Signs of courage

Posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Carole Beaudry

By Valérie Charbonneau

Angiosperm wood anatomy, Campylobacter jejuni, pathogenic bacteria… Pretty complicated terms for your average person. But everyday stuff for Carole Beaudry. The proud science student is graduating along with 1,800 others, most of whom will be at Convocation October 25. But how did she get there? You’re in for a surprise.

At birth Beaudry was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss. Over the years, her hearing worsened and she became deaf.   

In 2008, Beaudry began a degree in health sciences, but quickly switched to biology, developing a particular interest in micro-organisms and agriculture. To take in all the information from her professors and participate in group discussions, she used two interpreters.

“They would translate the language spoken to sign language, my mother tongue,” she explains. “As I only know Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) and I’ve taken many courses in English, my interpreters had to work with three languages, from English to French to LSQ, and vice versa.”

A painstaking process

Here’s how it worked: English to French, then French to LSQ, and LSQ to French, then French to English, a dual interpretation process.

“I was entitled to two interpreters, because dual interpretation is extremely draining. They took turns, changing every 20 minutes,” says Beaudry.

In 2012, Beaudry registered for the CO-OP program and completed several placements, including one abroad.

“I went working at the University of Ulm, Germany, as a laboratory research assistant in botany and ecology. My research was on the angiosperm wood anatomy and hydraulic parameters of water transporting cells in plants.”

In 2013, she worked for the Public Health Agency of Canada, in Lethbridge, Alberta, as a molecular research technician. In 2014, she completed a CO-OP placement at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in Ottawa, in the same role.

In 2014, Beaudry headed off to Tanzania for a 19-day course on ecosystems and socio-economic trends in that country.

“The Tanzanian economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism,” she says. “It’s a problem for those who rely on agriculture because they’re all competing for arable land.”

From 2011 to 2015, Beaudry worked in the National Capital Region, with livestock and hydroponics farming.

“I monitored animal health and observed behaviour changes to prevent loss. I kept watch on pregnant goats that were due, ensuring there were no complications. I performed grafting in order for orphaned kids (goats) to be accepted by their foster mothers.”

Courage and achievement don’t always go hand in hand, but for Beaudry they seem to.  When she began her studies, she spoke little English. But after extensive reading, several university courses and lots of practice, she’s added the language to her repertoire, making her a trilingual (English/French/LSQ) biology grad!

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