Darlene and Amanda Hebert

Spring Convocation: Hébert Family Study Together, Graduate Together

By Susan Hickman

When Amanda Hébert enrolled in Carleton University’s Faculty of Engineering and Design, her mother Darlene was already working on campus and deciding to pursue her own degree.

Now, as both graduate—Amanda with a degree in Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering and Darlene with a BA in History—Amanda has found an even bigger family in the engineering community.

“I have found lifelong friends through my volunteering with the groups I got involved with,” says Amanda, who joined National Engineering Week, Women in Science and Engineering, the Carleton Student Engineering Society and Engfrosh.

Amanda’s interest in engineering began in Grade 7 when she attended Carleton’s Go Eng Girl event and witnessed students using technical knowledge to make a difference in the medical world. “I knew right then I wanted to be a biomedical engineer.”

Darlene, who started working for Carleton in 1990 and is currently a departmental administrator for Systems and Computer Engineering, signed up for the Management Development Program for Women in 2009, which gave her the confidence to pursue a degree.

“I wanted to show my kids that education was important,” says Darlene, whose children had just entered grades 7 and 9, “and that it was never too late to make it a priority.”

Darlene and two colleagues congregated on Saturdays to study in the Cumberland Library. As Amanda grew older, she joined them.

“Taking this degree has brought me closer to my daughter,” says Darlene. “Our Saturday morning study sessions have become treasured memories.”

Adds Amanda, “Mom is my best friend. She carried me through this degree, doling out snacks, hugs, advice and pep talks. I am so grateful we got to go through this experience together.”

While Amanda will now try to find a position in the industry, her mother is already planning to complete her honours degree and perhaps even pursue a master’s.

Carleton University will graduate about 3,580 students and confer 13 honorary degrees during ceremonies taking place from June 13 to June 16, 2017.  Carleton, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, has grown from a small college in 1942 to a leading post-secondary institution today, one that has provided a unique educational experience to 140,000 graduates.