BU-linked figures make mark in ‘Future 40’

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Five people who are using their Brandon University education to make a difference in the world and to shape our futures are being celebrated as part of Manitoba’s “Future 40”.

The quintet includes four BU alumni as well as a current student. They were all named by CBC Manitoba as part of an elite group of 40 individuals under 40 years of age who are making Manitoba’s future brighter.

Recognized were alumni Holly Linski, Heather Mason and Natashalee Thompson, who are all graduates with master’s degrees from the Faculty of Education. Also recognized were recent Arts graduate Whitney Hodgins and current student Taylor Goodon, who is pursuing a degree in science.

“Our alumni and our students make us proud every day, and it’s very special to see these four be celebrated for the ways they go over and above to make Manitoba a better place,” said BU President David Docherty. “Our goal at BU is to develop engaged citizens who make a meaningful difference in the world, and there are no better examples than these four leaders.”

A woman sits and leans on her hand
Holly Linski

Holly Linski, who has three degrees from BU, including a Master of Education in 2011, was recognized for her work in education, particularly for her drive to build a better future for young people. For a decade, she has provided teacher education training for northern and remote Indigenous communities. She also runs motivations workshops with a focus on Indigenous youth, and has a novel coming out this month.

A woman poses in front of a forest with the sun on the horizen
Heather Mason

Heather Mason graduated with her Master of Education from BU in 2019, and was recognized for her work in arts, culture and entertainment. She has been devoted to her community of God’s Lake Narrows, where she has run art programs, coached, and arranged youth travel excursions.

A woman poses
Natashalee Thompson

Natashalee Thompson, who just graduated with her Master of Education from BU this past spring, was recognized for her significant research into positive discipline in schools. A presentation of hers on this research was recently selected for regional finals of a national competition and she continues to work for inclusion-based policies to benefit students.

“The power of education lies in passing it on, both inside and outside of a traditional classroom,” said Heather Duncan, Dean of Education at BU. “The dedication these alumni show to students, to their communities, and to sharing their understanding of the world, is a true inspiration. Congratulations!”

A woman stands in front of a World War II memorial and wreaths
Taylor Goodon
Whitney Hodgins

Whitney Hodgins also graduated this past spring from BU, with her Bachelor of Arts degree. She was recognized for her social activism and her volunteerism, which has included several stints working on behalf of students with the Brandon University Students’ Union and the Canadian Federation of Students. She is a passionate advocate for persons with disabilities and mental health needs, and is currently the First Vice Chair of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities.

Student Taylor Goodon was also recognized for her social activism and her volunteerism, which has included significant time dedicated in service at Métis cultural and other events, as well as volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, with the Brandon Bear Clan, and even abroad. She was also noted for her significant athletic and academic achievements.

“The future is bright with students like Whitney and Taylor showing us how they will apply their energy and ideas,” said Katie Gross, BU’s Dean of Students. “I look forward to following the impact of our students and cheering on their successes for years and years to come.”

More information on the CBC Manitoba ‘Future 40,’ including profiles of the BU five and all 40, see CBC Manitoba online at cbc.ca/mbfuture40.


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