Vaksan is a graduate of Pathways Scarborough Village, class of 2020. He is currently in his last year at Queen’s University and works at Northbridge as a premium accountant. During his spare time, he’s a math tutor at the same Pathways Program location he graduated from.

Vaksan had been a numbers person for as long as he could remember. Math was one of his favourite subjects in high school. “I’ve always loved math and anything to do with problem-solving. I was that go-to person whenever people had math-related questions.” He also volunteered as a math tutor for other students, earning over 1,000 volunteer hours during his time at high school.

With that in mind, Vaksan was interested in pursuing a career in the business and finance fields. While he had an idea of what he wanted to do, he was still figuring out the steps to get there. That’s where the Pathways Program comes in. Pathways staff had organized a trip to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, for students to learn more about the school and the programs offered and to get an insight into campus life. “I originally had another university in mind, but after touring Queen’s University campus and learning about their Commerce program, I was completely sold,” Vaksan explains. He also met with former Scarborough Village alumni who attended Queen’s, which helped him picture himself at the school.

Even after deciding on a school, Vaksan faced a few obstacles along the way. Navigating the application process was challenging, particularly when it came to applying for financial aid. Once again, Pathways was there to help. Vaksan attended workshops focused on applying to post-secondary and finding available financial aid, and thanks to this support, he was the recipient of multiple scholarships. “If I didn’t have access to these supports, I would have felt very lost. I am forever thankful to my support worker for his guidance and encouragement.” Vaksan is now set to complete his final year at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business and graduate with a Bachelor’s in Commerce.

Although it’s been a few years since Vaksan graduated from high school, Vaksan stayed connected with the Pathways Alumni Network by subscribing to their monthly newsletter. It was through that newsletter that he learned about an exclusive internship opportunity for Pathways alumni at Northbridge Financial. Vaksan applied immediately, met with the hiring team at Northbridge, and aced his interview. Before he knew it, he was hired. What started as a summer internship turned into an extended full-time position due to his strong work ethic and positive feedback from his colleagues at Northbridge.

Today, Vaksan works at Northbridge as a Premium Accountant, where his role primarily revolves around reporting and reconciliation. “Northbridge holds a special place for me as the first firm that welcomed me, fostering a sense of loyalty and community. I value their commitment to professional growth, open communication, and a friendly atmosphere.”  Vaksan credits much of his professional success to the skills he learned at Pathways, whether it was teamwork through sports-related programming with his peers or leadership skills from being a peer math tutor at Pathways Scarborough Village.

His experience in the program also taught him the importance of community and giving back. “Being in the Pathways Program, I was surrounded by people of diverse backgrounds and cultures, and we always looked out for one another. I look forward to giving back to my community and making an impact. Just like what Pathways did for me.” With two younger sisters currently in the Pathways Program, his hope is for them and future Pathways students to get involved in their community. “Go out and meet new people, join clubs, or learn a new skill. It is never too late to start!