Alumni Advisory Council member seeks to encourage others on their lifelong education journey

October 13, 2020 | Campus Life, Society

Lori Kotuza is a lifelong learner. Throughout her career as a nurse, she has taken on many roles – in acute care, research, occupational health and public health – which she prepared for by continuously building on her education, including an Occupational Health Nursing certificate from MacEwan University in 2016. Most recently, she completed her Master of Science in Nursing with Trinity Western University.

Now, as a member of MacEwan’s Alumni Advisory Council, she hopes to help others use education to carve out their path. “ I hope to be a voice not only for the nursing students, but for all students,” she says. “I really care about students and would like to leave a lasting impression that their academic hopes and dreams can be made into reality, no matter their age, background or life circumstances.”

We talked to Kotuza about her educational journey, her career and her goals on the Alumni Advisory Council.

Q.What made you want to become a nurse?

I basically wanted to help people. That decision was made back in 1987 when my father had colorectal cancer and was very ill in the hospital. I was bound and determined to understand all the tubes, procedures, etc. with his diagnosis. I was also impressed with the nursing care he received back then, and then I took some academic upgrading so I could apply for nursing studies. I started my studies at the University of Alberta Hospital’s School of Nursing in January 1990.

Q.You’ve continued to expand on your nursing education over the years, including at MacEwan. How important is lifelong learning to you?

Money never came easy to me. I had to take my education in pieces over the years so that I could work full-time and study part-time. Because of this, I have a big appreciation for education. I just graduated this spring from Trinity Western University with a master’s degree. Unbelievable! I didn't dream that big back in 1987!

Q.What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Alumni Advisory Council?

I hope to help raise the profile of MacEwan. Even though our Alumni Advisory Council is very diverse, we have a common goal of improving relations between students and faculty.

Q.How does it feel to be one of the inaugural members of the Alumni Advisory Council?

I never had a clue when I first applied that I would be an inaugural member! All I wanted to do was give back to a university that supported me and my studies. I was a little apprehensive when I first met all the other council members. Sheesh! They are all younger than I am, but so confident and accomplished! I wish I had been that confident at that age, but it took me years to develop that skill. Since I am obviously the oldest member of the council, I hope to inspire all students that learning is lifelong, and to not underestimate themselves.

Q.What do you do in your spare time?

I love to read. My husband and I have a passion for travel to far-off places, but with the current pandemic, this has been impossible. So we have enjoyed our backyard this year and luckily, I like to garden. It’s so wonderful to see the results from planting seeds. Much like starting your education – you’re not always sure when you will grow or where you will end up!

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