Alumni in the news

June 29, 2018 | Arts & Culture, Science, Health

MacEwan University’s alumni are landing leading roles, composing unique new melodies and giving back to their communities. Catch up with some of our alumni and their most recent achievements.

Finding success on stage

Kristi Hansen (Theatre Arts '01) stars in the upcoming documentary, The Act of Being Normal. After having her foot amputated at age 12, Kristi has overcome a number of challenges to lead a successful acting career. The 10-minute documentary, set to be released this fall, tells her story. Read more.

Another alumna, Bracken Burns (Theatre Arts '10), also recently landed a starring role, taking the spotlight in Calgary last month as Elle Woods in Stage West’s production of Legally Blonde: The Musical. Read more.  

2018 Distinguished Alumni

When Brenda Lieberman enrolled in MacEwan's Arts and Cultural Management program, she knew she wanted to work in the arts. But she had no idea which area she would end up in. Today, she's regarded as Calgary's go-to person for film programming. Read more.  


Contributing to Edmonton’s arts scene 

Erica Cawagas (Music '14) helped dream up the idea and wrote the music for Emma the Musical, debuting at the Myer Horowitz Theatre on July 7. The work is set in the Philippines during the Second World War, and is a musical tribute to Erica’s great-grandmother, Emma. Read more.

Local musicians Ryan Pliska, Aretha Tillotson, Brian Raine and Stephanie Urquhart met in MacEwan’s music program. Last June, the four combined their talents to create a video game cover band, Experience Points, jazzing up theme songs and sounds from classic and modern games. Read more.

Giving back

Erin Schwab (Fine Art '02) went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine art after her time at MacEwan, and is now making her mark in Fort McMurray. After losing her studio in the devastating wildfire of 2016, Erin decided to make art with the limited available materials, and started carving with wood from the hardware store. Erin teaches art in Fort McMurray, and advocates for the arts at the local and provincial level. Read more.

The Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s most recent 30 Under 30 list included Saige Arcand (Arts and Cultural Management '17), who was honoured for her work with Indigenous youth. Saige, who is from Alexander Cree Nation, uses her skills as a makeup artist to host esthetics workshops that encourage and uplift Indigenous women and young people. Saige also works for Frontier College to organize literacy camps across Alberta. Read more.

2018 Distinguished Alumni

"At my core, I'm a helper," says alumna Cheryl Whiskeyjack. "That's what I've been doing every step of the way." After graduating from MacEwan's Child and Youth Care program, she began her career as a youth worker at Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society. She's never looked back. Read more.  


Making waves

A former Bachelor of Science transfer student, Dr. Jennifer Lavers, is a leading researcher on the plastic accumulating in the world’s oceans, and the devastating effects on sea life. Jennifer, who now teaches marine science at the University of Tasmania, was recently featured in the documentary Blue. The film explores the destruction of oceans, and what can be done to reverse it. A special showing of the documentary was held in Edmonton on June 7 to celebrate World Oceans Day.

Creating a path forward

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, the University of Alberta recently appointed Cree Elder Bert Auger (Social Work '86) as one of three Elders-in-Residence in their School of Public Health. Bert attended MacEwan in the 1980s, and often felt isolated from his community after moving from his home on Whitefish Lake First Nation #459. Now, the Elder-in-Residence program increases access to Indigenous knowledge at the U of A, and works to encourage more Indigenous students to enrol. Read more

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