Governor General Silver Medalist: Scott Wilson

Lisa Weighton

Scott Wilson entered the Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies program certain that he was headed toward a career in social work.

Having previously worked at the Victoria Cool Aid Society, a supportive housing charity, Wilson says he was inspired to upgrade his education.

“Working with those who face a lot of challenges really got me wanting to advocate for clients and have more options for what I could do in the social justice and social work fields,” he says.

The Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies at Royal Roads seemed like a great fit—there are research and internship opportunities, a course in alternative dispute resolution, guest speakers and opportunities to showcase research projects, he says.

But his practicum with the Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team (VICOR), a multidisciplinary support team for people dealing with mental illness and or substance use, triggered a change of perspective.

“Somebody said to me, ‘if you’re a frontline social worker, you’re at the part of the river that meets the ocean—pulling drowning people out of the water. But you also need to send people up the river to find out why people are getting dumped into the river in the first place,’” he recalls.

Wilson says the upstream approach, along with support from his professors and practicum supervisor, sparked a personal interest and desire he wasn’t previously aware of.

He learned that while he enjoys working with people, he also has a talent for advocacy and writing, which lends itself well to a career in policy development work.

He’s decided to pursue a Master of Public Administration to support policy decisions that will help keep people from falling in the river in the first place.

Assoc. Prof. Kathleen Manion, Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies program head, says she has no doubt Wilson has a bright future ahead of him. 

In addition to his high academic standing (which happens to be a 4.26 GPA out of a possible 4.33), Manion says Wilson is a dedicated student and skilled communicator.

“He brought a level of maturity to class and a depth of analysis,” she says. “He’s really good at bringing people in to conversation and ensuring that a diverse range of voices were heard,” she says.

Wilson will receive the Governor General’s Silver Medal at the Nov. 8 Fall Convocation ceremony. The award recognizes the graduating student with the highest overall GPA from a bachelor’s degree program each year. He will also be presented with the Chancellor’s Award and the President’s Scholar Award.