One hard working student at the College of the Rockies Golden campus is the recipient of a Community Service Award from the Columbia Basin Trust.
Twenty-year-old Jessica Ihlen has just completed her first year in COTR’s Adventure Tourism Business Operations.
“I kind of stumbled upon this program. I was going to go somewhere else, somewhere in Vancouver. But when I thought about it a bit more, coming from such a small town, I’m not ready for a big city,” said Ihlen. “We do the business side of things, as well as the crazy adventure stuff. So there’s a big backpacking trip, some rock climbing, kayaking, ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and a lot of certifications like first aid.”
It is no secret how special COTR’s flagship program is. It brings in students from around the world, which is why awards such as the one Ihlen won (reserved for Columbia Basin students only) don’t often find their way to the Golden campus.
The award was given to 10 COTR students in the basin who could demonstrate their commitment to making their communities a better place.
“I had to state all the different community service I’ve done throughout my life. I’ve been part of search and rescue, which was really interesting. My parents have been part of it for over 20 years, so it motivated me to try it out,” said Ihlen.
“I work with the food bank here in Golden, pretty much since I came here in November. There’s great people there, such a good community. I really enjoyed that.”
The award comes with a $2,000 contribution to next year’s tuition, a huge help to any starving student.
Ihlen has one more year to go to complete the Adventure Tourism program, and plans to see the world when she’s done – a goal made easier by the education she has received here.
“With this type of education we can work almost anywhere, so it’s pretty cool,” said Ihlen. “The College of the Rockies has been such a great experience. The teachers and instructors, all the people who work here, and Karen (Cathcart) especially, are so great and helpful. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”