Flexible delivery, support, key to success, says NIC student

NIC Associate of Science student Mary Rickinson in NIC’s science lab at the Comox Valley campus.

NIC student Mary Rickinson says NIC’s ongoing support and mix of digital and in-person delivery was exactly what she needed to succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic and afterwards.

“I feel like I would be successful at any institution that accepted me because of my training at NIC,” said Rickinson, who took upgrading courses at NIC before transitioning into the Associate of Science program.

When the college pivoted to digital courses in 2020, she found NIC’s combination of digital classes, in-person labs and supportive faculty instrumental to her success.

“Last year, we were able to maintain wet labs for our classes when a lot of larger institutions were not able to do that,” Rickinson said. “That’s a huge testament to NIC. I felt no fear of going to the labs because the NIC safety protocols have been excellent – then after labs, I was able to go back home to my own space to focus on the rest of the course material without any distractions.

NIC’s Department of Accessible Learning (DALS) was another major factor.

“As a student with a learning disability, having DALS there to interface between myself and instructors so that I did not have to self-advocate made a big difference,” she said. “The support was excellent and really speaks to NIC as an elevating institution.”

She plans to continue her studies at NIC this year, in part, because of the faculty.

“The one-on-one instruction in the labs is incredible,” she said. “The NIC lab technicians are all brilliantly trained too and can help you with anything.”

The College plans to continue a blend of fully on-campus offerings, along with fully digital and blended programs in the fall. Rickinson thinks the mix of formats will work to better support students of all backgrounds.

“I’ve been a student long enough to know what I like,” she said. “The flexibility for an adult student in this format is incredible.”

Rickinson is set to graduate in the spring of 2022. She plans to use her Associate of Science degree to pursue a career in academia and science, possibly is earning a B.Sc. degree in psychology before fulfilling her dream of going to medical school.

For more on NIC supports, flexible delivery options or the Associate of Science degree, visit www.nic.bc.ca.

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Watch Mary's interview with Comox Valley MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard, discussing the upcoming Fall term.