Emma Talbott is embarking on a thesis that will identify the rate of student retention in the Okanagan Valley.

Emma Talbott is embarking on a thesis that will identify the rate of student retention in the Okanagan Valley.

Student retention surveyed

While it is no secret that the Okanagan is a magnet for retirees, an unexplored issue is where the future lies for the younger generation, particularly university graduates.

While it is no secret that the Okanagan is a magnet for retirees, an unexplored issue is where the future lies for the younger generation, particularly university graduates.

Do they stay after finishing their post-secondary schooling? Can they find work related to their studies? How many graduate and move on to seek employment?

These are a few of the questions Emma Talbott hopes to answer.

The UBC Okanagan campus graduate student, who is pursuing a master’s degree in interdisciplinary graduate studies, is embarking on a thesis that will identify the rate of student retention in the valley.

“‘When I graduate, I have to leave the city,’ is what a lot of (my classmates) tell me,” said Talbott.

“I want to find out if they actually left. I suspect more people are sticking around, but not necessarily in their field of education.”

Talbott has sent questionnaires to recent graduates and alumni to find out where they are and what they are doing.

Talbot, who graduated in 2010, wants to explore who stayed, who left and whether those who remained found work in their area of study, or took alternate employment to stay in the Okanagan.

Talbott is working with Carlos Teixeira, an associate professor of human geography in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC Okanagan.

“We will know for the first time what their feelings are,” said Teixeira.

“Why did they leave the valley, why did they stay? We have to do research in order to understand the challenges.

We need to look forward. We need to start discussing (challenges) now,” said Teixeira.