Dream of saving sharks comes true for Camosun College ABE student

paige de m photoPaige de Moissac never liked math, but she does love sharks. And with a determined passion for a career in ocean conservation, she decided to study biology at Camosun College in Victoria.

Paige soon learned, however, that math is needed for any science program, so the first step on her educational journey was to upgrade her math skills in Camosun’s Adult Basic Education program.

As an adult learner with a strong motivation to succeed, Paige found that not liking math didn't mean she couldn't learn it. She needed to bring her Grade 9 math skills up to the required Grade 12 level, and with her goal of environmental sustainability, specifically sharks, at the forefront, she remained undaunted, polishing off seven fundamental and college preparatory math courses in three years – even winning Camosun’s 2012 Ted Adkin Memorial Award in the process.

“It’s crazy,” she says. “One of the amazing math tutors at Camosun kept saying to me ‘Paige, you have to learn how to love math.’ Well, I never did, never will, but I found out that I can do it. Me! Winning an award for math!”

After two years of studying biology, chemistry, environmental stewardship, evolution and diversity, Paige graduated last June from Camosun’s Associate of Science Degree program and is well on her way to an amazing career in ocean and shark conservation.

"Sharks have been around for 400 million years, and they're an essential part of the food chain," explains Paige. "There is a lack of regulations governing our oceans and sharks are being killed off for no reason other than profit. Science plays a big part in ocean conservation, and by better understanding how sharks contribute to the eco-balance, I hope to contribute to a change in public attitude."

Camosun College offers many paths to helping students upgrade their skills. Over 1,500 students each year are enrolled in Camosun’s access programs. From basic English and math, to Grade 12 equivalency, English as a Second Language and College Preparation, Camosun takes students from where they are now, to where they want to go.