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2015 Alumni awards - Celebrating achievement

Camosun College is proud to announce its annual Promising and Distinguished Alumni Awards recognizing two extraordinary alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their fields.

Ellen Mahoney (left), Heather Bray (right)

Ellen Mahoney (left), Heather Bray (right)

Ellen Mahoney 

Consummate teacher, accomplished nurse, and passionate volunteer

Ellen Mahoney began her journey after being accepted into Camosun's newly developed Registered Nurse Diploma Program. "The program provided the foundation for my nursing career," says Ellen. She graduated in 1983 and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Victoria. In 2002, Ellen graduated from the Master of Arts in Leadership program from Royal Roads University.

For the first ten years of her nursing career, Ellen worked in the surgical realm with a focus on ENT (ears, nose and throats) and plastic surgery. For many years Ellen held Nurse management positions with VIHA. Later she guided new nursing graduates and helped launch them into positions at VIHA. Currently, Ellen is a Nurse Educator in the BSN Program. "At Camosun, Ellen is able to work with all the students in the class but somehow connects and celebrates the individual student successes," says Ellen's fellow Nursing instructor, Hazell Penn. Ellen still runs into many nurses she has mentored, taught and helped, referring to them as "one of my grads".

Ellen continues to teach and learn, giving professional presentations on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and broadening people's perspectives on health and illness. She is continually amazed by new teaching and content that comes to her. She works with small health care facilities to Build Respectful Workplaces.
Ellen is an inspirational community volunteer. She goes above and beyond in her 28 years of service to the community of ALS clients and families on Vancouver Island. As the Client Services Coordinator, Ellen visits every family with a newly diagnosed family member with ALS. "I can't imagine a nicer person, full of the information these families need, to walk through the door," says Hazell. "She combines listening and caring in all her interactions and takes it to the next level." She leads a monthly support group for ALS clients and their families. Ellen is actively involved in activities to create awareness and fundraise to support research and client services. She completed the ALS Ice Bucket challenge twice last year. She is also a Director of the Vancouver Island Multiple Myeloma Society and assists in leading their support group as well.

"Volunteering is very rewarding in and of itself and I am humbled and grateful by this acknowledgement from my peers," says Ellen, regarding being named Camosun College Distinguished Alumni for 2015.

And her advice to those thinking about coming to Camosun? "Make Camosun the background setting for the next chapter of your life," says Ellen. "You will not be disappointed!"

Heather Bray

Heather Bray graduated from the Criminal Justice program in 2005. From that moment she hasn't stopped learning.

The first of her family to attend post-secondary school, Heather completed a Bachelor of Justice Studies at Royal Roads University, moved across the country to complete a Bachelor of Laws at the University of New Brunswick, gained her Master of Laws in Business Law and Taxation from Western University in Ontario. She headed south to pursue a doctoral degree in Arizona but moved on to the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany where she works as a Junior Researcher. She's currently a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, a Juridical Science (S.J.D) candidate at the University of Arizona and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellow. With the goal of becoming a law professor, Heather continues to dedicate herself to lifelong learning.

"Camosun was an incredibly intimate environment, which allowed me to grow," says Heather. "With small class sizes, exposure to encouraging teachers, and students with diverse professional goals, I experienced a mosaic of diversity, differences, and perspectives that helped me establish a holistic view of the criminal justice system."

She continues to use what she learned at Camosun, tackling problems from as many different angles and viewpoints as possible. Summing up, Heather says, "becoming an effective problem solver, a skill that was appreciably cultivated at Camosun, has been a pillar of my academic and professional success."
"Heather is creative and inspiring—rare qualities in the legal field," says her husband, Devin Bray. "In everything she does, she includes a bit of herself. If the past is a predictor of the future, she's on a path with an incredible trajectory."

Heather is incredibly honoured with receiving the Promising Alumni award. "Winning this award has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on the beginning of my academic journey," says Heather. "I come from a modest upbringing and Camosun College acted as a springboard to a path that I never thought possible. I am very thankful to Camosun College and the momentum that it allowed me to develop. "

Contact information

Camosun College

Communications Department