Veterans and AU students find honour through service and education
Four members of the Canadian Forces whose lives were transformed through Athabasca University
On Remembrance Day, Canadians pause to acknowledge and honour the brave members of the Armed Forces who have served or who continue to serve Canada during times of both war and peace.
To mark the end of the First World War and the peace armistice signed at 11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, Remembrance Day is an important moment to show gratitude to those who served—and especially the men and women who sacrificed everything in the line of duty.
Athabasca University (AU) is proud to work with learners from the Canadian Forces, who receive advanced credit for military training and credits for previous education. AU can help accelerate and advance the careers of Canadian Forces and civilian military personnel.
To all Armed Forces members throughout the world, thank you. We’re very proud to highlight four AU learners—both current and former members—who have served their country selflessly.
Maj. Kim Jones: Pathway to career success
A commitment to lifelong learning has helped Kim Jones increase her value to the Canadian Forces where she is the Senior Training and Education Officer with the Department of National Defence’s professional conduct and culture office.
Jones (Master of Education in Open, Digital, and Distance Education ’13, Doctorate of Education, Distance Education ‘20) found she was able to honour her commitments to her family and personal life without sacrificing her educational dreams. Her education allowed her to focus on her role as a trainer and addressing a need for distance learning and virtual learning spaces. It also helped her rise in the ranks at the Department of National Defence. In 2020, she completed her doctorate after studying the distance learning experiences of Canadian Forces members—a topic that hit close to home.
An advocate of lifelong learning, Jones’s value to the Canadian Forces is exemplified by her ability to train and educate at a distance thanks to her experiences with AU.
Lt. Brad Arsenault: Rebounding from rejection
Brad Arsenault (Bachelor of Management ’19) was at his lowest point in his career with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) after he twice applied—and was rejected both times—for a commissioned officer role. Rather than settling, he found another passion in higher education.
What originally started as an idea to improve his writing skills and earn extra credit while working turned into a degree for Arsenault. He is currently employed as a logistics officer with the RCAF. He’s also a board member with the Military Family Resource Centre in North Bay, Ontario.
Lt.-Col. Rhonda Crew: Advocating for the next generation of nurses
As a nursing policy and staffing officer for the Canadian Forces, Rhonda Crew (Master of Nursing ’16) excels in coaching and mentorship. By overseeing training requirements for military nursing officers, Crew ensures personnel are prepared for domestic and international missions.
Crew herself has a lot of experience overseas, having served in missions in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Haiti. She has also been an advocate for nurses’ mental and physical health upon their return to Canada.
In 2017, Crew’s dedicated work and advocacy earned her a Distinguished Alumni award—one of AU’s highest honours given to graduates.
Kimberley Lamarche: From Bosnia to higher education
Driven by two different passions, Kimberley Lamarche in the 1990s found herself at an intersection of life. Lamarche (Master of Health in Advanced Nursing Practice ’02) was studying with AU while deployed in war-torn Bosnia, where she served at an advanced surgical centre.
Lamarche studied during her downtime and completed assignments on a word processor in an era when the internet was still in relative infancy. After graduation, she left her full-time job, earned her doctorate, and began teaching at Athabasca University. She is now dean of Cape Breton University’s School of Nursing.