Nathan Bragg (right) takes a photo with actor, RJ Mitte (left) at Carleton University’s Disability Awareness Centre. The two met at an event highlighting inclusion and diversity.
Attending journalism school can be an expensive proposition, especially if you live with cerebral palsy and need five years to complete the program while immersing yourself in extra-curricular student life to advance your goals.
For Nathan Bragg, the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC (CBABC) Tanabe Bursary helped ease the burden. The four-time recipient explains, “It made it a lot easier and helped me in achieving my education goal,”. The Tanabe bursary is valued at $1,000, providing students living with cerebral palsy the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education.
Twenty-three year-old Nathan lives with spastic diaplegic, a type of cerebral palsy affecting the lower part of his body. Nathan achieved high school honours with a 92 percent average in his senior year at Maple Ridge Secondary. At Carleton University, he studied print, broadcasting, multimedia and online journalism, giving him an appreciation for all facets of journalism. It opened his eyes to more practical aspects of the discipline, such as the theory behind communications, the intricate workings of social marketing, and the approach the media takes to covering a story.
At university, he worked in various roles at the school newspaper, but his passion was sports. His main highlight was working at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto 2015, where he worked from early afternoon to late at night covering wheelchair rugby. The president of the wheelchair rugby federation saw his sports columns on his blog and website as well as noticed his enthusiasm for the sport and offered him the position. Way to go, Nathan!
Having support systems
Throughout his educational endeavours, “my mom has been supportive and helped me push me to achieve my goals,” he says. He also received support from his friends and Journalism professor Randy Boswell. Being assimilated into university life helped Bragg’s development, making him more independent and teaching him life lessons such as time management and preparing meals.
Nathan reports that Carlton University is very accessible and disability-friendly, with many students with disabilities. The attendant program was made available to his roommate who lives with cp and showed him the other challenges faced by someone living with the same condition.
Although his passion is sports, Nathan’s goals have switched. “External funding has helped ease the debt and has helped me since the burden to find jobs for new graduates and young professionals is quite stressful in a job market like Vancouver.”
He would like to get involved in adapted sports and take on something in an administrative, marketing, or communications role. CPABC wishes Nathan the best in pursuing the field of his dreams and securing permanent employment in communications in the sports, and adapted recreation field.
Find out if you can become a recipient of the Tanabe Bursary