Renaissance woman Marina Parapini bronze academic medalist at UFV

Dewdney resident was able to spend one semester abroad

Marina Parapini

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

Jay Matte (right), president of Pressland Printing in downtown Mission, passes a customer her purchase. Many local businesses say the new mandatory mask order is a positive step to help protect customers and staff alike. / Kevin Mills Photo
Mission businesses, workers say they’re happy with new mask mandate

Most say they’ve had little problem enforcing the of new rules

Jag Deol, owner of Sangam Restaurant and Catering, is collecting non-perishable food items for the St. Joseph's Food Bank at both his restaurant locations in Mission. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Indian restaurant asks for food-bank donations when Missionites pick up take-out orders

Sangam Restaurant and Catering hosting food drive until Dec. 20, will match all donations made

Kenny (left) and Bobby Braich, the Braich family estate’s representatives, will have to pay $676,000 to their former estate lawyer, James Carphin, for legal work dating from December 2004 to October 2010. / Patrick Penner Photo
Former lawyer for Braich Family Estate wins case over unpaid legal debts in B.C. Supreme Court

Braich family recently in dispute with District of Mission over failed development deal

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read