Brianne Rivard is the first woman in her family to earn a university degree. Her achievements are evident when she humbly clarifies, “I’m the first woman in my family to ever make it into a University.” Brianne transferred to Providence to be closer to home and to study Social Sciences. “I think that the Social Sciences and Christianity can work very well together, especially when working with people’s emotions,” she says, pointing out how the Christian perspectives she explored at Providence informed her studies.
Reflecting on highlights from her time at Providence, a memory of Brianne’s dorm-mates studying for Intro to the Bible 1 comes to mind. She recalls the amazement of a student from India reading the story of David and Goliath. “It tends to lose some of its meaning,” she explains. “Seeing her read it for the first time and saying how amazing it is helps you remember the awe.” The community of learning was not lost on Brianne as she found the diversity of voices rewarding. Growing in knowledge included the freedom to “bounce ideas around, get other perspectives that are different from your own, but still be in a close atmosphere.”
In addition to her active participation in campus life, she managed to work three jobs to pay for her education. Her financial burdens were lightened in the 2016-17 school year when she was awarded a Memorial Scholarship. Making the Providence experience affordable for all students who are called to attend is a key aim for our future. Impact 2020 prioritizes the growth of both Endowed Scholarship and Bursary offerings and Providence Fund Scholarships. Awards such as the Renee Dueck Memorial Fund, awarded to Brianne and four other students, provide opportunities for more students to receive a Providence education.
This past April, Brianne walked across the stage in cap and gown to receive her Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences. Her desire is to work with victims of domestic violence or human trafficking. Recognizing the weight and complexity of these issues, she notes that Christianity offers hope in bleak circumstances. Faith provides comfort and peace to her personally.
Brianne took advantage of community chapels and Bible classes, which have, she says, “given me new insight into what I believe as a Christian.” She trusts that on-the-ground experience working in women’s shelters in Winnipeg will further prepare her for the Masters in Counselling Psychology program she was recently accepted into. She is interested in government advocacy work and is mindful of the challenges her area of interest presents.
“It’s a process,” she says. “Even if I’m able to change one person’s life, then it’s worth it.”