Nov. 3, 2021

The projects, moments, and discoveries our fall Class of 2021 are proudest of

Overcoming the unknown, transformational presentations, and international collaborations that set this cohort up for success
Convocation proud

Convocation comes with a well-deserved swell of pride. It’s a major milestone. Anyone who hits that goal knows that getting there was the result of hard work and a series of big and small accomplishments along the way.  

We asked fall 2021 graduates to share the project, discovery, or moment from their time at UCalgary that they are most proud of.  

For many, their proudest moment came early in their academic pursuits and set them up for more success. For others, they are most proud of working collaboratively, overcoming an obstacle, solving a problem, or hitting a milestone.  

Here are a few of their answers. 

Andrea Loria, MN/NP’21 

“In our final clinical, we created a presentation about our 'brand' as a nurse practitioner. That presentation solidified how far I had come and how excited I am for what my future holds.  

“Post-secondary experiences pass by quickly. Being too focused on the finish line can cause you to forget to look behind you and appreciate how far you’ve come.  

“That presentation was a transformational moment for me. During that presentation, I watched my peers step into their professional identities. It was an emotional experience as we had shared many wonderful and challenging experiences. It was special to reach the end together.”

Matt Walker, MEDes’21 

“My involvement in an international collaboration with the world-renowned firm Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) was my most memorable period of my time in the MEDes program. It allowed me to take part in the talented design-build team at SAPL and ZHA, but it also gave me the opportunity to expand my network beyond anything I could have imagined.”

Chantelle de Jonge, BA’21

“One of my proudest moments in university was winning the Kubinski Prize in Economics for two research papers on Canadian regulatory issues. I worked very hard on both projects. It was very rewarding to receive recognition for that. Both of my professors, as well as other folks in the industries, were extremely helpful. Despite many tense conversations, and even disagreements, I was very proud of what I had produced and to be recognized for my work.”

Jacob Varghese, BSc’21

“I am most proud of troubleshooting a protocol for developing cow embryos in our lab. I was able to work with my supervisor directly on a project and we went through months of trials, without consistent results. It forced us to go back to the basics and critically evaluate every step in our procedure, but also afforded us the opportunity to make improvements or try novel approaches and augmentations to a previously established protocol. What was more impactful was seeing the goal, the culmination of multiple months of troubleshooting, as viable cow embryos. It is difficult to express on paper the magic of creating new life within our lab and the enjoyment of seeing months of work finally come together.”

Rachel Mclean, MSc’21

“One of the projects I'm proudest of is still my first computer science project. The assignment was to write a program to run a fun and playable version of a simple game. It was my first group project at the university, but I had a pretty good team and we managed to put together a really nice 'dots and boxes' program, which I still have saved on my desktop and will sometimes play to pass the time.”

Joel Wong, BSc (Eng)’21 and BSc’21 

“A series of projects and initiatives shaped my university experience. If I had to choose just one project, I would say I am most proud of being part of a group that planned and executed a solar energy system installation in an off-grid community of 150 people in Peru. We applied what we learned in university to directly help people!”

Dora Tamas, MMgmt ‘21 

“Becoming a top-10 finalist in the international ASEC Energy Bowl Case Competition is an accomplishment that I am proud of from my time in the MMgmt program. This achievement was special as it was the first competition that my three classmates and I pursued. Moving forward, this experience gave me the confidence to embark upon new opportunities.”

Dr. Lisa Gamsjaeger, DVM'21

“When I first started at the University of Calgary, I set a somewhat ambitious goal to complete my PhD program in three years. My dream was always to get a faculty position in a veterinary teaching hospital where I could use both my clinical and research skills as well as teach, but I was worried I would lose my clinical knowledge if I stayed out of clinics for too long. It took a while to convince my supervisor that my timeline was going to be possible, without sacrificing the quality of the research. In the end, I did it and I even published three of my four thesis chapters prior to my defence. I am proud of that.”

Zainab Fatima, LLM’21 

“My thesis oral-defence viva! I did everything I could to have my viva on time, although I was facing health issues.”

Ash Kolstad, MSc’21

“One of the main questions from my original proposed master’s thesis was examining if proper helmet fit was protective against getting a concussion in youth sports like football and ice hockey. The plan was to collect the data in-person. Then COVID-19 hit. Everyone was online and uncertain of what was going to happen. Sports were cancelled and most research projects (including my own) were halted. It was an unsettling feeling not knowing what was going to happen. But, within a few weeks, at my weekly meeting with my supervisors, we came up with an idea. Do we need to be in-person to assess helmet fit? Can we simply log onto a password-secured Zoom meeting and complete the assessment?  

“After this meeting, the utility of this idea skyrocketed in my mind. No longer would persons in remote areas not have access to have their helmet fit assessed. This could even allow for monitoring throughout the season by a team trainer, without having to have players show up hours before a practice or game. Anyone could complete these assessments at any place at any time, as long as they had a device with a camera and the Zoom application.  

“I am very proud of this idea because, when we were faced with the unknown, we successfully adapted my project to a simple idea that could have a major impact for sports organizations in the future."


Congratulations, Class of 2021

Hear more from our fall graduates.