Jennifer Peters: Shattering Glass Ceilings


  • First female president of the Nigerian Students Association (NSA) at the University of Alberta
  • Youngest ever and first undergraduate president of the graduate students-dominated NSA
  • Volunteers with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area
  • Volunteers with the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
  • A University of Alberta ambassador

Jennifer Peters - NIGERIA

The history of the Nigerian Students Association (NSA) at the University of Alberta, Canada had, understandably, been dominated by male graduate students: few female students  joined and participated actively in the affairs of the association.

To involve more female students in the affairs of the NSA, successive male presidents and executive committee members canvassed female Nigerian students at the University.

One of the female students approached was Jennifer Peters, a physiology and developmental biology student of the University. Not only did she join the NSA but, at age 20, Jennifer shattered the glass ceiling by emerging the first female and undergraduate president of the NSA. Effectively becoming its youngest president yet!

At the NSA's fourth inauguration dinner, Jennifer was inaugurated as its first female president in the presence of a large gathering of guests made up, largely, of students of the University and African professionals based in Edmonton and Calgary.

In attendance were also Jennifer's proud parents and grandmother.

Growing Up

Jennifer's young life has witnessed wonderful experiences across three continents: Africa, Asia and North America. Although she was born in Nigeria, Africa, Jennifer's family relocated to Brunei in southeast Asia when she was a kid. She fondly remembers celebrating her 4th birthday anniversary by a swimming pool in the oil-rich kingdom!

Christmas mornings in Brunei were always unforgettable experiences for Jennifer and her sisters, Vanessa and Stepahnie, as their parents always showered them with loads of gifts! The family would later move to Dukham, a small city in Qatar, where the kids had limitless freedom to explore their new environment. 

To Jennifer "memories such as these are the kind that as you look back on them as an adult, you realize how easy and enjoyable your parents tried to make your life, how much they went out of their way for you. It is memories such as these that make you appreciate, love, respect, understand and want to emulate your parents."

Life in Canada

The Peters chose to relocate to Canada because of the benefits the country offers their three daughters. However, Jennifer's early experiences in Canada fell short of her expectation. She recalls being bullied by other children at school and having to turn to her family home as a safe haven.

Canada, however, is now her home although she considers Brunei and other places she had lived in before her arrival in Canada as "homes away from home." Jennifer, in fact, considers it "a blessing to have the opportunity to live in a country such as Canada."

Jennifer enjoys working with children as she spends quality time mentoring them: "I always try to let them know that their dreams are valid, no matter where they come from (Lupita N'yongo said it best), and that they can anything they want with hard work and determination. I also do my part to the best of my ability to help them achieve those goals (homework help etc.)."

Jennifer's activism extends to breaking stereotypes as she believes that "people are capable regardless of gender or age and that they should not be told otherwise." 

Jennifer and the Vice-President of NSA, Jo-Ann Fasegha

Unveiling Jennifer

African of note: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Role model: Charles and Enny Peters, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jesus.

Favourite movie: "The Prince & Me" and "Austenland"

Favourite quote: Drake's YOLO (you only live once) and Muhammed Ali's "Don't count the days, make the days count."

Favourite summer spot: downtown Calgary

Favourite TV program: "Property Brothers", "Income Property" and "Princess"


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Student Image: 
Jennifer Peters.
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