Itchy's Alphabet is a line of educational materials developed by Brenda Larson.
Itchy’s Alphabet is a line of educational materials developed by Brenda Larson.

Although Brenda Larson (née Pugsley), BEd’71, (MEd’79, Gonzaga University, Spokane WA), retired in 2006 from a 34-year teaching career in Vancouver, Langley and Kelowna, she has remained active in education. Brenda has been presenting teacher workshops throughout North America as well as expanding and marketing her Itchy’s Alphabet line of educational materials, a unique program designed to teach letter sounds and letter formations. Each picture cue in the shape of the letter brings a visual/concrete connection to learning these auditory/abstract skills. In January 2011, a research project supporting the effectiveness of Itchy’s Alphabet (“Teaching Letter Sound Connections With Picture Mnemonics: Itchy’s Alphabet and Early Decoding”)  was published in the peer reviewed journal, Preventing School Failure. Brenda spent most of 2011 developing a French and Spanish component for the Itchy’s Alphabet program which are available on her website, www.itchysalphabet.com.

Christman Lee, BEd’73, was inducted into the Softball BC Hall of Fame on October 15, 2011, as an official, becoming the first Chinese Canadian to receive this accolade. Prior to his retirement in 2009, highlights of his 30-year officiating career included umpiring the  1996 International Softball Federation Men’s World Fastpitch Championship in Midland, Michigan; the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg; and the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Christman was also a secondary school teacher for 35 years, teaching in Nakusp, West  Vancouver and Delta.

Marion Pollack, BA’74, retired in 2012 after years of activism in the Canadian Union of Postal workers and the women’s movement. She is currently a board member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women and CoDevelopment Canada.

Margaret Evans
Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans (née Bacon), BScN’75, recently published her book, Could it Really be Something They Ate? (Balboa Press, 2011), which addresses food sensitivities in children. The book aims to educate people about how a simple change in a child’s diet can often eliminate a multitude of troubling symptoms, and also guide parents in making changes in the midst of their busy lives. As a registered nurse in both pediatric oncology and neonatal intensive care, Margaret has worked with hundreds of families over the last 25 years, supporting them through food and health-related challenges. Margaret’s business, Dynamic Choices Family Wellness, was established to help families find solutions to the physical and behavioural challenges of their children. Margaret lives in Vancouver with her four children, three grand-children, and husband, Ken. More information is available at www.foodsensitivechildren.com.

Each year, The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation appoints up to 10 Mentors for its mentorship program. The program seeks to forge intellectual and personal bonds between renowned Canadians with extensive experience in public life, and young, talented PhD students. This year two UBC alumni are amongst the 10 appointed Mentors: involved in Aboriginal and environmental issues, Paul Kariya, BA’75, MA, PhD, is currently the executive director of the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia and was previously the executive director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the CEO of Fisheries Renewal BC, and the executive director of the BC  Treaty Commission. And Cindy Blackstock, BA’88, PhD, a member of the Gitksan Nation in BC, has worked in the field of child and family services for more than 20 years, is the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and an associate professor at the University of Alberta.

On February 9, 2012, Larry Beasley, MA’76, was recognized for his contributions to the Vancouver design community and awarded the Interior Designers of Canada and International Interior Design Association Leadership Award of Excellence. He is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, an honorary member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and has been recognized as an “Advocate for Architecture” by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. In 2004, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada for his leadership role in reshaping Vancouver’s downtown core into a vibrant, urban community, known as the “Vancouver Model.”


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