The Hub AU Accolades! Celebrating awards and achievements of our community

A roundup of awards and achievements by Athabasca University faculty, staff, students, and alumni

At Athabasca University (AU), we find inspiration in our students’ journeys toward reaching their highest potential so they can help transform the communities in which they live and serve.

We are equally proud of the work of our researchers, who are tackling important challenges in our communities and beyond, and of the efforts of all team members who support AU’s mission.

Do you know a member of the AU community who deserves a high five? Submit an accolade!

Kudos to the Class of 2024!

Congratulations to the 1,950 graduates in AU’s Class of 2024! Convocation celebrations returned to AU’s home community of Athabasca on June 19-20. Members of the graduating class received 1,957 degrees, diplomas, and university certificates in 43 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels! Check out some other cool facts about the Class of 2024: 

  • 1,918 grads from all 10 Canadian provinces and three territories 
  • 754 grads from Alberta 
  • 32 international grads 
  • 560 unique hometowns where grads live, work, and study 
  • Oldest grad: 76 
  • Youngest grad: 20 

Check out our Convocation 2024 coverage to read inspiring grad stories and learn more about the Class of 2024. 

Class of 2024 graduates throwing their caps in the air

Grads honoured for academic excellence

AU awarded two outstanding students with the Governor General’s Academic Gold and Silver Medals.  

Rebecca Heiser (Doctor of Education in Distance Education ’24) earned the 2024 Governor General’s Gold Medal, which is given to the top graduate student.   

Andrei Afilipoaei (Bachelor of Science ’23) earned the 2024 Governor General’s Silver Medal given to the top undergraduate student. 

Read more about the Governor General’s medal winners 

Governor General Awards winners Andrei Afilipoaei and Rebecca Heiser

Staffer receives research administration award

Jill Calliou (left) receiving the Canadian Association of Research Administrators Spirit of Kindness Award
Jill Calliou (left) receiving the Canadian Association of Research Administrators Spirit of Kindness Award

Jill Calliou, research administrator of external awards, has received the Canadian Association of Research Administrators Spirit of Kindness Award. The award recognizes research administrators who embody and cultivate kindness, caring, and compassion in their workplace and across the Canadian research administration community. 

With over 23 years of external grant administration experience, Calliou supports researchers seeking external funding and is often the go-to and first point of contact for all things research.  

Researcher gets funding for AI classroom tool 

Artificial intelligence researcher Dr. Maiga Chang, a professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology, will have $60,000 over the next two years to develop an AI that can help students learn. 

His project Intelligence Conversational Online Assessor, Companion and Helper (iCOACH): Facilitating Digital Learning and Assessment has been awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant for $40,000 over two years. This will be supplemented with another $20,000 from AU, which will specifically support training highly qualified personnel. 

“We are glad to support this forward-looking research project that leverages artificial intelligence to create an innovative, evidence-informed classroom tool with the potential to catalyze new educational pathways,” said Dr. Andrew Perrin, associate vice-president of research. 

MBA student selected recipient of top 10 Under 40 award 

Current Master of Business Administration student, Ryan May is a recipient of the 2024 SP&T News Top 10 Under 40 award. The award recognizes young security professionals working in Canada. 

“This award inspires me to continue striving for excellence and innovation in our field. I look forward to contributing even more to our community and helping shape the future of our industry,” said May.

AU and Gap Year Association renew partnership 

AU has renewed its partnership with the Canadian Gap Year Association to help make gap years accessible to everyone who wants one. The association supports learners and their families in planning and executing gap years through coaching, certification, and other free resources.  

Related: Fill your gap year with a course from AU 

Young traveller backpacking in Khaosan Road outdoor market in Bangkok, Thailand

MBA grad celebrated for coming out at work 

Reece Tomlinson (Master of Business Administration ’11) has landed on Financial News’s Pride of Finance List, which celebrates 2SLGBTQIA+ icons of finance. Tomlinson is credited for putting diversity on the agenda for their employers.  

Read full Pride for Finance list 

Duggan House Reimagined 

Dr. Henry Tsang's first-place entry in the Duggan House Reimagined sketch competition, created by the Alberta Association of Architects to recognize this historic building.
Dr. Henry Tsang's first-place entry in the Duggan House Reimagined sketch competition, created by the Alberta Association of Architects to recognize this historic building.

Dr. Henry Tsang, architect and associate professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology, won first place in a competition to reimagine an Edmonton landmark. 

The Duggan House Reimagined sketch competition recognizes the historic building in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona neighbourhood, which has been home to the Alberta Association of Architects since 1978. The association is moving to a new home and created the competition to celebrate the evolution and progression of the architecture and design professions in this province. 

The award was announced at the Banff Session conference May 10-11. 

Grad publishes fifth book 

Larry Berglund (Master of Business Administration ’03) has published his fifth book on environmental, social, and governance (ESG),  ESG in Business: How Environmental, Social and Governance Practices are Changing the Purpose of Business. The book is part of Berglund’s legacy project which ensures that the latest strategies, business practices, and technologies are available to readers as ESG practices are in a constant state of evolution.  

AU registrar wins new and emerging leader award 

Registrar Angela Kuzyk was recognized as a new and emerging leader at the 2024 Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada conference in June.  

The New & Emerging Leader Award honours early-career association members or associate members who exhibit exceptional leadership potential and exemplify key competencies in one or more areas of professional practice.  

“In a room full of incredible and passionate leaders who prioritize students, effective processes and innovation in education, I was thrilled to be recognized and considered a leader among my peers,” Kuzyk said. 

MBA grad recognized as top mortgage broker 

Shabnam Gill (Master of Business Administration ’16) has been named one of Canada’s top brokers by the Canadian Mortgage Professional magazine. Gill achieved this success despite the challenging market complexities over the past year and is recognized for her work in areas including client engagement and relationship building, marketing and advertising, partnerships, and customer service.  

AU renews partnership with Black Gold schools 

AU has renewed a partnership with the Black Gold School Division, providing important learning pathways to high school students in Alberta. 

The partnership allows students to choose from a dozen AU courses that count toward both high school and university credits.  

Based in Nisku, Alta., Black Gold serves almost 13,000 students in Leduc, Leduc County, Beaumont, Calmar, Devon, New Sarepta, Thorsby, and Warburg. 

Academic coach receives Dean’s Award

Dr. Oliver Mack, an academic coach in the Faculty of Business, has received the Dean’s Award for Coaching Excellence. Mack also received the award in 2016. 

“Since 2001, I have been teaching in the part-time online MBA program at Athabasca University. These 23 years have shown me how fulfilling it is to constantly get to know new, interesting personalities and perspectives,” said Mack in a recent Linkedin post. 

Dr. Gina Wong celebrating Asian Gold Ribbon Day in 2023

AU prof honoured with CPA award

Dr. Gina Wong, psychologist and professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines is the recipient of the 2024 Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Award for Public, Community Service and Human Rights and Social Justice in Psychology.

“I am deeply humbled in being recognized by CPA for my leadership contributions, community service, impact on Asian mental health literacy, and for being a strong voice in social justice advocacy and human rights. What a true honour,” she said.

Wong has also advanced knowledge in the field of reproductive mental health as a researcher, clinician, author, and as an expert witness in perinatal mental health forensics. She founded the Asian Gold Ribbon Campaign in 2021 to combat anti-Asian racism and promote inclusivity.

Related: Asian Gold Ribbon Campaign combats anti-Asian racism

MBA grad appointed APEGA president

Tracey Stock (Master of Business Administration ’01) has been elected the 105th president of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.

This professional regulatory organization represents engineering and geoscience professionals in Alberta, licenses individuals and companies that want to practise engineering and geoscience in the province, and takes part in the national conversation on engineering and geoscience issues through involved with Engineers Canada and Geoscientists Canada.

Dr. Paul Huebener, professor of English, Athabasca University

English professor publishes new book about sleep

Dr. Paul Huebener, an English professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, has published a book about cultural representations of sleep in Canada, from mattress commercials and comic books to bedtime story phone apps.

The book, Restless in Sleep Country: Imagination and the Cultural Politics of Sleep, guides readers through an imaginative landscape and helps them to develop a critical literacy for sleep.

Alumni award winner adds another honour to her collection

Tannis Liviniuk (Master of Business Administration ’15), who was the 2022 Rising Star Award winner, has recently been named on the Builtworlds 2024 Mavericks 50 List. The award recognizes her as a trendsetter, innovative thinker, and catalyst of change.

In April 2024, Liviniuk was named one of Construction’s Most Influential People of 2024.

Watch: Transforming the construction industry through technology

Two AU staff members win student service awards

Two enrolment services assistants in the Office of the Registrar have been recognized for their work in student services with awards from the Alberta Services for Students Conference Committee.

Bailey Jewell won the Marion Vosahlo Outstanding New Professional Award in recognition of her innovative and creative efforts within student services, her dedication to students, and positive attitude within the academic records team.

Shelley Piliszanski won the Russ Guthrie Contribution to Student Services Award in recognition of her work to continually improve practices to provide the best service to students and her willingness to take on leadership roles to spearhead positive change within Enrolment Services.

AU staff members Shelley Piliszanski (left) and Bailey Jewell celebrating their awards from the Alberta Services for Students Conference Committee.

MBA alum recognized for information security work

Dr. Adrian Mayers (Master of Business Administration ’10), the chief information security officer (CISO) at Premera Blue Cross, was once again named to CISO Connect’s Top 100 CISO awards. This award recognizes individual professional achievements, along with commitment to mentoring.

“I have been blessed to receive this significant accolade again this year,” Mayers said in a recent Linkedin post. “I must never take this wonderful acknowledgment for granted. I will remain humble and thankful and continue to meet this high bar daily.”

Master of Nursing grad publishes research

Jason Cohen (Master of Nursing ’23) published an article aimed at improving nursing education in the online journal Canadian Nurse, which is a publication of the Canadian Nurses Association.

The article How the TIMPIR acronym can serve as an initial response tool and help nursing students in practice outlines how the acronym—which stands for tend, cause, medications, prescriber & primary nurse, interventions, and response—can help nursing students manage abnormal patient findings and take appropriate next steps.

MBA grad named one of Top 50 Women Leaders in Montreal

Poonam Madan (Master of Business Administration ’19), the director of global strategy at Gildan Activewear, Inc., was recently named one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Montreal for 2024 by Women We Admire. This award recognizes talented and skilled leaders who drive the city forward through innovation and forward-thinking strategies. 

“I owe much of my journey to the guidance and support of mentors, fellow colleagues, and leaders who have shaped my vision and leadership style,” she said in a recent LinkedIn post. 

Dr. Henry Tsang, Assistant Professor, RAIC Centre for Architecture, Athabasca University
Dr. Henry Tsang, assistant professor, RAIC Centre for Architecture

Architecture prof appointed to role with RAIC

Architect Dr. Henry Tsang, an associate professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology, has been appointed as one of Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) advisors to professional practice.

This role involves engaging the knowledge and experience of subject matter experts to guide, develop, and maintain appropriate resources to support architectural practice in Canada. The work informs advocacy initiatives and the services RAIC offers with the goal of fostering excellence in the profession.

EdD alum recognized with Ontario award

Dr. Joyce Helmer (Doctor of Education in Distance Education ’12) was recently presented with the Minister of Colleges and Universities’ Award of Excellence in the category of Future-Proofing.

This award recognizes her pivotal role in integrating Traditional Indigenous Knowledge into post-secondary programs in Ontario, empowering future generations.

Helmer was the first person awarded a doctoral degree from Athabasca University.

MBA alum recognized as a leader in health and safety

Helen Knight  (Master of Business Administration ’17) was named one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Health and Safety for 2024 by Thinkers360.

The Thinkers360 website describes her as an accomplished information technology (IT) leader with significant experience leading digital transformation, and her resume includes several entries related to her advocacy and community service. She is the founder and CTO of Helen Knight Nonprofit Consulting and is current spearheading Legal Aid Alberta’s comprehensive IT strategy.


AU Three Minute Thesis competition winner highlights the value of volunteerism

Without volunteers, New Orleans would have looked very different after hurricane Katrina, according to current Doctor of Business Administration student Meggan Franks. Her brief presentation of her research work earned her first prize at AU’s Three-Minute Thesis competition on April 24. 

Without the volunteers who supported New Orleans following the hurricane, the cleanup and reconstruction could not have happened as quickly as it did—or at all. Her research focuses on how volunteer engagement can fuel volunteer retention, generosity, and active participations. 

Congratulations to Franks, and all other competitors—including second-place winner Sara Haney (Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Studies) and third-place winner James Davis (Master of Education). 

Franks will compete at the 2024 Western Regional 3MT Competition, which will be held at UBC Okanagan on May 8 from 3 to 6:15 p.m. (Mountain). Watch the Western Regional 3MT Competition on YouTube!

AU Three Minute Thesis winner Meggan Franks used this image to compare what New Orleans would have looked like after hurricane Katrina with and without volunteers as part of her winning presentation.

AU honorary doctor honoured with NASA award

Congratulations to AU honorary degree recipient Dr. Austin Mardon, who has been honoured with the NASA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Medal. 

The medal is awarded to people for their “outstanding achievement and material contribution” to DEIA in NASA programs. 

He is the director of the Antarctic Institute of Canada, a not-for-profit organization he founded in Edmonton, Alta., after he was part of the 1986-87 Antarctic meteorite expedition for NASA and the National Science Foundation. His team found more than 700 meteorites near the South Pole, and his passion for research has never been quenched.  

He is also a well-known mental health advocate; he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1991. He has not only published academic articles on faith and schizophrenia, homelessness, medication, and income support, he has also provided leadership as a former board member for the Edmonton chapter of the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta.  

Read more about Mardon and his honorary doctor of science degree from AU 

AU alum’s volunteer efforts recognized

Congratulations to Louise Taylor Green (Master of Business Administration ’12), who was presented with Hamilton Heath Sciences Volunteer Association Life Member Award for her years of service on the board of directors. Taylor Green’s contributions include serving as board president and chair, leading several committees, challenging the status quo, and championing equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. 

Researchers to study education approaches to better support rural students dealing with chronic or complex illnesses 

Researchers from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the University of Calgary (U of C) have been awarded $49,000 to study accessible education for students in rural and remote communities who are dealing with chronic or complex illnesses.  

The project team led by Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes will explore current K-12 education accommodation policies across Alberta and devise effective educational strategies for these students. 

The research is being funded by the U of C’s One Child Every Child catalyst grant, a Canada-first research initiative with a vision for all children to be healthy, empowered and thriving. The project team includes AU’s Dr. Eliana El Khoury, Dr. Levina Yuen, and Dr. Jennifer Lock from the U of C. 

DBA student featured speaker at women in utilities conference

Current Doctor of Business Administration student Karen McCarthy will be a keynote speaker at the Power Conference to Advance Women in Utilities in May. Having come a long way from humble beginnings in a small town in Newfoundland and Labrador, to the top of a North American energy company at Fortis Inc., McCarthy will share her key ingredients and processes to reach that success. 

AU researcher publishes book about the invisible parts of our solar system

Dr. Martin Connors, space science researcher and professor of astronomy, mathematics, and physics in the Faculty of Science and Technology, has recently published a new book about our solar system. 

Invisible Solar System focuses not on what is in the solar system, but rather what isn’t. While the planets capture our imagination, the invisible spaces between them are equally interesting. 

This book weaves the history of discovery with clear explanations and pulls back the clock of invisibility under which myriad aspects of the local region of space are connected. 

MBA alum working to support Indigenous entrepreneurship

Tracy Antoine (Master of Business Administration ’13), senior director of Indigenous programs and policies at RBC, has been welcomed to the Pow Wow Pitch Advisory Council 

“For me, this appointment represents an opportunity to amplify the voices of Indigenous entrepreneurs and contribute to meaningful economic empowerment,” she said. “Growing up in Stu’xtews, I understand firsthand the importance of preserving our heritage while embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. By leveraging my experience in Indigenous economic development and banking, I am committed to fostering a supportive environment where Indigenous businesses can thrive, bringing about positive change and prosperity within our communities.”  

Professor shares AI expertise on several podcasts 

Dr. Jon Dron, a professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems and associate dean of learning and assessment in the Faculty of Science and Technology, has recently appeared on several podcasts to share his expertise on artificial intelligence and education. 

On an episode of Learning to AI, Dron discusses generative AI in the context of higher education—a conversation that delves into what makes us uniquely human and what benefits generative AI could bring to learners. 

In an episode of Gettin’ Air with Terry Greene, Dron discusses how education works in the context of his most recent book, How Education Works: Teaching, Technology, and Technique. 

DBA grad publishes book on how to tune up your small business  

Dr. Raewyn Sleeman (Doctor of Business Administration’20), founder of the Marketing Strategy App by Stratagease, has published a new book, Tune-Up Your Small Business: Improve Operations, Increase Profitability.Tune-Up Your Small Business: Improve Operations, Increase Profitability. 

This book focuses on making regular, small changes that can lead to significant improvements over time for small business owners. It is a step-by-step guide to developing business steadily and effectively. 

Master of Nursing grad publishes capstone manuscript in academic journal

Shawnna Khan (Master of Nursing ’24) recently had the manuscript written for her final assignment in Dissemination Strategies (NURS611) published in the latest edition of the Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses and Technologists Journal. 

Her manuscript, A look within: Program-level barriers and strategies to growing home dialysis programs in Canada: A literature review, was written as part of her capstone project in winter 2023. 

“Having my work published in a peer-reviewed journal marks a milestone in my career as a nurse,” said Khan. “It represents not only the culmination of years of hard work and dedication but also a commitment to advancing evidence-based practice and contributing to the body of knowledge in health care. Moving forward, I am excited to continue exploring new research avenues and making meaningful contributions to the field.”  

She currently works as a nurse in Brampton, Ont., as an assistant clinical services manager for hemodialysis. 

MBA alum honoured with UWI Toronto Award

Claudette McGowan (Master of Business Administration ’11), has been honoured with a prestigious UWI Toronto Award. 

McGowan has spearheaded digital transformations and cybersecurity initiatives across prominent organizations like BMO and TD Bank, founded initiatives like the Black Arts & Innovation Expo, and led efforts to break down systemic barriers through organizations like the Coalition of Innovative Leaders Against Racism. 

She is currently the chief executive officer for Protexxa, a Canadian-based cybersecurity software and services company. 

MBA grad named one of Construction’s Most Influential People of 2024

Congratulations to Tannis Liviniuk (Master of Business Administration ’15), a past AU Alumni Award winner, for being recognized as one of SiteNews Construction’s Most Influential People of 2024. 

“I’m truly honoured,” she said in a recent post on Linkedin. “This recognition isn’t just mine; it’s a testament to our incredible team’s hard work and dedication to building the digital future of construction.”  

Liviniuk is the digital advancement executive at Zachry Group. 

Read about Liviniuk’s Rising Star alumni award from AU 

PIELab CFO and BComm grad explains how his early career in ballet prepared him for a life in finance

Charles Berry (Bachelor of Commerce ’11) is the chief financial officer at PieLAB, an investment management company in Queensland, Australia. He chatted with CFO Magazine Australia to discuss his CFO journey, and how his time as an elite ballet dancer prepared him for his life in finance. 


New Canada Research Chair addresses health policy, reducing inequity

Dr. Terra Manca has been appointed Canada Research Chair in Regulation, Social Governance, and Inequities in Health. Manca, an assistant professor and sociologist in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, studies health risks and inequities related to vaccine regulation, social governance, and social inequities. 

As AU’s newest Canada Research Chair, Manca will study vaccination in pregnancy to improve vaccine uptake and explore ways to reduce health inequity for all Canadians. 

Read more about AU’s newest Canada Research Chair

Dr. Terra Manca, Canada Research Chair in Innovative Regulatory Governance and Health Policy
Dr. Terra Manca, Canada Research Chair in Regulation, Social Governance, and Inequities in Health

Mitigating resource development impact on wetland function

Dr. Scott Ketcheson, assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Hydrological Sustainability, was recently awarded nearly $450,000 from Alberta Innovates for the project, Managing to mitigate the influence of resource development on wetland function. 

This funding is in addition to $1.24 million in previous grant money and funding for this project from NSERC, Imperial Oil, and Ducks Unlimited Canada.  

The Aspen Research Project, so named because it’s taking place on Imperial Oil’s Aspen Lease northeast of Fort McMurray, Alta., is focused on looking at resource exploration infrastructure and its interaction with wetland function—specifically, how resource road in the area will impact the movement of water in adjacent wetlands. 

research team in a wetland bog
Graduate students working under the supervision of Dr. Scott Ketcheson, Canada Research Chair in Hydrological Sustainability, work in the field collecting water samples in Alberta’s boreal forest.

2024 Academic Excellence Awards

Each year, Athabasca University recognizes excellence in teaching, leadership, research, and other scholarly activities that support student learning and help advance the university’s mission.

The recipients of the 2024 Academic Excellence Awards have each demonstrated a commitment to learners, to knowledge and discovery, to mentorship, and to service to community that is inspiring and remarkable.

Congratulations to the 2024 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision recipients from the Faculty of Health Disciplines Dr. Karen Cook and Dr. Lynn Corcoran. 
Cook and Corcoran are being honoured in recognition of their consistent high level of service to students, colleagues, team members and their dedication to Athabasca University. 

Congratulations to Dr. Deborah Foster from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, who received the 2024 President’s Award for Tutoring/Mentoring Excellence.

Foster is being honoured for her commitment and her positive encouraging support of her students.

Congratulations to Richard Dixon from the Faculty of Business who recieved the Craig Cunningham Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Dixon is being honoured for his consistently high level of service to students, to his colleagues, team members and his dedication to Athabasca University.

Congratulations to Dr. Kharah Ross from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences who received the President’s Award for Research and Scholarly Excellence. Dr. Ross is being honoured for her exceptional research and scholarly achievements enhancing Athabasca University’s stature as a Comprehensive Academic Research University.

Scholarly excellence in space science

Dr. Martin Connors, professor of astronomy, mathematics, and physics, for earning the President’s Award for Research and Scholarly Excellence. This award honours a faculty member’s exceptional research and scholarly achievements, enhancing AU’s stature as one of Alberta’s four comprehensive academic research universities. 

Connors’s research focuses on auroral effects in space weather, and the impact these phenomena can have on ground infrastructure like power networks. He also works in observational astronomy at the Athabasca University Geophysical Observatory. 

aurora borealis over AU observatory
Northern lights captured in the early morning by 360-degree cameras at an AU observatory.

Small organisms with a big impact

Dr. Srijak Bhatnagar, assistant professor of computational biology, recently joined the Arctic Minded podcast for an episode, Microbes: What are they and what can they do? 

Although these tiny organisms play many roles in the ecosystem, we’re only just beginning to understand their potential—from producing oxygen to degrading oil, they play an essential role in sustaining our environment. 

Bhatnagar’s research focuses on studying ecosystems from a microbial perspective and leveraging microbes for a sustainable environment, with a focus on monitoring a remediation. 

MBA student receives prestigious award at Waste Management

Congratulations to current Master of Business Administration student Krista Doherty for being awarded the Circle of Excellence Award at Waste Management (WM).  

The environment [at WM] fosters innovation, encourages taking bold steps, and supports personal and professional development. I am grateful to be surrounded by such talented and driven individuals who push boundaries and strive for excellence every day,” said Doherty.  

MBA grad featured on the Canadian Indigenous SME

Carey Calder (Master of Business Administration ’21) is being featured in the special March-April issue of the Canadian Indigenous SME. The issues explores the journeys of six Indigenous women in business.

AU architecture prof and honorary doctor to serve on award jury

Dr. Henry Tsang, associate professor of architecture, and Wanda Dalla Costa, architect and 2023 AU honorary degree recipient, have been invited to serve on the jury of Canada’s most prestigious architecture awards. 

The Governor General’s Medals in Architecture recognize and celebrate outstanding design in recently completed built projects of any size, type, and location by Canadian architects. 

MBA grad represents Canada’s delegation at the United Nations’ Commission

Laurie Wang (Master of Business Administration ’22), represented Canada at the 68th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. “Amazing to be part of worldwide discussions on poverty and gender equality, said Wang, in a LinkedIn post.

68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women
Image: UN Women

Faculty of Business associate dean awarded CPA Education Teaching Award

Dr. Mark Morpurgo, associate dean of undergraduate programs and undergraduate program director in the Faculty of Business, has received the CPA Education Foundation Teaching Award 

 The award recognizes educators from Alberta post-secondaries and the University of Saskatchewan who have contributed significantly to the teaching and learning development of accounting students through initiatives such as innovative instruction, curriculum development and overall service to students.  

“Given the nature of our individualized learning model, finding innovative ways to help our students succeed with complex concepts like accounting, keep them engaged, and have them feel that we are is vital and should be at the core of what we do,” said Morpurgo. “As a result, I am both thankful and humbled to receive the award.”  

Centre for Architecture project included in international book

In 2023, faculty and students from Athabasca University’s Centre for Architecture worked on a design for a fictitious Athabasca Community Cultural Centre, applying approaches for regenerative design. 

This project was selected by the International Union of Architects to be published in their UIA Guidebook for the 2030 Agenda, a competition of global best practice architectural projects that exemplify the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This was the only Canadian project selected! 

The guidebook was launched March 22, 2024, in Paris, France. 

MBA grad appointed president of software development group

Congratulations to Chelsey Goossens (Master of Business Administration ’22) on their new role as president of Explorer Software. Goossens’s vision for the company is to “continue to innovate and support [their] customers as they build thriving construction businesses.” 

Grad brings sports and community together

Reed Clarke (Master of Business Administration ’18) has launched the not-for profit Sports Edmonton. The organizations mission is “to be the trusted partner, advocate, educator, and leader of all things sport and recreation in Edmonton through an inclusive and accessible manner.” 

MBA alum starting new role as new economic development officer

Congratulations to Martin Chitohwa (Master of Business Administration ’21) who has been appointed the new economic development officer for the town of Fort Frances. Chitohwa takes great pride in the area and is eager to work with community members in development of its offerings.

MBA Grad Satvir Jatana

MBA grad selected as president and CEO of Manitoba Public Insurance

Satvir Jatana (Master of Business Administration ’17) has been selected as the new president and CEO of Manitoba Public Insurance. Guided by advice received from various stakeholders, Jatana will focus on setting a new corporate direction for MPI.

AU grad receives Chief Information Officer (CISO) Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations to Greg Murray (Master of Business Administration ’04) 2024 CISO Lifetime Achievement Award who was selected to receive the 2024 Chief Information Security Officer Lifetime Achievement Award by siberX . “This award represents something much larger than my individual contributions to cyber security. It signifies all the people, organizations, governing bodies and partners that have come to collectively help protect Canadians and our communities,” said Murray.

AU alum and mentor featured on women’s podcast

Harriet Thornhill, Master of Business Administration ’04 grad and one of the most influential Black Canadians,  was recently featured in The Honest Talk. The podcast connects, inspires, and motivates women to seek more in their careers and personal lives.

Listen to Thornhill share her insights, experiences, and wisdom

Krystal Zahara, Athabasca Cares Community Housing Society founder, earns provincial honour

Krystal Zahara, who works at AU in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, recently received an Alberta Blue Cross Community Wellbeing Award for her volunteer work founding the Athabasca Cares Community Housing Society. She is one of 75 Albertans who earned the honour, which celebrates Alberta’s exceptional volunteers making a difference in the health and wellness of Albertans.

Read more about Zahara’s work with the Athabasca Cares Community Housing Society

MBA grad publishes fourth book

Mike Mack (Master of Business Administration ’02) has leveraged almost 20 years of networking with successful business leaders into a new book.

Lunch with Leaders: Real Stories of Pivotal Moments for Today’s Executive features stories and perspectives of 12 respected Canadian executives.

“The book isn’t about me. It’s about leadership and the journey,” said Mack, founder and CEO of X5 Management in Edmonton. “Everybody’s got a story. That was really the learning for me, and I was privileged enough to have an opportunity to share that through their words.”

Read more about Mack and Lunch with Leaders

New book explores impact of user-generated content on journalism

Dr. Michael Lithgow, an associate professor of communication and media studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, has published a new book that explores how user-generated content has changed journalism and how we consume news.

Lithgow and Dr. Michèle Martin of Carleton University co-edited Eyewitness Textures: User-Generated Content and Journalism in the Twenty-First Century.

“Audiences are drawn to the sense of immediacy that grainy, shaky cellphone footage gives—that sense of somebody being there, not even as a journalist but as an eyewitness. User-generated content has a heightened sense of authenticity.”

Read the full Q&A article with Lithgow

AU prof recognized for AI ethics work

Congratulations to Dr. Stella George, an associate professor at the School of Computing and Information Systems in the Faculty of Science and Technology, for being recognized in the 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics list for 2024.

This list has been published annually since 2018 to recognize the rising stars and pioneers in AI ethics, and to increase recognition, representation, and empowerment of women in this space.

George’s research focuses on ethical issues related to AI, including the social impacts of AI and the use of AI and adaptive technologies in education.

MBA grad appointed to new role at Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Denise Pothier sitting in natureDenise Pothier (Master of Business Administration ’18) is the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’ new chief operation officer. Pothier is of French Acadian and Mi’kmaq heritage, and is committed to the organization’s mission of removing systemic barriers for Indigenous businesses across Canada. In prior roles, Pothier was selected as Stantec’s first-ever vice-president of Indigenous relations.

In 2018, the Dutch organization, Inspiring Fifty, named her one of Canada’s 50 Most Inspiring Women in Technology. That same year, she was named one of Canada’s most powerful women by the Women’s Executive Network.

Related: Denise Pothier—Connecting the dots between diversity and productivity

AU profs publish chapter in new anthropology book

Black and white sketch of wild animals AU’s Dr. Janelle Baker, associate professor of anthropology, Dr. Loreli Hanson, associate professor of environmental studies, and Carleton University’s Dr. Zoe Todd have published a chapter, “Restor(y)ing Land Use Governance and Bull Trout Wellbeing in Alberta, Canada” in the new book Lost Kingdom: Animal Death in the Anthropocene.

The chapter examines how stories about the Alberta bull trout, especially those told by white settlers through colonial or scientific viewpoints, can contribute to harming the bull trout and the Indigenous communities connected to them.

MBA grad selected for Canadian Business for Social Responsibility Sustainable Procurement Fellowship

Kevin Viflanzoff, (Master of Business Administration ’15) is among the 40 individuals selected for the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) Sustainable Procurement Fellowship.

CBSR  focuses on sharing practical tools and best practices to seamlessly integrate sustainability into a company’s sourcing processes.

MBA grad inspires readers to find strength in their adversities

Author Mariat Jibril

Mariat Jibril (Master of Business Administration ’17) publishes an inspiring memoir about overcoming pain and trauma and embracing love, family, and self-discovery in Imade: Whispers of Hope.

Half of the sales proceeds will be going towards two non-profits.

AU alum named Commanding Officer of Prince Edward Island RCMP

Kevin Lewis (Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice’16) has been named the new commanding officer of P.E.I. RCMP. Lewis has been with the RCMP since 2002 and has been in P.E.I. since 2020.

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