Silver Linings

It’s been a tough year to cultivate feelings of accomplishment, not to mention find fun — but, as these resilient students, faculty and alumni prove, the pandemic has also inspired a world of joyful detours

Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin

“Ice skating is a new hobby I picked up in my spare time and I absolutely love it! I think the best way to regain motivation during a time like COVID is to continually work on yourself through challenging new skills.”

Aiza Asif, BComm’21, Business Information Technology Management, Haskayne School of Business. Aiza was part of a team that won the 2020 RBC Fast Pitch Competition for its World Blood Investigator mobile point-of-care testing device

“Personally, I’m proud of the puppy — Benjamin — my husband and I got this year because he’s brought us closer as a family. Professionally, I’m proud to have worked through adverse and challenging times in the ICU throughout COVID, and to have built resilience.”

Mia Torres, BSc’12, BN’15, staff registered nurse on the intensive care unit at the Peter Lougheed Centre

This year, l’ve spent a lot of time learning about investing in the stock market — so much so that I was asked to be a team lead for a non-profit startup called The Debtless Students that teaches students about financial literacy.

Michael Kohlman, first-year student and 2020 Schulich Leader in the Schulich School of Engineering

To celebrate Wordfest’s 25th anniversary online during the pandemic, we created a series called the Daisy Chain: 25 of Canada’s best fiction writers, linked together by mutual love and admiration, and watched by thousands across Canada. More than half of the writers were BIPOC [black, Indigenous, people of colour]. All the writers were generous. Every member of the audience felt so much less alone.

Shelley Youngblut, BA’85, CEO and Creative Ringleader, Wordfest

“My weight-training hobby has long played an important part in strengthening my physical, mental and emotional health. I’d always been a gym rat, so I could never imagine having the motivation to work out at home. I’ve managed to assemble a home gym over the past few years, and it has really saved my (turkey) bacon during the pandemic. It’s made managing stress in these uncertain times a whole lot easier.”

Dr. Greg Tweedie, PhD, associate professor, Werklund School of Education, winner of the 2020 UCalgary Teaching Award in the Teaching in Online Environments category

“Over this year, I’ve really worked on becoming more patient and more able to stay calm amidst all the busyness in my life — I take more breaks, including weekly Zoom chats with friends to watch The Bachelor and laugh and talk about it together.”

Whitney Ereyi-Osas, BHSc’20, first-year medical student at the Cumming School of Medicine, president of the Black Medical Student Association, and vice-president of EDI (Equity, Inclusion and Diversity) for the Canadian Medical Association

“I’m thrilled to have been appointed to the Order of Canada this year — it’s incredible and awesome because Indigenous women are usually the last people to be recognized. I’m still levitating to be recognized.”

UCalgary Cree Elder-in-Residence Doreen Spence was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her efforts advocating for peace and Indigenous Peoples’ human rights
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