This year’s grads have persevered through a pandemic – on top of all of the usual challenges that come with university life – to get to this milestone moment. And now they’re ready to make their mark on the world as journalists, computer scientists, nurses and more.
Meet some of the members of the Fall Class of 2020.
Anneliese Ansorger, Bachelor of Science, Computer Science and Mathematics
The final year of my degree was the best! I got to know so many wonderful people as secretary of the MacEwan Computer Science Club and had the opportunity to collaborate with design students during my group’s capstone project. We developed an app that allows people to see what artwork will look like in their home before they buy it. I learned so much about the math behind augmented reality, and I think that’s what I love about computer science – getting to the bottom of a problem and finding out what makes things tick.
Jasmine Graf, Bachelor of Communication Studies, Journalism
Journalism allows me to tell people's stories who wouldn't normally have the platform to do so themselves. I get to hear some of the most painful and some of the most inspiring anecdotes, all while making connections within my community.
I only got to experience one year of my degree in Allard Hall with the new television studio, and I truly wish I could've gotten everything out of it that future students will. The advanced technology and resources you are given there are very similar to what you will find in real TV studios, and getting hands-on experience is the most valuable thing you can get in an undergrad because no one will be there to hold your hand once you graduate.
Jasmine made it to the final round of the 2020 CBC Joan Donaldson Scholarship, under the guidance of Neill Fitzpatrick. She is only the second MacEwan student to do so.
Kiefer Sutherland, Bachelor of Communication Studies Dean's Medal recipient
My two passions are music and sports, so I had moved to New York and was working in the music industry at a public relations firm for hip-hop/indie rock artists when I fell in love with writing. After my visa expired, I wanted to study journalism to improve my skills, with the ultimate goal of working as a writer in either field.
I would say my defining moment was putting together my Fight Core Magazine project. I was able to secure interviews with MMA fighters and put together an extensive publication that highlighted everything from the local scene to the path for Canadian fighters to make the UFC. Working as a writer in combat sports is my ultimate dream and seeing that vision come to life, even in a small way, was pretty rewarding.
Journalism allows you to uncover stories about people or things that need to be told. It is truly inspiring to meet people with such incredible and unique backgrounds and to be able to share their stories with the world.
Leila Seyidova, Bachelor of Arts, English Honours
My family moved to Canada from Azerbaijan when I was 10 years old, and I have always been passionate about languages. I speak English, French, Russian and Azeri, and I think language not only helps us understand other cultures, it has the power to help us understand the world.
I wanted my English Honours thesis to focus on a book by a female Azeri author, which is more difficult than it sounds. After decades under the Soviet Regime, the country’s literature is dominated by male authors and topics are dictated by religious aspects of what is and is not acceptable. With help from my faculty members, my mother and my grandmother, I was able to look at how Azeri women used the Soviet regime to improve their situation in a male-dominated society.
I want to eventually continue studying Azeri literature at the graduate level, but for now, I’m applying my linguistic skills in my own business. I opened a company after I finished my degree and now employ other teachers to provide tutoring in ESL, French, Russian and elementary-level classes.
Lydia Juchli, Massage Therapy Dean’s Medal recipient
As a former professional ballet dancer, I knew I needed to explore a career that kept me active; massage therapy was the perfect fit. I love encouraging people to move and to help facilitate that through manual therapy is a gift. I am a huge anatomy nerd! I love analyzing and problem solving dysfunction people are experiencing. Then to have a client leave the treatment with more range of motion, less pain, and less dysfunction is so rewarding.
Mariann Roberts, Bachelor of Communication Studies, Journalism
I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember, so it only made sense to turn my passion into a career. More so, I love the kinds of stories that journalism allows me to help share — I want to be able to help give a voice to those who struggle to be heard and help provide a platform where those stories can be told in the most honest and authentic way possible.
During my time here, I learned how to open my mind to new perspectives and see the world through other people’s points of view. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t go to MacEwan – I can say that for certain.
Nikita Malhotra, Post-Diploma Certificate of Wound Management Dean's Medal recipient
I’ve always been an artistic person – in my spare time, I enjoy painting, drawing and expressing my creativity through cooking and other projects. So when I first started out in my nursing career, I found myself searching for a creative outlet in my work. Wound care is about trial and error, balance and using your resources in different combinations to provide the best care possible to each patient. It’s creative, it’s hands-on and it’s about using your fine motor skills. It was exactly the creative outlet I was looking for.
Porsha Sherwood, Bachelor of Arts, English
I was already 30 years old when I started my degree, so I overloaded my schedule and took six classes a semester to finish as quickly as possible. When I found out I was pregnant with my second child during the third year of my degree, it was challenging. Waves of morning sickness and exhaustion happened alongside exams, essays, work and caring for my nine-year-old daughter. There were many days I wanted to quit or just take a break, but I endured and pushed through with the support of amazing professors and classmates.
I chose the Bachelor of Arts program because I wanted to explore a wide range of topics. There were classes I thought I would love that I didn’t, and classes that I didn’t expect to love that changed my whole perspective as a student. Studying early child development, linguistics and psychology left a huge impression on me and made me want to pursue a master’s degree in counselling psychology. Starting in May 2021, I’ll be attending Yorkville University and working toward my goal of helping people who struggle with social and emotional difficulties.
Sean Casey, Bachelor of Science, Computer Science Dean's Medal recipient
I came to MacEwan in my mid-20s with a bachelor’s degree from another university in hand and originally chose computer science solely because of its career prospects. But as I immersed myself in my courses, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was something I was both good at and enjoyed. Now computer science is more than just a career to me – it’s something I’m passionate about.
There are a few different areas I’m interested in, so I’m still mapping out my future, but I could definitely see myself with a career in software development or data science. I’m currently working as a software developer in an internship position with the Government of Alberta and plan to pursue a data science-oriented master’s degree next year.
My advice for new students? Don’t be afraid to explore new subjects and disciplines that you might not have any prior experience or familiarity with. You might surprise yourself by discovering an affinity for something you never thought you would enjoy or an aptitude for something you didn’t think you’d be good at.
Shanghetaa Alfred, Bachelor of Communication Studies, Journalism
I came to the Bachelor of Communication Studies program because I am passionate about the ability to tell stories and create content that's appealing to people, but my defining moment was in my third year in my news production class when I found a new passion for creating and producing videos. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm excited for the journey. I want to explore making creative videos on fashion and entertainment — all things fun — eventually leading to my future career, which is to tell stories and create content.
My mother, father and brother are my biggest inspirations because they have shown me what hard work can achieve. They have never failed to believe in me and my journey as a creative person.
Tyler Morrison, Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting Dean's Medal recipient
I first chose business because I knew some people in the program who suggested it. Once I was in the program, I discovered that I really enjoyed accounting – it was challenging and required a lot of engagement with my classmates. The CPA designation intrigued me because of the number of opportunities it presented.
During my time at MacEwan, I also played on the Griffins men's hockey team. About halfway through my third year on the team, one of my teammates, Nakehko Lamothe, suddenly passed away. My teammates and I weren't sure how we could possibly continue the season but we decided to continue to play in his honour. We ended up going all the way to win the championship, which included a four-goal comeback in the final game to win. The first people to raise the trophy was Nakehko's father and brother. This was a very emotional night and definitely the most memorable for me during my four years at MacEwan.
Meet the Spring Class of 2020
Close to 60 graduates share the moments, memories and milestones that stand out most.
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.