Courtesy Miriam Berchuk
Jan. 9, 2018
Anaesthesiologist and UCalgary ambassador highlights limitless opportunities of life on senate
Fresh out of residency in 2005, Dr. Miriam Berchuk, MD, ventured west for her first job as an anaesthesiologist at the Rockyview General Hospital. Though she came to Calgary for the career opportunity, over the years Berchuk has become embedded in our community in more ways than one.
While volunteering as a director on the board for the Calgary Girls’ School, a position Berchuk proudly held from 2012 to 2016, she was encouraged to join UCalgary’s senate.
“I was recruited in 2014 by a former superintendent of the Calgary Girls’ School who was a UCalgary senator at the time,” says Berchuk. “She is someone I really respect so I felt very honoured that she thought I was a good choice to join the fascinating group of people on senate.”
Though Berchuk also holds a position with UCalgary as a clinical assistant professor with the Cumming School of Medicine, being part of senate has engaged her in the campus community in a completely new way.
“I have learners and residents and medical students that I work with, but I’m not on campus as part of my day-to-day job,” says Berchuk. “Being a senator has been an opportunity to learn more about the university and to truly expand my horizons — I’m exposed to things I normally wouldn’t experience, and learn more every day.”
In addition to fulfilling the mandate of senators by working to foster meaningful connections between the university and the communities we both serve and lead, Berchuk has been involved in several committees including the community engagement committee and the Order of the University of Calgary award committee.
Now beginning her second three-year term as a senator, Berchuk says there are countless perks to the role, including mentorship and networking opportunities.
“One of the highlights for me has been getting to know the other senators — they are extraordinary people from different backgrounds and areas of work who I normally wouldn’t have crossed paths with,” Berchuk says.
“Within the senate there’s also a mentorship program. It’s incredible to be able to provide advice and guidance as well as to facilitate opportunities for UCalgary students that will support them on their career paths.”
In addition to mentoring students, Berchuk points to convocation as a true highlight of her role and a unique opportunity that comes with her position as a senator.
“I make a point of attending the Cumming School of Medicine convocation,” she says. “Being up on the platform and taking the Hippocratic Oath alongside the new students who are just starting their medical careers reminds me of how excited I was years ago taking the oath for the first time and opening this new chapter of my life.”
Apply to join UCalgary Senate by Jan. 11
Though becoming a UCalgary senator does require a monthly time commitment, Berchuk says it has been more than worth her while and encourages anyone with a sense of curiosity to toss their hat in the ring.
“Joining senate is an opportunity to explore,” she says. “As a senator you learn so much about the university, you expand your horizons and are exposed to new knowledge, you get involved in new circles and you build relationships with incredible people on personal and professional levels.
“I’m getting more than I’m giving and feel very lucky that I was encouraged to apply.”
This year, there are several senate positions to fill for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2019. Know someone who may be interested in becoming a senator? Applications will be accepted until Jan. 11, 2019.
For more information about the UCalgary Senate or the application process, visit the senate website.