2022 J.D. Leslie Prize winner

Kassie Harker

Aldo Caputo (CEL Director) and Kassie Harker with JD Leslie certificate
Kassie Harker, the recipient of the this years J.D. Leslie Undergraduate Prize, graduated in June 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Therapeutic Recreation and a Minor in Psychology.

Kassie believes that “education isn’t linear, it is a fluid and evolving system of building knowledge over one’s lifetime through many experiences.” She attributes her successful academic journey to the ability to travel internationally and interact with a diverse group of people working in various healthcare settings, which allowed her to connect the dots between the theories and frameworks she was learning and the reality of healthcare practice.

While studying Kassie was motivated by challenging herself “to explore the known and unknowns of the world.” She put extra effort into organizing her tasks and workload to ensure she had ample time to complete assignments, brainstorm and review her work before submission deadlines. She also found an appreciation for the constructive feedback provided by TA’s and professors.

When asked about her experience with online learning Kassie says “online courses allow greater flexibility with navigating the various challenges mature students face such as work and family responsibilities by providing opportunities to engage with course requirements during “off” hours and reduces travel time by being able to access material remotely.” She does note that there can be fewer opportunities to “connect with peers, TAs and professors and have discussions and conversations which explore topics and challenge concepts in a less formal manner.”

When she wasn’t studying Kassie led a very full life; she had a busy massage therapy practice, volunteered at the YMCA, balanced a full family life with everything and also managed to “spend time in forests exploring and learning about various fungi, flora and fauna [which] is one of [her] favorite activities.”

She is currently putting her education to good use in the field of health education and promotion and is looking into continuing her journey with a masters in the area of Knowledge Mobilization, with an eye to making positive change in the world. She is very thankful to those family and friends who supported and motivated her while she completed her degree.