Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Multi-talented Millennial

Frances Harding
Published April 23, 2009

Michael Mason is a top-notch Nursing student who is giving back to his community in a myriad of ways.

He coaches high school volleyball.  He sings with the Lakehead University Vocal Ensemble and Opera Studio.  He designs health education workshops with Anishawbe Mushkiki.  And he volunteers with the Lutheran Community Care Street Reach Ministry on Simpson Street in Thunder Bay.

Mason was the recipient of a Millennium National In-Course Award in 2008 and will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) in May 2009.  As a Millennium scholar, he was given the opportunity to secure a $2,500 Millennium Grant for a community development project of his choice.  Not surprisingly, he was successful and chose to direct the funds to enable the Street Reach Ministry to run important, life-changing programs.

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Michael Mason studied first at Queen's University where he earned a place on the Men's Varsity Volleyball team and the ranking "Academic All-Canadian."  After graduating in 2006, he enrolled in the Nursing program at Lakehead University, opting for the Three-Year Compressed program so he could complete a four-year BScN degree in three years.  Along the way, he stayed at the top of his class and picked up numerous awards and scholarships including the Olga Merz Memorial Scholarship in Nursing and the St. Joseph's Care Group Nurses Award.

"The Nursing Program at Lakehead is unique," says Mason "About 18% of nursing students at Lakehead are male, one of the highest percentages in the country.  The Program reflects the environment of the North, and advocates the practice of nursing in a culturally sensitive way.  As well, it teaches you the theory of nursing in addition to the clinical skills.  You really get a chance to develop your critical thinking skills.

"At the Street Reach Ministry, I have been able to help people who live on the streets to get their lives back together.  Through my counseling I have helped one man to get over a drug addiction, another to make contact with lost relatives, and another to seek medical care, as well as countless other positive experiences.  I also play guitar and sing at the Centre one day a week, in an attempt to use music as therapy.

"I understand that there are great needs in Northwestern Ontario, and have focused my involvement on serving impoverished people and the Aboriginal community.  My ultimate goal is to remove inequities and provide hope for the future."

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