A bright, shiny new building on campus just for students — how could Amy Beard (BCom, ’17) resist? Back when she served as the food bank coordinator with the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU), Amy saw firsthand the need for more space to accommodate student programming, services and studying.
“Having that experience helped me think of a vision for the building and ensure that a diverse set of needs could be met,” says Amy, who later went on to serve two terms as SAMU’s vice-president of operations and finance and was heavily involved in seeing the new building come to life.
Amy now works as a research and policy analyst in the Office of the Corporate Chief Information Officer of Service Alberta and here, as a member of the Alumni Advisory Council, she talks about going with the flow, her passion for policy work, and memorable sandwiches on campus.
Q.Part of your time with SAMU involved the design and development of the new students’ building — how did it feel to see it come to life and open its doors this year?
It was pretty amazing to walk into a space that I had only seen in a drawing previously. It will be great to see how student groups, programs and services continue to grow and develop in their new spaces — there are so many possibilities! I’m so grateful that we had great groups of student leaders follow in our footsteps and continue to push the progress of the building forward. There were many hurdles to getting it completed, but it’s finally standing.
Q.What were you initially planning to do with your degree?
I didn’t have a solid plan of what I was going to do with my degree at first. I think this is true of many people and it’s okay — things don’t always work out exactly as we expect. I tend to go with the flow and stay open to new opportunities. I saw my skills as transferable to many areas, and I like that my degree gave me the flexibility to allow my career to evolve. You never know what could come up and where it could take you.
Q.As a research and policy analyst, why are you passionate about policy?
Good policy development can really help us find solutions to our business or societal problems. My job includes making sure I do an appropriate amount of research and present alternatives to our leadership to help them make evidence-based decisions. Policy work can be really tough sometimes because priorities can change very quickly, definitely in government, and you have to be ready to pivot and respond quickly — but that’s also what I love about it!
Q.What’s your most vivid MacEwan memory?
I think my most vivid memories come from my time spent as a coordinator at SAMU. All of the part-time coordinators would work in what we called the “bullpen.” We had so many laughs together and it was a great support network to have. I still talk to many of them daily.
Q.What is the thing/food/item that you associate with your time at MacEwan?
This is a tough one! I used to love going to S’wich for one of their famous sandwiches in the Robbins building — I was so sad when they closed!
Q.What was it about your student experience that inspired you to join the Alumni Advisory Council and what do you hope to accomplish?
I had so many opportunities as a student and those opportunities really set me up for success after university. I want other students to have similar experiences and I would like to give back in a small way. I would also like to help drive more alumni engagement. We have a great community of alumni who are looking to be involved and I think now is the time to build our network of people that will continue to give back to the university for many years.
Alumni Advisory Council represents MacEwan University's 75,000 graduates
Alumni have gone on to become passionate community members, industry leaders and game changers.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.