Roberta Taylor Scholarship

Roberta Taylor was a commercial pilot and flight instructor for 17 years flying in northern Ontario and BC where she developed relationships with Indigenous peoples who served as clients and co-workers.  After a serious car accident ended her successful aviation career, she focused her pioneering spirit on education, the environment and equity issues. In recognition of her early flight path, Taylor was the 2011 recipient of the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award, named to recognize a Canadian woman’s contribution to the aviation or aerospace industry and to society as a whole.

Taylor received her BSW and MSW from the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria. As an instructor she was a faculty teaching award recipient and a sought after counselor and community researcher.  Her master’s thesis “No Pilot on Board: Just a Woman” highlighted the difficulties for women in a male-dominated industry. Her numerous contributions to supporting and mentoring women complement her commitment to social justice and educating future social workers everywhere using innovative distance education courses.

As a long-time board member of the former Dallas Society, Taylor provided leadership and a strong voice in the Greater Victoria community on the need for research and services related to substance use and its impacts.  She continued this work as a member of the Victoria Hope Society, a non-profit society dedicated to continuing the mission of the Dallas Society by providing community grants in support of local projects that address issues of addiction, substance use, and gambling.

Taylor was also a tireless campaigner for a clean environment and worked in the community to have the Victoria Harbour remain available for recreational use for her fellow kayakers and paddlers as well as for the many float planes which daily land in the Harbour.  She helped focus attention on the potential impacts of a proposed mega-yacht marina development and on the decision making process undertaken by the federal government. She was motivated by her grandchildren to ensure that she did her part to leave them a world that is sustainable. Roberta carried out her commitment to social justice and change by focusing on a career path as an educator in instructing future social workers in B.C.  Her many students over the years have benefited from her knowledge and skill as a teacher.   Her students are a great legacy to her work and commitment as is this named scholarship which will benefit students in the School of Social Work in perpetuity.

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