April 26, 2012: In what is expected to become a yearly tradition, the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) has named five students as ambassadors for the best and brightest the University of Calgary has to offer.
“All of our inaugural ambassadors have an impressive list of academic performance and volunteer and extra-curricular experience,” GSA vice-president (student life) Joey Windsor says. “They have a good story to tell of why they're here, what this university means to them, and the ability to translate the knowledge gained from their research back to non-specialists.”
Ambassador Kristen Barton—a goalkeeper on the Dinos women’s soccer team and currently undertaking a research project related to knee osteoarthritis in the Faculty of Kinesiology—believes it is vital the current generation of students take the initiative to become academic leaders. “Encouraging further research opportunities will be important for the university, but more so in the community and for the public with the translation and application of research knowledge,” she says.
Barton’s leadership skills will be tested when she becomes chair of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for the 2012-2013 academic year. Outside of the university, she has travelled to Mexico as part of church mission trips.
Third-year biochemistry and molecular biology PhD candidate Pavneet Singh arrived from India in January 2010 and emphasized the importance of voluntary extra-curricular and leadership activities for overall personal development.
“This recognition is a true representation of the multiculturalism in Canada as deserving people from diverse backgrounds were named graduate ambassadors,” he says.
Singh is a member of the GSA awards committee and helped facilitate peer helper seminars organized by the Student Success Centre. He also travelled to a conference in Beijing last September to present his current research in cardiovascular biology.
“It is really important to give proper guidance and encouragement to recent and upcoming graduates regarding research,” he says. “This will encourage good minds to come forward and improve this world with their quality research.”
The other three graduate ambassadors are all PhD candidates: Kathleen Brown from the Department of English, Department of Chemistry researcher SiRim Kim, and Veronika Kiryanova, who is undertaking research in behavioural neuroscience.
The ambassadors met with members of the university’s senior leadership group last night to provide an insight into the research graduate students are doing, ensuring senior leaders are better informed for when they go out into the community.