Nicole Ensing graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture. Nicole was initially drawn to UBCO because she grew up in the Okanagan and was a fan of the lifestyle available to those who live in Kelowna. In an interview, she noted: “The presence of ski hills during the winter and hiking and beaches during the summer made Kelowna an ideal place to study.”
Nicole, as mentioned above, also decided to complete two degrees in both Fine Arts and Arts. “After completing my BFA, I completed a second degree at UBCO in Art History and Visual Culture. Having conducted the practical aspect of art creation, I wanted to learn more about studying, writing, and researching art. I chose to pursue my second degree at UBCO because I had had a favourable experience with the faculty at UBCO. Furthermore, I had developed strong and productive relationships with my student colleagues; I was keen to maintain these contacts and to continue my study in this positive and productive environment.” UBCO’s intimately sized campus allows students to form lasting collegial bonds with their fellow students and faculty, along with providing a wealth of opportunities for students willing to get involved both on and off campus.
Nicole made ample use of these resources during her studies: “UBCO provided access to volunteer opportunities and relevant summer employment and encouraged me to pursue contact with local community organizations in and around Kelowna. During my two degrees I volunteered or worked for the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, Lake Country Art Gallery, Kelowna Art Gallery, and the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art.”
Once Nicole had completed her two degrees, she was initially skeptical about going any further with her studies. “I had not considered pursuing graduate school until completing original research in my BA in art history. The support and encouragement of Art History faculty helped me believe that graduate school was an option, and something that I would excel in.” Eventually, Nicole’s experiences at UBCO would ultimately lead her to pursuing a graduate degree in Kingston, Ontario: “UBCO Art History faculty member Carolyn MacHardy encouraged me to pursue original research during my undergraduate degree with historical societies in the Okanagan, like O’Keefe Ranch and with the Friends of Fintry. This opportunity fuelled my interest in researching art and lead to my pursuit of an art history MA program at Queen’s University.”
Nicole represents one of many success stories for students of UBC Okanagan’s FCCS. In closing, Nicole stated: “I had a positive and successful experience in FCCS for both my BFA and BA degrees at UBCO. FCCS prepared me well for graduate school and gave me practical experience with local art organizations and historical societies. This, combined with the opportunity to live and study in such a beautiful location, makes UBCO an ideal place to pursue studies in Art History and Visual Culture.”
This story was written by Brandon Taylor, English major in FCCS. Brandon is a Research Assistant in FCCS, contacting alumni to find out about their experiences here at UBCO.