Psychology student Nikky Kundiwal and sociology student Jillane Buryn are Mount Allison’s first-ever Marjorie Young Bell Diversity & Inclusion Interns. The pair will work with Student Affairs staff to develop programming, training, and education initiatives across the broad spectrum that is diversity and inclusion.
“This is an important focus of Student Affairs and the University as a whole, so we are looking forward to the ideas and enthusiasm of Nikky and Jillane to help us dig deeper into this area and inform our community,” says Director of Student Life and International Affairs Adam Christie.
Originally from northern BC, Buryn transferred to Mount Allison this year from Yale-NUS College in Singapore. She spent two years studying abroad, as well as a year interning at a museum in Venice, before attending Mount Allison.
“I was an international student at my last school and I came to Mount A as a transfer student, so I understand that there is no single way to go through university,” says Buryn. “I understand what it is like to live different experiences and to be the same person in a new environment. Most importantly, I know how to listen and I think that’s important in this position.”
Buryn says it is important that they hear different voices and provide support for all student experiences.
“There may be one narrative that is heard, but there are many other experiences out there and we want all students to have a platform and a place at Mount A where they are valued and respected,” she says.
Kundiwal came to Mount Allison from a small international high school in Mumbai, India. She has been highly involved in the multicultural community at Mount Allison since she arrived, working this year on the executive of MOSAIC, Mount Allison’s multicultural society, and in past years with the international mentorship program, as a MASSIE conversation partner, a summer MASSIE residence assistant, and as an international orientation facilitator for two years.
“Coming to Mount Allison from India, I know how important it is to feel included and like you belong. That is a key reason why I came here because I felt like I belong here and I matter here. But I know that’s not everyone’s experience,” she says.
She says she also realizes there is so much more to diversity and inclusion than just multiculturalism, including gender and sexuality, and she wants to be able to help everyone in the community feel at home and happy at Mount Allison.
“Mount Allison is my home in Canada and I want more people to be able to feel that way here,” she says. “And home is a place where you can be yourself and nobody will judge you for it.”
The Diversity & Inclusion Internship is part of a host of internship opportunities provided by the Marjorie Young Bell Foundation, including pre-professional internships in law and medicine, publishing, social media, music, and fine arts. Read more on some of these internships.