellow interns took a tour of mangrove forests at a biomarine centre at the Kingston port. He learned that the mangrove, which provides a natural barrier to high waves and surges, is threatened by climate change.
“It was such an amazing experience; it literally changed everything for me,” recalls Nembhard. “I had always been interested in climate change policy, but I realized this was what I really wanted to do.”
Following the trip, Nembhard began to do research on how climate change was affecting the Caribbean, which he turned into an Honours Research Essay. He hopes to expand on that research as part of a master’s degree in environmental policy.
While his interests changed during his time in the program, Nembhard credits his BGInS degree for exposing him to new experiences that helped him develop—both academically and personally.
“Had BGInS not been my degree, I may not have gone in this direction,” says Nembhard. He also appreciated the support of the faculty and instructors. “I really enjoyed the core courses we had and having the chance to talk to professors. We were able to establish a rapport.”
Going forward, Nembhard will continue working as the Deputy Chief Page for the Senate of Canada. He is considering working for the public service, as well as pursuing a master’s degree. But either way, he says his degree has provided a solid foundation for his future plans.
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