Enhancing diversity on the Agricultural Campus

Grad profile: Owen Johnstone, Faculty of Agriculture

- May 8, 2015

Owen Johnstone. (Nick Pearce photo)
Owen Johnstone. (Nick Pearce photo)

“It felt as if I were picking up from where I left off in an old dream,” Owen Johnstone says of his studies at the Faculty of Agriculture.

Originally from Fall River, N.S., Owen is graduating with a Diploma in Technology: Veterinary Technology. “I had always wanted to be a veterinarian ever since I was a kid,” says Owen, who grew up reading novels by veterinary surgeon, James Herriot.

His career path branched into a different area of veterinary medicine when he discovered Dal’s Vet Tech program, which he calls, “the answer I had been looking for.”

Owen became president of the Vet Tech Society where he promotes a strong community within the veterinary technology program. In addition to the Vet Tech Society, Owen was also president of DalOUT Truro, an organization for LGBTQ students and their allies.

An active volunteer within the LGBTQ community, Mr. Johnstone had reservations about living as openly gay in the small town of Truro. He saw DalOUT as an opportunity to help make a difference.

“DalOUT started with making posters and finding a place to meet,” he says. “At first it was just my friends and I, but gradually more students started attending.”

DalOUT is a safe space for students to meet and make friends. Last year, the group received the Club/Organization Award at the 2014 Agricultural Campus Impact Awards. This year he received Dalhousie’s prestigious Board of Governors Award for his involvement with DalOUT and the Vet Tech Society, as well as the Outstanding Tutor Award, at the 2015 Impact Awards.

Owen is confident that DalOUT will continue to flourish after he graduates, providing a safe space for all students while also encouraging and enhancing diversity on campus.

This article is part of our series of profiles on the graduates of the Class of 2015. These profiles are also published in the Convocation Keepsake which is distributed at Convocation ceremonies. For more information (including live webcasts), visit the Convocation website.


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