Hello, my name is Nicole Stewart. I was born and raised on the beautiful Island of Trinidad and Tobago, known as the land of Carnival, Soca music, and steelpan. Growing up on the Island, education has always been the core of my life. I have always loved school and learning. I remember being sick and attending school because I was always determined not to miss a day. I aim to be at the top of the class, and my dad would reward me for being the top student.
At the age of 20, I moved to Canada (Toronto) alone because I couldn’t find a job in my home country. Moving to Canada was both exciting and nerve-wracking. I was arriving in a new country alone, not knowing what to expect or having any plans.
I completed my General Arts and Sciences Certificate as a pre-requisite for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSCN). One and a half years into my BSCN, I had to make the tough choice to stop my education. I then enrolled and completed my Registered Practical Nursing Diploma (RPN). I was hired right after graduation and found gratification in working as a Palliative Care Nurse.
I moved to Edmonton in December 2012. I worked at a Vein Clinic for three years. On January 16th, 2016, I started working as an Instructional Assistant at Norquest College. I quickly found a similar gratification in teaching students in labs as I did working as a floor nurse. Seeing the student’s faces light up when they understood the concepts I was teaching made my heart warm and put a smile on my face.
I then reflected on myself and my choice of career. My dream job was to become a lawyer and later a judge. But, when I moved to Canada, I realized I needed a job that would always need me. Thinking back to my childhood, at age 7, I walked around my neighborhood and offered math and spelling lessons to the younger kids, and I charged their parents .50c per hour.
I smiled, thinking of my current job and how I started teaching at age 7, now teaching is my reality and dream job. As an instructional assistant, I was honored and privileged to meet and work with students daily. I also wanted to grow professionally.
I enrolled at MacEwan University to pursue my Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Administration. Six months after graduating from MacEwan University, I pursued my Master of Arts in Higher Education and Leadership at Royal Roads University. I was also transitioned into an Instructor/Faculty role at Norquest College, followed by becoming an academic advisor for Practical Nursing students. I am a lifelong learner. All my life, I have been told, “Education is knowledge; knowledge is power because no one can ever take away your knowledge.”
My biggest motivation is my three humans, Bethany, Gabriella, and Elijah. My children are my most significant accomplishments and continue to teach me things about life from their eyes and even new things about myself. I strive to be the best role model for my children and to show them that hard work, kindness, love, empathy, and a positive attitude should be part of their daily lives in school, work, or play.
In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and baking. My children love the dishes from my home country. One of my favorite dishes I cook for my children is paratha/roti, curried chicken, curried chickpeas, and potatoes. Other appetizers are called doubles and Phou lourie, which make me feel close to my home, and the food always brings a smile to our faces.
My hobbies are dancing, singing, and listening to music, mainly reggae, rhythm and blues, and soca music. I love reading and going to Zumba classes. Every Summer, my kids and I drive to Lake Louise because I love the mountains and the serenity of nature.
I respectfully acknowledge that I am a settler who resides, works, and plays on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people.