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Our Northern Lights: Mark (Steve) Tullao

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Our Northern Lights is an initiative that illuminates our people, their stories, and celebrates their achievements. We hope that their journey will inspire others to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world.

Mark (Steve) Tullao made a significant career shift from being an ER nurse in the Philippines to becoming an international student in Dawson Creek, prompted by his sister’s invitation to join her near Chetwynd, BC.

“My sister was the one who wanted me to go to Canada because she was already living here with her family and with her beautiful kid. I also have family back in the Philippines, so hopefully they will be joining us as well.”

Rather than relying on traditional avenues to become an international student, Steve opted for a more self-directed approach, navigating immigration processes through online resources like YouTube tutorials. This go-getting approach aligns with Steve’s drive to meet his goals in Canada.

“Since I started as an international student, I have had this kind of vision board. I wrote some of my goals here in Canada, and most of them are already ticked. One of those is being an RN here in Canada. One of those was to become a permanent resident. I think I still have like three left.  I need to become a citizen as well.”

Armed with a post-degree diploma in health administration from Northern Lights College, Steve now applies his expertise as a human resources assistant with Northern Health. He also recently completed his NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) and is a registered nurse in Alberta and is exploring options to become registered in BC.

Since I started as an international student, I have had this kind of vision board. I wrote some of my goals here in Canada, and most of them are already ticked.

Throughout his studies, Steve was actively involved in the NLC community, serving as a student representative on both the NLC Student Council and the Board of Governors.

Reflecting on his journey, Steve emphasizes the importance of finding community and enjoying the learning process as an international student. His advice to newcomers is simple: embrace the journey, build meaningful connections, and strive for personal growth alongside fellow students.

“I would say just enjoy the journey being a student. Being a person learning is a continuous process, so you just have to enjoy and find a tribe where all of you have the same goal to reach your fullest potential.”

To learn more about Steve, read on:

What is your first NLC Memory??

Online class was one of my first memories as I started my program during the height of COVID-19.

What three words describe your NLC experience?

Student-centered. Inclusive. Multicultural.

What would you tell another student if they were thinking of coming to NLC?

I want them to enjoy the academic journey and select their tribe to help them trek the terrain of the learning process.

What is your superpower? Everyone has one!

Influencing my classmates/friends to do better!

If you could go back to your first week of classes and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Don’t rush, just enjoy the academic journey.