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Young alumna helping Syrian refugees immigrate to Canada

Author: Young Alumni

Posted on Feb 11, 2016

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John , Inspiring Stories , Young Alumni

Sheena Teed (BA'06, BN'13) 

Two-time UNB young alumna, navy Lieutenant Sheena Teed (BA ’06, BN ’13), has taken her nursing degree across the globe to Beirut, Lebanon. As a Nursing Officer for the Canadian Armed Forces, navy Lt. Teed oversees the lab section of an immigration medical exam clinic, which processes tests for Syrian refugees immigrating to Canada.

Patients entering the clinic receive blood and urine testing, and undergo behavior analysis as part of the immigration process.The clinic sees between 150-250 people per day.

As her first international deployment,  Teed has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the country and experiencing the culture, but she says the biggest challenge has been hearing the Syrian's stories of struggle as they come through the clinic.

“We’ve had people come in who have had their houses blown up or who have lost family members in the war,” says Teed.

“Many of them speak very minimal English or French, so it can be hard to communicate, but we have quite a few interpreters with us that have been an excellent contribution to the mission.”

Teed arrived in Beirut on November 30 along with approximately 200 other Canadian Armed Forces staff working in Lebanon and Jordan.

“The most rewarding part has been knowing that the Syrian refugees will hopefully have a better life in store,” she says. "I really hope people will welcome the refugees and have some faith in the system."

Teed joined the reserves as a Maritime Surface Officer in 2003, while working on her Bachelor of Arts at UNB. In 2010, she sparked an interest in joining the Regular Forces as a nursing officer, leading her back to UNB for a Bachelor of Nursing. 

Lieutenant (Navy) Teed and Captain Michelle Mills, Joint Task Force Forward nurses, review a Syrian refugee’s medical file during the medical screening portion of the Government of Canada’s Operation PROVISION in Beirut, Lebanon on December 9, 2015. Photo: Corporal Darcy Lefebvre, Canadian Forces Combat Camera. IS10-2015-0036-07 ~ La lieutenant de vaisseau Teed et la capitaine Michelle Mills, infirmières de la Force opérationnelle interarmées avancée, examinent le dossier médical d’un réfugié syrien lors de l’évaluation médicale effectuée dans le cadre de l’opération PROVISION menée par le gouvernement du Canada, à Beyrouth, au Liban, le 9 décembre 2015. Photo : Caporal Darcy Lefebvre, Caméra de combat des Forces canadiennes IS10-2015-0036-07 

"Almost my whole family has graduated from UNB, so it  has definitely had a big impact on our lives and it provided me with the nursing skills I needed to work in the military."

Not only does Teed belong to a family of proud UNB'ers, she has also followed a family history in military service. Her father, who similarly joined the reserves while he was a student, told Teed numerous stories about his time in the military and encouraged her to follow in his footsteps.

“For me this has been a really great transition, partly because I get to help so many people, but also because, for me, there’s a bit of family history in helping people," she explains.

"My grandfather was an advocate for multiculturalism, human rights and civil liberties, so in some ways it feels like I’m carrying on his work and my father's"