Edmonton mom overcomes the odds to graduate from two programs at once
Jaenelle Cardinal’s dream is to open her own construction business and mentor young aboriginal women.
“I’d like to give them a feel for the industry, to see if it’s for them,” says Cardinal, a 33-year-old mother of two girls, ages five and 12.
But for now, Cardinal is savouring her moment. The Edmonton woman graduates this week from NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business with a diploma in business administration – management, and expects to complete her Carpenter journeyman’s certificate before summer. As a result, she will cross the stage at convocation twice on Saturday (once in the morning and once in the afternoon) – with the both schools of business and trades.
It was just a few years ago that Cardinal nearly had to give up her dream of getting her ticket.
Cardinal initially wanted to be a nurse, but ended up with a temporary job on a construction site in 2007, fell in love with the trade “and never left.” She came to NAIT in 2010 as a Carpenter apprentice, and had just completed her third year when she was involved in a motor vehicle collision as a pedestrian that sent her to hospital for a week.
“It could have been a lot worse,” she says. “I could have been dead.”
Wanting to combine her carpenter’s experience with a formal business education, Cardinal enrolled in the JR Shaw School of Business while she recovered. Now physically up to the task, she returns to NAIT in May for another eight weeks to finish her Carpenter ticket. Eventually, she wants to complete the Bachelor of Business Administration program, and go into business for herself.
At NAIT, Cardinal has mentored aboriginal students and promoted the trades to women through her involvement with NAIT Women in Technology and Trades. As the longest-serving student ambassador in the polytechnic’s Prospective Aboriginal Youth program (run through the NAIT Encana Aboriginal Student Centre on Main Campus), she is often called upon to speak to aboriginal high school students about the benefits of a NAIT education. Cardinal also won seven academic scholarships.
NAIT's 2015 Convocation will be held on Friday, May 1 (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday, May 2 (8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) at The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 11455 - 87 Ave.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Cardinal will cross the stage at the Saturday morning and afternoon convocation ceremonies. Please call NAIT Media Relations in advance if you plan to attend. Cardinal is also available for interviews prior to convocation.
Visit NAIT’s Flickr page (www.flickr.com/nait) to download a photo of Cardinal suitable for publication.
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With more than 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.