No Limits on Learning | Stories | UNB is Here | UNB

No limits on learning

Award-winning professor, Emin Civi

Hands-on, experiential learning knows no boundaries at UNB. Whatever faculty you’re in, whatever course you’re taking, opportunities are there.

In Saint John, the Investments in Youth Empowerment Initiative is focused on establishing internships with community groups identified by the Urban and Community Studies Institute on that campus. Participating students gain valuable work experience and make an important difference to local organizations.

Helping to bridge the digital divide

For example, fourth-year math student Michleen Aide Mouni completed her internship with Brilliant Labs, a non-profit dedicated to giving youth across Atlantic Canada access to new technologies and programs. Michleen’s project focused on studying the effect that 40 donated laptops had on users at the Teen Resource Centre in Saint John. She developed and administered a survey to analyze how the computers were being used and worked with partners to arrange tutorials to enhance the recipients’ skills. Her work also contributed to a larger research project being conducted by business professor Dr. Rob Moir on the digital divide in marginalized communities.

Fighting COVID, one mask at a time

In another part of the city, third-year business student Jason Walsh spent his summer internship with the Saint John Newcomers Centre, a place that provides critical support to individuals and families, especially refugees, arriving in the city. Because of COVID-19, masks were essential for the centre’s clients, so UNB alumnus Mohamed Bagha (BAMHT ’05, MIDST ’13), executive director of the centre, enlisted Jason to make mask frames. Using several 3D printers loaned by Brilliant Labs, Jason was able to produce a total of 2,800 mask frames. Fitted with a fabric swatch and elastic band, these were available free of charge to centre clients and distributed through several other organizations, including the public library. Emin Civi, UNB business professor and Saint John Newcomers Centre Board Chair, also helped distribute mask frames to the Crescent Valley Resource Centre, where UNB alumna Maryam Naser makes sure refugee families get the masks they need.

Mutual benefits for students and the community

Investment in Youth Empowerment has a waiting list of at least 10 other community groups in Saint John with more than 20 ideas for collaborative internships with UNB students. As the program gains momentum, it is sure to be a win-win for all involved.

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