5 deeply personal, must-read stories from 2019

December 19, 2019 | Society, Health, Campus Life

During 2019, more than 50 members of the MacEwan University community generously shared deeply personal stories of dedication, longevity, loss, celebration, support and so much more in our Portraits of MacEwan series.

When our students, faculty, staff and alumni choose to speak out and offer their first-person accounts of experiences ranging from incredibly sad to profoundly hopeful – often within a few short paragraphs – you respond. The 50 Portraits of MacEwan pieces we published in 2019, including the five below, were read more than 70,000 times.

We’re so grateful to the many people who tackled difficult topics, celebrated with us and inspired us this year. You can read all of their stories on MacEwan.ca and the university’s Facebook page.  


“My sister’s name was Tonesha River Walker Desjarlais. We called her Toni. One night seven years ago she was sleeping over at my family’s house in Edmonton, and someone broke in and killed her. She was 16 years old.”

– Hailey, 3rd year Bachelor of Arts student and Cultural Engagement Liaison for the Indigenous Students Club

Read Hailey’s story


“The tumor grew rapidly, to the size of my fist, and created a blockage in my large intestine. For 11 days, I kept going back to the emergency room. They wouldn’t give me an x-ray or an ultrasound. As my intestine expanded and ripped, everyone kept saying that nothing could possibly be wrong.”

– Ashley, Bachelor of Arts (sociology) student, kihêw waciston peer advisor and president of the Indigenous Students Club

Read Ashley’s story


“Lucy and I were walking across the second floor of the Robbins Health Learning Centre one day, headed outside to give her a pee break, when she started pulling on her leash to go another direction. I tried to keep going but she was adamant, so I followed her around a corner and behind a bank of lockers where a student was sitting on the floor sobbing.”

– PAWSS dog Lucy and Cynthia Gundermann, Interim Simulation Program Coordinator, Clinical Simulation Centre, Faculty of Nursing

Read Cynthia and Lucy’s story


“I have seen the budding romances, exam pressures and knockout performances which create our students' best days and their worst. It’s always an honour to just say hello or to listen if they’re stressed or having a challenging day. It’s also such a joy to watch them grow, and to play a small part in helping them navigate through the program.”

– Carolyn Graber, University Advisor, Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications

Read Carolyn’s story


“I only told a few people that I was applying to Oxford. It felt ridiculous. I kept telling myself that I would frame my rejection letter as a reminder that at least I had tried.”

– Riya Sidhu, Bachelor of Science, Honours Psychology, ‘19, and President’s Medal Recipient who is currently attending Oxford.

Read Riya’s story



Our 19 favourite photos from 2019

A collection of some of the most memorable images we snapped this year. 

Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter