Alum believes in the power of story and the value of community

August 24, 2020 | Society
Danika McConnell, who came to MacEwan University from small-town Saskatchewan in 2012 to study journalism, says the community she found on campus – both inside and outside of the classroom – left a lasting impression. So much so that she wants to make sure current and future MacEwan students have the same experience.

“I wouldn't be who I am or where I am without my time at MacEwan,” says McConnell, who now works within ATB Financial’s brand department and is a member of the university’s new Alumni Advisory Council.

Q. What's your most vivid MacEwan memory?

My brain is buzzing with countless memories spanning from my very first day of classes and being so nervous to hop on the bus and head to City Centre Campus, to serving as the news editor with The Griff back when it was a weekly publication, and even IMGLR_Danika_McConnell-SAMUthe sleepless nights spent cramming in the communications study room. But the most vivid memory I have is breaking ground on the Students' Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) building that now stands on 109 Street and 104 Avenue. That project was built on a decade’s worth of efforts from students, and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of that legacy with dozens of other alumni (including some of my fellow Alumni Advisory Council members)!

PHOTO: Danika (second from left) at the groundbreaking for the new SAMU building in 2017.

Q. What are you doing now?

I get to work on projects that, at their root, connect Albertans. My role at ATB involves working to support business, consumer and brand marketing needs. Whether it's connecting with LGBTQ2SIA+ communities or business owners to amplify their incredible stories, helping frontline team members better connect with their communities or finding new, exciting ways to make living in Alberta the best it can be – that's my job! Lately, we have been sharing uplifting experiences across the province in response to the impacts of COVID-19. It feels pretty great to wake up every day knowing that we're trying to be a good neighbour to folks in every corner of the province.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish as an AAC member?

When it came to my time in the classroom at MacEwan, it always felt like the communications and journalism community was bringing the real world to the table – teaching us lessons we couldn't learn from a textbook.

I want to ensure those values remain: making sure students are prepared for what's to come in a world that's so hard to predict. To share that lessons can't be found in required readings. I hope I can help foster connections between alumni and students in MacEwan classrooms because, as alumni, we have so much to give – and so much to gain – from being back in the classroom. 


New Alumni Advisory Council represents MacEwan University's 75,000 graduates

Alumni have gone on to become passionate community members, industry leaders and game changers.

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