Jan. 5, 2022

Most-read student stories of 2021

Pandemic pivots, a rescue dog named Mississippi, and a sneak peek of future academic stars were featured in some of the most-read articles about students
Nursing Students
Nursing students. From left: Hafsah Syed, Chen Fang, Paige Hutton and Mahnoor Zainab.

Nursing students and athletes put their experiences into words with stark honesty to share what they felt as everything changed for them during COVID-19. Mentorship helped a high school kid go from a robotics lab at the University of Calgary to an internship at NASA. And we celebrated the path to graduation, whether that was by returning to school to train for a second career or by completing a customized program designed for inclusivity.

Student life is full of adaptation, learning, pivoting, seizing opportunities and celebrating. These stories show just that. They are the most-read articles featuring student stories, according to Google Analytics.

For the most-read news and research stories, go here and here.

Student nurses reflect on adapting to 'new normal' during pandemic

Nursing students. From left: Hafsah Syed, Chen Fang, Paige Hutton and Mahnoor Zainab.

Showing how deeply COVID-19 has impacted the student experience, especially for those in health care, this is the second year this is one of the most-read stories. This article was published in May 2020, just two months after off-campus clinical placements were cancelled and labs and classes were modified because of COVID-19. All plans were disrupted. A lot has happened since then — multiple waves of COVID, vaccines, a gradual return to campus and clinical placements — but the stories of these five nursing students still resonate. They share, in their own words, what it was like to be a nursing student at the beginning of a pandemic.

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How deep is the impact of a non-season on the Dinos?

Dinos athletes. From left: Dinos athletes Logan Bandy, Reyna Crawford, Stefan Daniel, Dakota Krebs, Maiya Lee and Ezeoha Santiago.

A university athletics career is already finite. For hundreds of athletes, COVID-19 made that timeline even shorter and stirred up all sorts of what-if questions. Six Dinos athletes shared their thoughts as they realized they may never play university sports again. There was heartbreak, life lessons learned, and the challenge of being mentally strong when access to the physical sport so important to their lives changed in an instant.

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Schulich-trained high school student lands internship at NASA

Alessandro Greco performs some work at the UVS Robotarium Laboratory.

Alessandro Greco

Before Alessandro Greco spent his summer completing an internship with NASA, his summers were spent in the UVS Robotarium Lab at the University of Calgary. Like high school students who have come before him, Greco was welcomed by Dr. Alex Ramirez-Serrano, PhD, into his lab knowing he would bring fresh ideas. In exchange, Greco got mentorship and hands-on experience working on stereo vision and robotics interfaces for unmanned vehicles. Mutually beneficial relationships like that continue to lead to innovation in robotics. 

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UCalgary iGEM innovators push the boundaries of synthetic biology in the lab and beyond

The iGEM team is a multidisciplinary group of undergraduates that collaborate on synthetic biology projects and compete internationally.

iGEM team

The rare earth elements in the phone or computer that you are reading this article on now are a problem. They are harmful to the environment, mining them is hazardous, and recycling them is difficult. The iGEM team is using synthetic biology to fix the problem. The multidisciplinary group of undergraduate students tackles everyday issues and finds a solution through consultation, modelling and experimentation. And then they compete internationally. We celebrated their work on International Youth Day.

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UCalgary students spend six weeks helping save the life of one very sick rescue dog

When four University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine students met her, Mississippi had life-threatening anemia, maggot-infested raw sores, swollen back legs, and would not eat or drink. The students were beginning a six-week rotation at the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society. Over the course of their time at the charitable rescue organization, they learned how to treat the gravely ill mastiff with the limited resources available. Mississippi got better and the vet med students gained hands-on experience they might not have had pre-COVID. 

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Class of 2021: Inclusive Post-Secondary Education grads get set for life after university

Darius Leung and Siobhan Zobatar.

Darius Leung offers some wise words for new students: “University might be a bit big and you might get a bit lost, but you’ll find your way eventually." Leung along with Siobahn Zobatar graduated through the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education program in 2021. Like many grads, the pandemic and Zoom classes were a setback near the end of their program. But the five years they spent attending classes was a time of learning and personal growth that set them up for a bright future. 

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Former RCMP officer realizes childhood dream of practising law

Chad Haggerty, JD'19

Regrets. He’s had a few. For one, Chad Haggerty wishes he had become a lawyer sooner. Instead, he delayed law school and joined the RCMP. Haggerty is Métis from the East Prairie Métis Settlement in Northern Alberta. His Métis culture influenced his time with the RCMP, his decision to leave, and his encouragement for any Indigenous student interested in law to reach out and not be deterred. Haggerty graduated from law school at age 44 and his story is an inspiring one.

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Class of 2021: Meet our UCalgary’s President’s Award winners

President Award winners

Top, from left: Amanda Cha, Cassandra Chisholm and Manpreet Sahota. Bottom, from left: Danielle Whittier and Joel Wong.

In 2008, the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership was established. It recognizes exceptional graduating students who have a record of academic achievement, consistently demonstrate leadership and make significant contributions to our community. The Class of 2021 added five impressive students to the list of award winners.

Read more about the spring 2021 recipients

Read more about the fall 2021 recipients

Introducing UCalgary’s 2021 Schulich Leaders

From left: Malana Loxam, Gabriel Rodriguez, Finn Vamosi, Lujaina Eldelebshany, Aarsh Shah, and Michael Tan.

They began their studies at the University of Calgary in fall 2021 and already have their eyes on improving access to clean water, innovating space exploration through artificial intelligence, and developing drones that can deliver heavy payloads to inaccessible places. These six Faculty of Science and Schulich School of Engineering undergraduates are the recipients of a prestigious scholarship that will help them reach those goals. This article was just their introduction and likely not the last we’ll hear of their accomplishments.

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2021 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards winners announced

Teaching excellence

Students submitted a record 1,356 nominations for faculty members, instructors, and teaching assistants who made a lasting, positive impression over the past year. The 40 winners represent the best of the best of undergraduate teaching at the University of Calgary. 

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