Dec. 30, 2019

Top student stories of 2019

Student accomplishment and research excellence

Over the course of 2019, UCalgary News brought you dozens of stories about remarkable students who hit incredible achievements, others who overcame adversity to excel academically, and some who came together to support each other in the face of tragedy.

In case you missed them or in case you`d like to read them again, here are the top 10 most-read student stories of 2019.

Two women earn Rhodes Scholars distinction

Two students from the university’s Scholars Academy are heading to the University of Oxford as Rhodes Scholars. Manpreet Deol, fourth-year Schulich School of Engineering student, and Emily Boucher, first-year Cumming School of Medicine student, are the 17th and 18th UCalgary scholars to become Rhodes Scholars, joining the prestigious international scholarship program. They secured two of the three spots for students from the prairies and will join nine other Canadian scholars at the University of Oxford next fall.

And during her time at Schulich, Manpreet Deol also chocked up other accomplishments: She received an $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship, conducted research in southern Germany and Shanghai, created her own startup, and as part of a team of engineering and business students, she won the premiere prize at the Engineering and Commerce Case Competition.

iGEM team helps canola farmers and sets a Canadian record 

A team of undergrads set out to help Canadian canola farmers solve a costly headache: reversing the seed-spoiling chlorophyll problem caused by frost in the fall. Their breakthrough solution presented at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) jamboree in Boston earned them the strongest finish of any Canadian team in the history of the competition. With 14 team members and four supervisors, the UCalgary iGEM team included undergrad students from Cumming School of Medicine, Faculty of Science and Schulich School of Engineering.

We heart Dinos football

The Dinos football squad captured their fifth Vanier Cup championship in program history with a solid 27-13 win over the Montreal Carabins. Long the underdog, the Dinos last took the national championship in 1995 (they also won in 1983, 1985 and 1988). The team made it to the 2013 and 2016 finals, but lost both years to the Laval Rouge et Or. Sweet victory on a couple of fronts, then, when the Dinos captured the Vanier title at Laval’s home stadium. Read about the game.

Former grad students share wisdom and career tips

Three former grad students from UCalgary shared how they handled the sometimes very stressful transition from school to the workplace. All three — Kavan Motazedi and Luis Virla, PhDs in chemical and petroleum engineering, and Sabine Scandola, a PhD in biological sciences — are working in fields related to their research. And all three wish they had started their job search sooner.

Entrepreneurs tackle emergency department wait times

In an inspiring example of the university’s innovation ecosystem at work, a group of medical student entrepreneurs came up with award-winning software to answer the question: Can you design a new tool to help improve emergency department wait times? The four students Julia St. Amand, Sonia Martins, Mariam Keshavjee and Abdullah Sarhan didn’t know each other before participating in Innovation 4 Health’s student-run Health Hack competition. The software was designed to help emergency department managers by tracking clinical and operational data in real-time on smartphones or tablets.

Undergrads initiate Week of Kindness legacy to fallen student

After Michael Brendan Fischer-Summers’ death by suicide, his classmates in the drama division of UCalgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts decided to create a positive and lasting legacy in the young actor’s memory. The Drama Undergraduate Society started a Week of Kindness with a “compliment board” where students could leave encouraging messages for fellow students and faculty. The drama students also gave out free coffees on campus and supported a homeless shelter.

Those amazing President's Award winners

The never fail to inspire. Their record of academic achievement, leadership and contributions to our community are exemplary. The recipients of the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership for June 2019 included Rahul Arora: Bachelor of Health Sciences, Honours (First Class);  Kristen Barton: Doctor of Philosophy, Medical Sciences and Doctor of Medicine; Anis Ben Arfi: Doctor of Philosophy, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Laura Fader: Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering; and Tingting Yan: Bachelor of Health Sciences, Honours (First Class).

Schulich Leaders from Red Deer, Canmore

The University of Calgary welcomed two more Schulich Leaders. Allison Guthrie is a recipient of the $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of École Secondaire Notre Dame High School in Red Deer, Guthrie is enrolled in the Faculty of Science. Elian Dupre Sarmiento is a recipient of the $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy in Canmore, Dupre Sarmiento is enrolled in the Schulich School of Engineering.

Nine, count 'em, Vanier Canada scholars

What does it take to win a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship? There isn’t a simple answer. One of the most prestigious graduate awards in Canada, the Vanier CGS is also one of the most competitive. But nine University of Calgary doctoral students have achieved the distinction of being awarded 2019 Vanier Scholarships. They were James Bull, Biological Sciences; Mohammadali Ahmadi, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering; Chelsea Christie, Community Health Sciences; Kimberly Manalili, Community Health Science; Keira Gunn, Mathematics and Statistics; Adrianna Giuffre, Neuroscience; Brandon Craig, Neuroscience; Mason Stothart, Veterinary Medicine; Sarthak Sinha, Veterinary Medicine. 

Two of ours named 3M National Student Fellows

Two UCalgary students became 3M National Student Fellows. Mathieu Chin, third-year biomechanics student in the Faculty of Kinesiology, and Tingting Yan, fourth-year Cumming School of Medicine health sciences student, were recognized for their leadership. Yan helped create the Human Connection Community Program and a photojournalism project called Humans of UCalgary. Chin has been a leader in UCalgary’s Peer-Assisted Study Session program and is an education co-ordinator for Thrive.