Sanna Meherally was already highly accomplished in India before coming to Canada to study at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).
She had earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, a post-graduate diploma in sports science, fitness and nutrition, and a Master’s in Home Science with a specialization in extension education. She went on to work for more than five years with non-profit organizations in a wide range of areas in public health, including malnutrition in young children, water, sanitation and hygiene, and supporting women with breast cancer. She also worked for three years as a business development manager for a manufacturer of nutritional products serving international humanitarian organizations.
Eventually, Sanna wanted to broaden her opportunities outside her hometown of Mumbai by furthering her education. She discovered JIBC during her research and decided to pursue the Institute’s Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Disaster Management.
“The instructors were experienced and from the field. The assignments they give make you think practically and explore possibilities, which I liked the most,” she said.
She found her studies were a great fit with her prior work experience in public health in India.
“If communities are resilient, they may comparatively be less vulnerable when impacted by a disaster.”
As an international student, Sanna had the opportunity to not only network with people working in the field, but also with students from across Canada and around the world, which added to the educational experience.
I had classmates from different countries and understanding their perspectives helped me gain insights on different approaches. I made some amazing friends in the process.
“I had classmates from different countries and understanding their perspectives helped me gain insights on different approaches. I made some amazing friends in the process.”
Sanna was the inaugural recipient of the International Academic Excellence Award, which partly funded her tuition fees for one semester. She also worked as a COVID-19 Student Ambassador, assisting in educating people on safety protocols upon the initial return of students, staff and faculty back to JIBC’s main campus in New Westminster during the pandemic.
JIBC also gave her the opportunity to continue her involvement in research, an area that is evolving in the emergency management field.
She was hired as a student researcher on JIBC’s mass care framework research project, a multi-year project funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in partnership with Emergency Management BC. Since graduation, she has continued to work on the project.
“Most of my career I have been involved in research and I am always curious to learn more!” she said. “JIBC provided me with a foundation in disaster management … and helped me explore further into the response and recovery aspects of emergency management.”
Ultimately, her career goal is to work in the emergency management field to drive positive impact in the community.
“At JIBC, I have gained knowledge and developed perspectives and skills which can be applied not just in the emergency management field but also overlaps with business continuity and the development sector,” Sanna said. “I think it’s an added advantage to my previous qualifications and work experience and will help me explore new opportunities.”
For more information on the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Disaster Management, visit jibc.ca/pbddm. For more on attending JIBC as an international student, visit International Studies or email firstname.lastname@example.org.