A passion for teaching led Barbara Warren to pursue an education degree from the University of Lethbridge as a mature student. After graduating in 1981, she enjoyed teaching in the city and now that she has retired, she wants to help other students find their passion.
Barbara and her husband, John, established the Warren Family Bhutanese/Nepalese Entrance and Continuing Award to provide one undergraduate student annually with $1,500 in financial assistance. A student who receives the award in his or her first year of studies is eligible to renew it for another three years. Candidates are nominated by the Canadian Bhutanese Society, a non-profit organization that works to preserve and enhance relationships between Bhutanese and the general community.
“My hope is that by supporting somebody with their education that maybe one day he or she will be in a position to do exactly the same thing,” says Barbara.
Santosh Timsina, a second-year student studying neuroscience, is the first recipient of the award.
Timsina was born to Bhutanese parents living in a refugee camp in Nepal after they were forced to leave Bhutan. He received basic schooling in the refugee camp. At age 15, Timsina and his family arrived in Lethbridge. He entered Grade 10 and began taking English as a Second Language classes. Timsina spent an additional year taking high school courses to ensure he could enter university to study neuroscience.
“I’m just so thankful for her support. It helps me out in so many different ways,” says Timsina. “It’s not only the financial support, it’s the encouragement and appreciation of what I’ve been doing. It’s an example of what I would like to do in the future.”
He has already built a foundation in giving back to his community. Knowing how difficult it is to learn English, Timsina offered to tutor his fellow Bhutanese students when he was in high school, something he has continued as a university student.
“My years at the University were such a joy and allowed me the benefit of education as a mature student. My teaching career gave me great pleasure as well. To be involved with a student such as Santosh seems perfect. He’s a young man with a vision, drive and great personality,” says Barbara.
The Warrens became involved with the local Bhutanese community when John started volunteering with Lethbridge Family Services – Immigrant Services in 2008.
“We became part of a family and experienced all kinds of traditional parties,” says Barbara. “I thought I’d really like to do something for the Bhutanese community because this fits in with our philosophies of teaching.”
“We enjoy the Bhutanese people because they work hard. They integrate into our society, getting jobs as soon as possible. Families living together and supporting each other are soon able to buy houses and cars,” says John.
The Warrens also have a history of giving back to the community. They established the Shooting Star Foundation, which supported the U of L library campaign.
Anyone interested in establishing a student award can contact University Advancement at 403-329-2582 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.