2015 J.D. Leslie Prize winner

Charlotte Whalen

Flexible online degree program only option with a full-time career and family

“Completing my degree was definitely the highlight of my adventure with Waterloo” said Charlotte Whalen, this year’s winner of the J.D. Leslie Prize. “At times it felt like an unattainable goal. It took a lot of dedication and hard work, and I am so happy to have finally reached this goal.”

Charlotte started her University of Waterloo degree at roughly the same time she started her career as a police officer, "I had already completed my Business Marketing diploma at Sheridan College, but felt that I wanted to attain a Bachelor of Arts to better position myself for promotion within the Police Services."

"Studying at Waterloo was a natural choice for me. The university’s impeccable reputation, the fact that my mother attended Waterloo, and the option to complete my degree online were all factors that contributed to my decision." She also adds that "The flexibility of doing lectures at any time, and not having to attend a campus eliminated the barriers I would not have been able to overcome in order to complete my education."

Charlotte is a fitting recipient for the award as without the flexibility of online courses she would not have been able to complete her degree while juggling the needs of her family and career. 

“The fact that I have four children was a definite hurdle as their needs always came first. My career is a demanding one, and very often required being paged out in the early morning hours and late nights. The flexibility of online studying allowed me to manage these hurdles with little difficulty.”

Even though this degree took a lot of hard work and dedication to complete it is not the end of her academic journey. “My goal in completing my degree is to gain a competitive advantage when competing for promotion in my current occupation. I do see post graduate studies in my future.”

When asked if she'd do it all over again, Charlotte had no regrets in completing her degree online with the University of Waterloo, “The courses were amazing, the professors were supportive, and the flexibility compensated for other obligations I had in my busy life.”