Iris Collins Alumni Profile
Name: Iris Collins
Program of study: Bachelor of Physical Education
Year of graduation: 2009
1. What career highlights since graduation would you like to share? Immediately upon graduation from the HKR program, I started working as a civilian with the military at 9 Wing Air Base in Gander, NL. I worked with the military members on a daily basis to improve their physical health and well-being by developing both individual and group fitness programs, and monitoring and testing their progress on an annual and on-going basis. After a few months, I was recruited for permanent employment with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) as a Border Services Officer. I trained with that Agency for four months in Quebec before accepting a position back in Newfoundland. Six years and a few job title changes later, I am working with the CBSA in Ottawa.
2. How and why did you decide to attend Memorial for your degree? Having started a Human Kinetics degree at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS, I decided I would rather attend Memorial at home in Newfoundland and Labrador and selected a Physical Education degree as my new path.
3. What drew you to your chosen degree? I absolutely loved participating in various sports throughout school, competing on the provincial stage for volleyball, cross-country skiing, cross-country running, at the regional level for track and field and at the recreational level for softball. I enjoyed being active and learning about exercise and nutrition and thought it would be a field I could excel in.
4. Do any particular memories stand out from your time here as an undergraduate/graduate student? The friends I made while attending Memorial have proven to be lifelong friends. I have kept in contact with my HKR friends, as a bridesmaid for a wedding, meeting up while traveling, etc., and I continually enjoy any chance to reconnect with other students and teachers from the school. During the HKR program, experiences such as an overnight trip in a quinzhee with TA encourage bonding amongst students during a very important time in our development as adults and individuals. Having strong leaders such as TA was a real encouragement for us to challenge our limits and the expectations we set for ourselves.
5. What did you learn while in your program that’s been particularly helpful in your career? I learned about the importance of a healthy lifestyle regardless of where you find yourself in your career or your life. Being that I don’t work in a career field directly related to my Physical Education degree, I don’t necessarily apply all of the techniques I learned during my course of study, however the program did instill in me the benefit of leading an active lifestyle, so that I am a healthy and happy person.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
7. What is it about your chosen career that appeals to you so much? Did you have an “a ha” moment that influenced your decision-making in terms of career? The CBSA is the second largest law enforcement agency in Canada (second only to the RCMP), and as such provides many opportunities to expand my knowledge on a variety of issues and topics. I have worked in four very different sections and I’ve appreciated each section for what I’ve been able to learn while working there. An agency as diverse as the CBSA will always prove that you never stop learning!
8. What’s a typical day like for you today? I currently work in the Operations Branch at Headquarters and my files are constantly evolving. We work closely with other law enforcement agencies and other government departments to ensure the security and prosperity of Canada by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada.
9. What advice would you give a student who is unsure of what to study? Try as many different career fields as possible before you commit to a degree program. You may be surprised to discover what is actually fulfilling to you as a career is different than what is fulfilling to you as a hobby, or you could be surprised to discover that you can turn your hobby into a viable career. There are so many options in our generation!
10.What are you most looking forward to within the next year? I am looking forward to visiting my sister (and fellow Memorial alumni), Cristal in New Zealand, as well as a trip to the Greek Islands with my boyfriend. Wanderlust!