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Leading in Love at NSCC

Isabella and Jake Graves on a walk in the forest with their daughters, Adelaide and Celeste.
NSCC grads and former student leaders, Isabella and Jake Graves, spend a lot time doing family activities.

Isabella Graves (ECE '17 & Applied Communication Arts '09) had already bought a plane ticket for a six-month teaching job in Beijing when she first met her now-husband, Jake Graves (Therapeutic Recreation '17). It was during their long-distance relationship that they decided to go back to school together.

“While I was in China, Jake was talking about wanting to take a program,” says Isabella. “I was like ‘oh, I think I want to take this program and they're both at NSCC.’”

The same year that Isabella came back to Nova Scotia, they enrolled at Marconi Campus together and made the move to Sydney from Halifax.

Isabella and Jake Graves at a campus event promoting the Student Association.
Isabella and Jake Graves promoting the Student Association at Marconi Campus.

Shared passion

In addition to their studies, they both found themselves interested in student leadership. They joined their campus Student Association, and both pursued executive roles. Isabella also sat on NSCC’s Board of Governors as the provincial student representative.

“I got involved with the Student Association and truly fell in love with it. The whole aspect of being able to help other students was really meaningful to me,” says Isabella.

“We knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we played to them and helped one another get things done,” adds Jake. “I guess you could say we make a pretty great team.”

Some student initiatives they created include the “Healthy and Ally Safe Space” program and the “Hungry Games” tournament, which won two Student Life Appreciation Awards; Program of the Year and Event of the Year.

From convocation to honeymoon

In the summer before their final year, Jake proposed to Isabella.

“We drove back up for convocation on June 16th, 2017, and then we hopped on a plane to Iceland on June 20th, so it was immediately after graduation we started traveling and we were gone for a month,” says Isabella.

They travelled to six countries before landing in England – where they officially tied the knot.

Returning to NSCC as staff

Landing back in Halifax, Isabella and Jake started to grow their careers and family. In 2018, they welcomed their first daughter Adelaide and their second daughter Celeste was born three years later.

While working different jobs, Jake has pursued his passion for music as the guitarist and back-up vocalist in the band SHELLEY. Isabella has held various positions within her field and ran a home daycare for three years before landing a job with NSCC in 2022.

“I credit NSCC with a lot of my success and it feels like I've really come full circle now that I'm working here” says Isabella, the College’s newest Student Life Assistant.

Now on the other side of student leadership, Isabella supports Student Associations across Northeastern Nova Scotia, including Marconi Campus. They plan to take a family trip to Cape Breton this summer and visit the place very dear to their relationship, Marconi Campus.