Paula Duncan receives Denis Racine Bursary
Genevieve Racine presented Paula Duncan with the Denis Racine Bursary at the CPRS-VI AGM on June 11, 2019. Paula is sharing the following blog post with us so we can get to know her a little better, as advances her education in public relations.
I am pleased to be this year’s recipient of the Denis Racine Bursary. I'll use this bursary towards gaining formal credential as I am currently completing the Diploma in Public Relations through the University of Victoria’s Division of Continuing Studies. I began the diploma program in January 2018 and expect to graduate in 2020.
My interest in communications began while I was completing my undergraduate degree. I started out in Geography and Environmental Studies then explored a few different concentrations before deciding on an English major. Although I’d always loved reading and writing in school, I began to doubt my choice a few semesters after the switch.
Then I enrolled in a Technical Writing course, which counted towards my major’s requirements and also towards the Professional Writing minor. I didn’t even know what Professional Writing was but for the first time in my English degree I found the learning relevant and a good fit for me.
Completing the Professional Writing minor helped me learn practical skills from inspiring and supportive industry professionals. The courses improved my writing and exposed me to the world of communications. One of my mentors and I have kept in close contact as well, which is quite special.
After graduating from the University of Victoria in 2014, I trained as a teacher in Wales. I then taught in England for two years before returning to Canada. I sought out full-time teaching work, which took me to northern British Columbia—a definite contrast to living on the outskirts of London.
Since graduating from teaching, I kept thinking about communications as an alternative career path. Knowing it would be a long winter in the north, I applied to UVic's online PR diploma program and completed my first PR course at the beginning of 2018.
As I work my way through each of the program requirements, my confidence in my ability to work in the industry grows. The PW minor was a great introduction to communications, and the PR courses have not only consolidated the skills I learned previously but also extended my understanding.
I have picked out similarities between PR and teaching. Building relationships through good stakeholder engagement, working collaboratively to achieve intended outcomes and communicating effectively are examples of such parallels. The process of planning, implementing and evaluating a campaign closely aligns with curriculum development.
I am excited to continue my learning, so thank you to both Denis Racine's family for this bursary and CRPS-VI for its encouragement. I am very grateful.
- Paula Duncan