Meet the Class of 2015: Faculty of Arts and Science

June 17, 2015

Whether their futures are in history, social justice, statistics or biology, we know our grads are primed to achieve great things. We asked some of the Arts and Science Class of 2015 about their most memorable moments at MacEwan University, points of pride and future plans. Here’s what they had to say.

IMAGE_STORY_Carissa_Toop_SmCarissa Toop

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Honours

Even in junior high, my day-to-day problems seemed so boring. I wanted to understand people—especially people that had different stories to tell than my own. Read Carissa’s story. 

IMAGE_STORY_Andres_LalamaAndres Lalama

Bachelor of Arts, History

As a child in Ecuador at age eight or nine, I discovered a series of comic books about the history of mankind that belonged to my grandfather. I remembered wondering who those guys were, Assyrians and Greeks and Romans, with their funny clothes and funny buildings. I believe that the fascination with the strangeness and yet familiarity of the past never really left me, although I never thought of history as a real career possibility until I took my first history course at MacEwan.

IMAGE_STORY_Sydney_LoganVeronika Ilich

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology

I'm passionate, perhaps naively, about crime prevention through poverty elimination, education and strong social safety nets. I'm also very interested in human trafficking—it's a massive human rights abuse that affects so many people worldwide, and within Canada. I wanted to know how I could help stop it, so in my last year I did a community-based criminology project on sex trafficking of men and boys in Edmonton, in partnership with ACT Alberta.

The response to my research has been wonderful—people actually care about my findings and want to use them. It’s great to see research leaving the realm of academia and entering the working world where it can have an impact.

IMAGE_STORY_Mathieu_ChalifourMathieu Chalifour

Bachelor of Science, Mathematics

It wasn't until after I dropped out of my program at MacEwan and worked in the restaurant industry for a couple of years that I finally realized the true value of a post-secondary education. First, I knew I could succeed. Second, I wanted to set a good example for my son— I left school to provide for him, but I knew I wouldn't regret going back to finish my education. I'm proud of my research in statistics and the next step for me is to continue on to graduate studies and complete more research. In five years, I hope to have my master’s or a PhD, and be building a solid foundation for a career in statistics.

IMAGE_STORY_Selena_DoyleSelena Doyle

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

I had a wonderful childhood and youth in a town called Millet. It was a safe and protective environment, but it didn't prepare me for the realities of city life. When I moved to Edmonton, I saw people living on the street, women exploited by the sex trade and people facing discrimination because of who they loved. I wondered what could be done to fix these problems.

Graduate school certainly wasn't always part of my plan. I wasn’t in the honours program and had always thought of myself as being a fairly mediocre student. I never thought of myself as being “grad school material,” but a couple of years ago I decided to put my mom’s words into action and dream big. Not only have I been accepted to a master's program at the University of Saskatchewan to study applied social psychology, I also earned a Dean’s scholarship.

IMAGE_STORY_Heather_HuculiakHeather Huculiak

Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences

The day after finals, I left to spend the seven weeks before convocation backpacking around Europe. I want to work for a year and then look into master’s programs in Europe—there's a master’s in brewing and distilling program in Scotland that I’m interested in, but I also want to look into science communication programs and genetic counselling.

I love science—it provides a logical way of understanding the world, and teaches you to think critically while maintaining an open mind. I completed two independent research projects this year. They were a lot of hard work, but a truly incredible opportunity.

IMAGE_STORY_Christina_EmberleyChristina Emberley

Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

I finished classes in Fall 2014, so my “next” consisted of buying a one-way ticket to Australia to see what new challenges I could find.

Hands down, the proudest moment of my time at MacEwan involved the MacEwan United Nations Club. I was president of the club during the 2013/2014 academic year, and seeing how far the club went and how many “firsts” we accomplished that year was amazing. The very best part, though, was when I was given one of the “Denmark” placards (the country we represented at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City that year) signed by the all the team members from my final conference.

The club changed my life so much and seeing how it did the same under my leadership for so many others was very humbling and heartwarming—I may have cried a little bit.

IMAGE_STORY_Casey_RusinCasey Rusin

Bachelor of Science, Physical Sciences

Having the opportunity to do research not only prepared me for the next steps after graduation, but it also allowed me to grow as an individual, expand my knowledge and interact with experts in the field. Participating in chemistry research with Dr. Samuel Mugo was probably one of the most defining moments of my undergraduate program, and ultimately solidified my decision to pursue a graduate program.

Jeffrey Jolly

Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy

What am I most proud of? My willingness to be uncomfortable with myself and the philosophy I engaged with. Rather than merely memorizing theory and developing adept rhetoric, I did my best to be changed by what I encountered.

I hope to join the Canadian Armed Forces in the future. Many people are confused buy the connection between philosophy and military service, but there is a long tradition of service to others within philosophy, and given all that I have learned I find an unwillingness to aid unconscionable.

Infive years I hope to have lived well and helped others. It is my greatest hope that I will have been loving—that is the essence of what I learned in philosophy.

IMAGE_STORY_Adam_WoodsAdam Woods

Bachelor of Science, Psychology

Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence recipient

The human brain is both fascinating and mysterious. I think that is what drew me into psychology: the awe-inspiring way in which our brains coordinate our behaviour.

I have aspirations to become either a doctor or a dentist, but I haven't quite decided yet.

IMAGE_STORY_Ashley_JohnstonAshley Johnston

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology

I did a community-based criminology project with the Edmonton Police Service, where I researched the effectiveness of police follow-up with victims of domestic violence. Of all the time I've spent at MacEwan, I'm most proud of that research. It was an amazing experience.

After classes ended, I went to Peru and spent three days hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Despite the lack of oxygen at that altitude, the experience was amazing. If anything, the trip spurred my interest in continuing to experience different cultures. It would be amazing to work in the criminal justice field while travelling. If anyone knows where that dream job exists, contact me!

IMAGE_STORY_Nicola_CooperNicola Cooper

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

I began my university education in MacEwan's Theatre Arts diploma program—an amazing two years. After graduating, I wanted to complete an undergraduate degree, and I knew that I wanted to study psychology.

I am most proud of how I have succeeded in my courses. I put a lot of work into every class I took, and that work and dedication is ultimately what led me to being accepted to the University of Calgary's Faculty of Law.

IMAGE_STORY_Brett_BilykBrett Bilyk

Bachelor of Arts, History

When I completed a public history course at MacEwan, I found that I loved doing research about local history and ended up doing an independent research project updating the history of Edmonton Public Schools. It was an enlightening experience and confirmed my love for this field. Searching through unending sources could be slightly monotonous, but finding an interesting source was like finding gold.

I was accepted into the Public History master's program at Western University and I really think that history is an area I can build a future in—I can be involved in any career where history is presented to the public.

IMAGE_STORY_Veronica_IllichSydney Logan

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology

When I think about my time at MacEwan, I'm most proud of how far I've come. I had no idea what I wanted from my education when I began, but I learned what I was passionate about and became a motivated and focused student.

During my time in university, I gained a passion for working with individuals suffering from mental disorders and understanding their unique experiences. I'm planning to continue my education and work toward a master's in occupational therapy to prepare for a career assisting individuals with mental disorders gain independence in the community.

IMAGE_STORY_Erica_IngrahamErica Ingraham

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Honours

I am most proud of my research that I have carried out under the supervision of Dr. Hamilton. I learned about planning and preparing research, running experiments, analyzing data and preparing manuscripts for publication.

Early in the Winter semester, I decided that I wasn't quite ready to commit to a grad school program and realized I had better find a job. I saw Oak Hill Boys Ranch on the list of companies that would be at the MacEwan Career Fair and it stood out because of my passion for horses. I just started working there full-time as a Child and Youth Care Worker and I'm on my way to getting valuable experience that fits with one my long-term goals—to open or work in a therapeutic riding program.

My proudest moment at MacEwan was being on the BBC Newsround last summer when we attended a conference in Manchester, UK. I'm working full-time now, but I'm continuing to write up my research and will present my most recent project at the Society of Experimental Biology conference in Prague in July.

IMAGE_STORY_Hannah_DyckerhoffHannah Dyckerhoff

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology
Governor General's Silver Medal recipient

I am passionate about helping those affected by crime and struggling to exit a criminal lifestyle. I want to work with young offenders and victims of sexual exploitation, and Criminology was able to provide me not only with practical knowledge about crime in Canadian society, but also helped me to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of the sociological nature and impact of crime.

My time at MacEwan shaped me into a better citizen of my country, a better friend to those I love and someone who reflects deeply upon every decision and its impact.

My long-term goal is to show youth involved in crime a new path and a new hope for their lives and to be a source of support, encouragement, guidance, and friendship to those who hurt the most in our communities.

MacEwan University is proud to celebrate the over 2,100 members of the Class of 2015. Congratulations to this year's graduates, medal recipients and distinguished award honourees.

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