Meet Paula Harper

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Image shows a smiling woman in front of colourful foliage.

“I love changing my students’ lives by making a difference.”

Throughout her 21 years at the College, Paula has had the opportunity to influence a lot of students’ lives. With a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry, and a Master’s of Pest Management, Paula divides her time between instructing in the Upgrading for Academic and Career Entry (UACE) program, and providing guidance to students as an Education Advisor.

“It is wonderful to see students gain the skills and confidence that they truly need in their lives,” she said. “I really enjoy sharing stories of my experiences in some aspect of science or research in biology to spark students’ interest in the unknown or get them excited about something they are unfamiliar with.”

An avid outdoorsperson, Paula finds her passion for nature, combined with the curiosity displayed by her students, continues to fuel her love for teaching.

“I love biology, the outdoors, and everything that lives,” she said. “Students enjoy finding out all about the human body and how it works so it makes teaching biology a lot of fun.”

Over her extensive teaching career, students have also provided many lessons to Paula.

“I have learned a great deal from my students and still will keep learning from them,” she said. “I have learned to be more compassionate so I can understand where they are at and where they need to get to. I have learned flexibility so I can try to meet the diverse needs of my students. And I’ve learned to really listen to their stories and share openly with them so I can offer the most support possible.”

Though most instruction is taking place online for the fall 2020 semester, the UACE program has included some on-campus instruction – with stringent safety protocols in place. Paula is grateful to be able to have some in-person interaction with her students.

“I am lucky to have some classroom appointments for students this fall, and many Education Advising appointments by phone or online,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see students face-to-face in the classroom. Often, these students are some of the most vulnerable of our society and they really need in-person interaction with instructors to progress. I am thrilled we have some time with students in class.”

Outside of the classroom, Paula enjoys being outdoors and practicing yoga. You can often find her in the wilderness hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, or camping.

“I am peaceful in nature,” she said. “I try to take time outdoors to just ‘be’.”

Her advice to her students is simple:

“Find something you really love to do, and then life is so much more enjoyable.”