Q: What is your name?
A: Sasha Lewis-Parker
Q: What are your pronouns?
Q: Where is your hometown and where are you located now?
A: Dunster, B.C. is where I grew up, living off the land with my sisters and parents and our pack of wolf dogs and horses. I currently live in Salmon Arm, B.C., a much more tame life with a rescue kitty and a corgi by my side.
Q: What did you take at OC? When did you graduate?
A: Human Service Work Diploma, I graduated in 2014.
Q: What got you interested in your program?
A: I originally wanted to obtain my Social Work Degree but I was a single mom and I couldn't afford the commute out of town to attend somewhere out of Salmon Arm. I looked into this program and I loved the fact I could transfer from a diploma to a degree. This for me at the time was a perfect fit for my life and to my surprise opened up more opportunities than I realized. I appreciate the two-year program and the practicums which have allowed me to discover passions and talents I didn't know I had and this changed the trajectory of my current education journey and career.
Q: How did you find out about the program you took at OC?
A: My own research on what I wanted to do for school. Like most people, I started with a web search, a phone call and a meeting with the school. I liked what it was all about, so I registered.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: Currently a student finishing my Psychology Degree.
Q: How did your training at OC prepare you for what you’re doing now?
A: The professors in the HSW program discussed in-depth real-life scenarios that prepared me for this field. Once we were ready for practicums that's when I felt all the classes came together and the skills we learned were put to practice. But specifically, the program professors guided us in active listening and empathy for the individuals we would be supporting and working with. That to me was the most valuable and important part of preparing for Human Service Work.
Q: What was one of your most meaningful memories during your time at OC?
A: I took all of Professor Melissa Munn's classes. They were intriguing and very engaging classes, also some of the most challenging academically and personally. I was at the College, before I was even a student, and came across her class outside on a sunny day while she gave a lecture. I casually sat at the picnic table just earshot away to listen in. The discussion was so interesting, it was about professional sports uniforms that are mandatory for women to wear compared to men's uniforms, this was regarding professional beach volleyball and how hypersexualized women's uniforms are. I wanted in this class and made sure I registered. Fast forward to the next year I'm in her first year Women's Study class and we are having a group discussion, I spoke up on the subject but ended my thoughts with "that's just my opinion." Professor Munn asked me to say it all over again but leave out "just." She told me afterward how important my opinion is. That class kicked my butt in so many ways but that experience has been a pillar in my confidence as a student, professional, and a woman who matters.
Q: What advice would you pass on to current/future students?
A: Enjoy the learning process and know that the learning never stops even after graduation. Have a sense of humor and laugh with your peers. This kind of program can open up a lot for you as an individual and it is so important to be in touch with yourself and have healthy boundaries before you embark on Human Service Work. This work is important but so are you and be gracious and patient with yourself. It's ok to sob over textbooks late at night and decide it's time to just go to bed and studying will resume the next day, (this may have been me a few times prepping for exams ;) Allow yourself to grow during the program and beyond. Also, ask for help if you are stuck, the teachers and peers I have learned from are some of my dearest friends and colleagues now.
Q: When you’re not working, what are you doing?
A: Walking with my dog, Finnegan, ferociously reading books and doing crosswords, daydreaming, beading earrings, love a good movie or show, writing my book, binging true crime podcasts, and attending Pilates classes whenever I can.
Human Service Work Diploma
Learn how to build and maintain healthy relationships, communicate effectively and increase inclusion for vulnerable individuals within your community.
OC Alumni Association
The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) is a non-profit organization that celebrates alumni by creating connections and opportunities. Founded in 1988, the OCAA aims to connect alumni with each other and with the College, while supporting the College's mission statement of transforming lives and communities.