Renaissance woman Marina Parapini bronze academic medalist at UFV

Dewdney resident was able to spend one semester abroad

Marina Parapini

When Marina Parapini was told she had won the Governor General’s bronze medal at UFV, she had no idea what that meant.

A quick Google search soon told her that it meant she had the highest GPA amongst those completing a two-year diploma at UFV — something that was both an honour and a surprise.

“It was exciting, but completely unexpected,” says Parapini, a Dewdney resident, who completed both her business administration diploma and bachelor of arts in English and business this year.

“I finished most of the diploma a while ago,” she explains, “and just finished the last couple of credits this year.”

This medal is the culmination of a five-year journey for Parapini, which didn’t always go as planned. She started at UFV with the intent to focus purely on business, but eventually switched to an English major with a business minor.

“I’ve always loved how different disciplines work together if you care to look for the connections,” she says. “It was that connection and that human aspect that drew me to English from business.”

Probably the highlight of her degree, Parapini says, was the chance to spend a year abroad — one semester in France and one in Italy.

The year abroad, she says, really helped her grow as a person in a couple of ways. Studying in Italy and learning to speak Italian really helped her connect with her roots, since that’s where her father grew up and Italian is his first language. But, as Parapini says, seeing the world from the other side of the ocean really drew a lot of business principles into focus.

“It really clarified the cross-cultural aspects of business,” she explains. “There are a lot of differences that you don’t understand until you get out of the valley.”

And it made living in the valley again that much sweeter for Parapini.

“About halfway through my degree, I was pretty convinced I never wanted to go to school again,” Parapini says with a laugh. “It sucks, being half-finished and half-unfinished. I actually left for Europe when I was feeling the most disillusioned, and I came back feeling totally recharged.”

“We live in such a beautiful area,” she adds, “and travelling really hammered that home for me.”

Other than the opportunity to travel abroad, Parapini says that she’ll always cherish the relationship she built with many of her professors. With such small class sizes, there were several moments where professors were able to take her aside and help her along.

And despite the fact that she’s officially completed both BA and diploma after five long years, Parapini doesn’t plan to stop attending university. After taking a chemistry class to complete her lab science credit, Parapini was fascinated and took another. And another.

She’s currently completing a chemistry course at UFV over the summer, and then she’ll be off to UBC in the fall, where she’s been accepted into the Bachelor of Science program.

Eventually Parapini sees herself working in the health industry or with an organization like Doctors Without Borders, as a combination of all her passions. She stresses the importance trying classes outside of her major had on her academic path, and recommends all UFV students to do the same.

“I probably wouldn’t have touched the business program if I’d gone straight into English,” she confesses, “but it’s been beyond helpful to see the connections that can be drawn between disciplines. Every student should take classes outside their major and their narrow interests, because everything works together.”

Parapini received the Governor General’s bronze medal (as well as her BA and diploma) at UFV’s Convocation ceremonies at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre on June 15.

Just Posted

Rockslide closes Coquihalla northbound

Highway 5 is closed in both directions according to DriveBC

UPDATE: Wind warning has ended for Metro Vancouver

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read