Angela Noseworthy is currently the Manager of Community Services at The Canadian Cancer Society NL, Daffodil Place. She graduated from Memorial University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts (major in sociology and a minor in women’s studies – now gender studies) and also holds a Criminology Certificate from Memorial University.
Active in the area of community health since 2005 she is a dedicated volunteer, board member and community organizer. Through volunteering, academic internships, and board experiences, with Women Interested in Successful Employment, Planned Parenthood-NL Sexual Health Centre, and the NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, Angela is passionate about making a difference in her community.
Angela lives in St. John’s with her husband and two cats. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking, and dances ballet and jazz twice a week. She likes a challenge and is continuously seeking out opportunities where competition and excitement will greet her.
On Friday October 23, Ms. Noseworthy will be participating in an arts career talk on the limitless career potential of the arts degree from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Landing.
How and why did you decide to attend Memorial for your degree?
For as long as I can remember, the importance of education has really been stressed to me. My grandfather, Eric Noseworthy, would always be telling me to work hard, get a great education, and there would be no limit to what I could do. He and I were very close my entire childhood and into adulthood until he passed in 2008. Until his early 70’s he was totally illiterate, unbeknownst to the entire family. He decided to go in an adult learning program at age 72, and received his high school diploma, along with numerous awards. He and I would work on his writing and spelling together for hours while I was visiting. He showed me that education really is about lifelong learning no matter what the level. Attending Memorial University became my quest. I love our beautiful province, and I love having such a prestigious institution so close to home. That’s why I decided to stay and attend Memorial for my degree. My grandfather passed before my convocation, but when I walked across the stage in May 2011, it wasn’t only for me, but for my entire family.
What drew you to do a degree in sociology and a minor in women’s studies (now gender studies)?
When I finished high school, and found myself floating in the sea of uncertainty that faces every first year university student, and I decided to enroll myself in several intro level courses that I had no prior exposure to. I had always been the person who observed social patterns, questioned societal trends, and pushed for equality amongst not only genders, but abilities, ethnicities, and classes. Coming straight out of high school, I didn’t really know what opportunities existed outside the pre-prescribed timetable of my grade 12 classroom. When I set up my first semester of classes, I thought I was going to be a biology major, because that’s what I loved in high school. However, when I went to my first sociology class I was hooked! I went from a lab coat to a “Take Back the Night” march.
Do any particular memories stand out from your time here as an undergraduate student?
Trial by fire. I loved taking seminar classes in philosophy, but nothing was scarier than preparing to teach fellow students for a full 90-minute class on some highly esoteric topic, particularly knowing that if they let you off easy, Dr. Trnka would take his turn at grilling you.
Do any particular memories stand out from your time here as an undergraduate/graduate student?
Aside from the memories of feeling like a fish out of water for the first two months, and gorging on greasy comfort foods, I remember the first thing that my women’s studies professor said when she set foot in the classroom. She said “this course will change your life.” I remember thinking how loaded her sentence was - how can an intro level elective course possibly change my life? As the weeks progressed I found myself starting to think more critically of things I interacted with on a regular basis. My circle of friends began to shift to more like-minded individuals, my family and I had more in depth conversations about public issues, and I found myself asking questions and challenging my own beliefs in ways that I hadn’t before. One of the best things that I’ve ever done was take that class. It made me a better person, and gave me the chance to explore the world with a lens that I didn’t even know existed before.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t blame anyone else for your decisions. You make your own choices, and it’s important to stand by them.
You also completed a certificate in criminology while at Memorial. How does that fit in with your academic and professional interests?
As a sociology student you study institutions, and develop knowledge of social order and disorder - studying the criminal justice system seemed like a great fit. I found myself drawn to the criminal justice process and wanted to know more about deviance, law enforcement, and rehabilitation. Growing my knowledge of social structure, in particular, the legal and correctional systems, I felt more confident in assessing mainstream cases before the court, and offering societal commentary while amongst friends and family when discussions would arise. I went on to volunteer and eventually work in a transitional facility for male offenders. The opportunity to see the impact of the criminal justice system on the offender and their families was significant to my personal and professional growth.
You’ve worked in the non-profit sector in the area of community health for over a decade now and are currently the manager of community services, Canadian Cancer Society here in St. John’s. Can you explain how you got started working in the non-profit sector and tell us a bit about your role at Daffodil Place?
My first experience working in the non-profit sector was an unpaid internship at the St. John’s Women’s Centre. It was through a fourth year sociology course that was being offered for the first time. It was the opportunity to apply critical thinking to real world people and situations. I began building relationships with women with multiple and complex needs, and gaining a true understanding of trust and the importance of confidentiality. Meeting their needs and supporting them where they were in their lives really put things into perspective for me. The coworkers I had there really guided me not only professionally, but personally as well. They shaped me as a person, and molded me into a young professional who was confident and competent. I remain close with all of them to this day.
Working with other community partners of the Women’s Centre allowed me to really identify the gaps that existed in our social systems. I began to see the hard working people of the non-profit world dedicate so much time and energy to the betterment of our province. Today, my role at Daffodil Place does just that. I identify gaps in support for those living with cancer and their families. A large part of my role is program development, delivery, and evaluation. I lead an amazing team of seven in offices across the province, who carry out advocacy efforts, information and support groups, prevention and education sessions, and offer practical support items such as wigs, turbans, and temporary breast prosthesis. Prevention is a big focus for us, in particular in rural communities across the province. Currently, I am the voice of the Canadian Cancer Society Health Minute on VOCM. We try to improve access to, and the understanding of, cancer related information for people living in Newfoundland and Labrador in order to stop cancer before it starts.
What in your opinion is something the province of NL can do right now to improve the situation for people living with cancer?
Recently, the province has made some significant changes to the Medical Transportation Assistance Program, funded nicotine replacement therapies for low income earners, increased the price of cigarettes, and introduced an indoor tanning ban for those under 18. All of which the Canadian Cancer Society, and our partners moved forward. In terms of next steps, I would like to see a ban on all flavoured tobacco products, and control on the sale of electronic devices that mimic smoking behavior. I would also like to see access to effective and affordable cancer treatment, including drugs, devices, and therapies. There are many barriers to accessing treatment, including the financial burden on patients for their drugs, medicines, devices, and therapies. Government can help save more lives - and improve the quality of life for cancer survivors - by including in provincial drug plans those drugs taken by patients at home, along with those administered in the hospital. As well, the number of drugs and treatments needs to be expanded to include newer drugs, and the process for approving newer drugs and treatments needs to be streamlined so that these remedies are accessible to patients earlier. In most cases, timely treatment is of crucial importance to people diagnosed with cancer.
Any thoughts on the upcoming election (either federal or provincial)?
Politicians are put in power by the people. Whether federally, or provincially, parties owe it to their constituents to make lives better. This has been an incredible year for politics both federally and provincially. I think we will see changes at both the federal and provincial level. With the power of social media being what it is, I feel this is the most educated Canadians have been regarding party promises, and the importance of voting in the federal election than ever before. Our world is changing and the successful political party needs to bring our country to a place where national pride is paramount. Provincially, I think our leaders need to continue improving healthcare and community services, our education system, and focus on meeting the need for affordable housing.
In what ways has studying humanities and social sciences affected your world view? What do you say to those who question the value of an arts degree?
In my mind, studying humanities and social sciences puts the emphasis back on the value of social intelligence and critical thinking. All of us have thoughts, but studying humanities and social sciences often allows you to articulate those thoughts into creative actions. I have always believed there are two sides to every story, and with a social sciences background you develop the urge to uncover both of those sides.
Often I have come up against those who feel that an arts degree holds no merit. I always want to say to those people that because of my arts degree I have changed lives. I have had the luck to develop profound relationships with people at distressing points in their lives. Working in the non-profit world is only one area that is open to those with an arts degree. You have to make your own experiences, and having an arts degree demonstrates that you are willing to work hard, ask questions, and study things that make up our world; sociology, political science, gender studies, and economics to name a few. Any degree, arts included, sets you on a path of increased knowledge. Since when did having a higher level of education become a thing to be questioned? Those with an arts background have the ability to enrich lives, and seek something that is worthy of time, concentration, and judgment.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I have a real desire for adrenaline! For many years, I have admired those who challenge their inhibitions and do things that may appear frightening to others. Often, we box ourselves into a safe zone and stay there for far too long. The last number of years I have been challenging myself with things that I never thought I would do. It started small with roller coasters and zip lining but I bungee jumped 150 feet off a bridge in British Columbia a few years back. Last autumn while travelling in Hawaii, my husband and I hiked an active volcano and made sure to get to the top at sun set to see the warm glow and the pluming smoke of the earth. From these experiences I’ve gained a different perspective on the way our mind sometimes tricks our bodies into thinking we can’t do things. Being adventurous and seeking out opportunities to challenge ourselves is something that I seek out and crave.
What advice would you give a student who is unsure of what to study?
From my own experience I know what you think you want to study may not be what you actually end up studying in the end. My best advice is to select something, anything, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you know what you want to do when you start, but remembering where it is you will be when you finish. There is no right or wrong when it comes to education. It is a lifelong process. Some of the best people I work with will continually say they still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. Some of these people are well into their 40s and some in their 50s. To me, not being sure of what to study is part of the journey. When you are thinking about what to study, look at the courses that make up the final year of the program. If these courses spark your desire to learn, take the courses needed to get to that level. Often there is so much pressure put on first year students to choose their career path. At the end of the day, choose a program that will lead you to being the happiest you can be. No matter what, you are studying to better yourself and setting yourself up to contribute to our society, it should be something that you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to take courses that you don’t know anything about. Challenging yourself is important. That is what lead me down my academic path, and ultimately to a career that I love.
What’s your favourite place to visit?
I’m definitely an explorer. I would rather spend all my time and money travelling than on anything else. I can say that I am the most content right here at home though. Very little compares to a weekend road trip to Bonavista, or berry picking in Cupids. I love hiking and have spent some time on the west coast in Gros Morne too. We have such a unique culture; our food, dialect, and rugged coastline are something that I can never get enough of.
What are you most looking forward to within the next year?
Everything! I have an amazing husband and family. My group of friends is truly the best anyone could ask for, and we constantly feed each other’s spirits and creativity. I made a commitment to myself a long time ago to do what makes me happy, and surround myself with positivity. From the pottery class I’m taking this fall, to my dance recital in May, to hiking and camping trips this summer, I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures await.