Posted on: October 20, 2017
They’re community builders, athletes, volunteers and scholars. In our TRU Trailblazers series, we’re profiling some of our 2017 major scholarship winners. Read on to meet TRU’s most accomplished first-year students and learn their best study tips, volunteer suggestions and leadership advice.
TRU Trailblazer: Brennan Dunne
Meet Brennan Dunne: Windsor secondary school graduate, devoted care-home volunteer and childhood activity advocate.
Brennan is one of six recipients of the 2017 TRU Ambassador’s Entrance Scholarship, a $22,000 award recognizing exemplary leadership and community service combined with strong academic performance.
Studying in the nursing program, Brennan is dedicated to improving health care for everyone, a passion that shines through in his volunteer work. He believes that all people, regardless of age or location, should have easy access to health and wellness services.
He has spent countless hours interacting with seniors in long-term-care homes to improve their quality of life. As an Active Schools BC leader, he taught elementary school students recess games to make them more active. He dreams of providing access to health care in poverty-stricken communities in developing countries.
“One day I’d like to give back on a global level by going on a Mercy Ship tour to Africa with my mom, who is also a nurse,” Brennan said.
“Mercy Ship tours operate by sending doctors and nurses on a big cruise ship turned into a floating hospital so that they can provide health care in remote areas without the money and or infrastructure to do so,” he said.
When Brennan isn’t thinking about ways to make health care more accessible, he’s busy with extracurricular activities. Brennan is a tree planter, a former scout with Scouts Canada, a former army cadet, an umpire for Softball BC and he represented Barbados in a recent Model UN conference.
“If you’re uncomfortable doing something, do it anyway,” Brennan said. “For example, I thought Model UN was going to be a really awkward and uncomfortable experience, but I did it anyway and it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life!”
Brennan knows all work and no play isn’t the way to maintain strong mental health, so when he’s not focused on his intense nursing studying schedule, he spends his down time with friends at board-game nights or brushes up on computer science, a particular passion for him.
“I also love going fishing with my dad, so it’s really nice to be in Kamloops where we are so close to so many nice lakes,” he said.
Originally from North Vancouver, Brennan appreciates the change of scenery in Kamloops.
“TRU’s campus is so beautiful and I really like the campus’s proximity to shopping. Back in North Van, you would have to drive to get anywhere, but here on campus there are tons of stores within walking distance.”
Campus beauty was a perk for Brennan when he chose to study nursing at TRU.
“The nursing program at TRU has an incredible reputation,” he said. “Since my mom is a nurse, she meets a lot of students from different schools and she and her colleagues often have complaints that the students don’t know what they’re doing. That’s never the case with TRU grads. Thanks to all of the hands-on training and knowledge TRU offers, we have built a really great reputation among the nurses working in hospitals.”
Brennan hopes to become an ICU nurse in Edmonton or Calgary before pursuing his Master of Nursing degree. After that, he’s interested in teaching nursing.
He knows achieving that requires strong leadership and volunteer skills.
“The best leadership advice I ever received was from my dad, who told me ‘If the flow is going where you want, go with the flow.’ Basically, he means that it’s best to take a step back sometimes, and let others take charge and contribute. Be open to taking advice, and if people’s ideas go with your flow, let them implement them,” he said.
For high school students applying for the Ambassador’s Entrance Scholarship, Brennan advised to keep good grades, step up to take leadership roles and ask for reference letters.
“Get a variety of reference letters, so that way you can choose the best ones to submit,” he said with a laugh.
Brennan said time management and work ethic are two key reasons he has accomplished his goals.
“I study for one hour, take a 15-minute break and then go back to studying for another hour,” he said. “That’s the method that works.
“Always work hard. When you show up to volunteer, remember that you are there to provide a service. You’re not there just to gain volunteer hours. You must want to be there. Never act like it’s just for the hours, because people can see right through that,” he said.
“And send a thank-you letter after, always. You’ll be surprised how much people appreciate them.”