UAlberta Arts

A collection of all things Arts at the University of Alberta

1 note

Danisha Bhaloo, Bachelor of Arts ‘07 with a Major in Criminology
Current job & title: Manager of Development, Boys & Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area (BGCBigs)

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree? 
A: I chose an Arts Degree because I wanted to study people and their behaviours, not scientifically, but with that humanity factor.  Criminology was a program that was unique to UofA and didn’t require you to take a statistics course (I’m not a big math fan) so I figured I’d give it a shot..and it was the best decision I ever made.

Q: How has it been valuable to you? 
A: The small class sizes, the professors that specialized in various issues within criminology and the internships within the field was probably the most valuable part of the degree. I gained practical experience, connected with professionals and networked my way to a senior management position in one of Edmonton’s largest not for profit organization.

Q: How did you get your job?
A: I was a little sister growing up with the agency and throughout university, volunteered and maintained connections with the staff at BGCBigs.  A couple years after my graduation from UofA, I decided to move to Montreal and they referred me to Big Brothers Big Sisters there.  I spent almost four years working with children and youth at risk and practicing my French.  In September, I was contemplating moving back to Edmonton and the Executive Director called me up and offered me a job, which cinched my decision!

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A? 
A: Bryan Hogeveen.  Not only was he a great prof, he was actively involved in the community and recruited me to the Board of Directors for the Edmonton John Howard Society, where I was just nominated as a Board Member last week (again)!

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?
A: Balancing between my practicums, my classes and my social life.  Campus experience isn’t all about just the grades, it’s about the friendships you make too.  I realized that most people don’t ask what your GPA was, but rather, what did you experience or learn in your 4 years at UofA.  It’s a much more abstract and broad question.

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?
A: Yes!

(email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch!)

Danisha Bhaloo, Bachelor of Arts ‘07 with a Major in Criminology

Current job & title: Manager of Development, Boys & Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area (BGCBigs)

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree? 

A: I chose an Arts Degree because I wanted to study people and their behaviours, not scientifically, but with that humanity factor.  Criminology was a program that was unique to UofA and didn’t require you to take a statistics course (I’m not a big math fan) so I figured I’d give it a shot..and it was the best decision I ever made.

Q: How has it been valuable to you? 

A: The small class sizes, the professors that specialized in various issues within criminology and the internships within the field was probably the most valuable part of the degree. I gained practical experience, connected with professionals and networked my way to a senior management position in one of Edmonton’s largest not for profit organization.

Q: How did you get your job?

A: I was a little sister growing up with the agency and throughout university, volunteered and maintained connections with the staff at BGCBigs.  A couple years after my graduation from UofA, I decided to move to Montreal and they referred me to Big Brothers Big Sisters there.  I spent almost four years working with children and youth at risk and practicing my French.  In September, I was contemplating moving back to Edmonton and the Executive Director called me up and offered me a job, which cinched my decision!

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A? 

A: Bryan Hogeveen.  Not only was he a great prof, he was actively involved in the community and recruited me to the Board of Directors for the Edmonton John Howard Society, where I was just nominated as a Board Member last week (again)!

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

A: Balancing between my practicums, my classes and my social life.  Campus experience isn’t all about just the grades, it’s about the friendships you make too.  I realized that most people don’t ask what your GPA was, but rather, what did you experience or learn in your 4 years at UofA.  It’s a much more abstract and broad question.

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

A: Yes!

(email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch!)

2 notes


Meet alumna Carmen Douville.
Major and year of graduation: Bachelor of Design, 2005 Current job & title: Urbanist and co-founder of Loyal Loot Collective
 Q : Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?
A: I kind of fell upon my Arts degree. When I initially applied for University, I applied for Sciences to hopefully continue onto Medicine as well as Visual Communication Design. I was accepted to both programs, but then decided to take a year off. During this year off I longed for school and applied for a general BA. This first year of a general BA allowed me to explore all my options which led me to Industrial Design, which I completed my Undergrad in, as well as Human Geography, which I completed my Masters in many years later.
 Q : How has it been valuable to you?
A: Everything from life skills, exploring the world, as well as providing me an opportunity to start a business with my friends.
 Q : How did you get your job?
A: One I started with my three dearest friends, whom I endured my undergrad studies with. My other job is still in the making. :)
 Q : Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?
A: I was fortunate to have far too many.
 Q : What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?
A: Taking chances and experimenting. Also, finding a network which supported me and helped me foster my visions and dreams.
 Q : Can students contact you to ask about your career?
A: Yes [Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch]
[Are you an Arts alum? We want you! Contact foa@ualberta.ca if you’d be willing to be the subject of one of these profiles.]

Meet alumna Carmen Douville.

Major and year of graduation: Bachelor of Design, 2005
Current job & title: Urbanist and co-founder of Loyal Loot Collective


Q : Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?

A: I kind of fell upon my Arts degree. When I initially applied for University, I applied for Sciences to hopefully continue onto Medicine as well as Visual Communication Design. I was accepted to both programs, but then decided to take a year off. During this year off I longed for school and applied for a general BA. This first year of a general BA allowed me to explore all my options which led me to Industrial Design, which I completed my Undergrad in, as well as Human Geography, which I completed my Masters in many years later.


Q : How has it been valuable to you?

A: Everything from life skills, exploring the world, as well as providing me an opportunity to start a business with my friends.


Q : How did you get your job?

A: One I started with my three dearest friends, whom I endured my undergrad studies with. My other job is still in the making. :)


Q : Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?

A: I was fortunate to have far too many.


Q : What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

A: Taking chances and experimenting. Also, finding a network which supported me and helped me foster my visions and dreams.


Q : Can students contact you to ask about your career?

A: Yes [Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch]

[Are you an Arts alum? We want you! Contact foa@ualberta.ca if you’d be willing to be the subject of one of these profiles.]

Filed under ualberta

0 notes


Meet alumnus and Trudeau Scholar Logan Mardhani-Bayne

Major and year of graduation: ’06 BA, History
Current job & title: History PhD student, Yale University

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?
For me, there was no real question about it. The Arts are where we ask the big questions, where we challenge our basic assumptions about our selves and our society, where we define and articulate our values. Providing space for that kind of thinking is, to me, the most important thing a university can do.
Q: How has it been valuable to you?
More than anything, my Arts degree gave me the tools and skills to ask questions: how to reframe problems, to generate creative alternatives, to interrogate assumptions, and of course, to express myself in ways that are intelligible to multiple audiences (the public, the policy communities, my academic colleagues, etc.). These skills have been foundational for all of my subsequent work.

Q: How did you get your job?
I’m currently a graduate student at Yale University, but before returning to grad school full-time, I’d already had a pretty varied career! I started my career working in municipal politics in Edmonton, and I broke into that field as a direct result of relationships I formed through the U of A’s Community Service Learning (CSL) program. Through that work, in turn, I built relationships that helped me transition into working in international health policy, before returning to grad school to address urban governance issues. My trajectory hasn’t been straight, but it has crystallized the importance for me that my work speak to non-academic as well as academic communities.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?
I was fortunate to have many wonderful mentors, especially in the History department: Sarah Carter, Dennis Sweeney, Andrew Gow, Francis Landy. Together, these mentors taught me the value of intellectual creativity, audacity (even irreverence!), rigour, and also humility.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?
Participating in the CSL program during my final year. My time in CSL, and the doors it opened for me, absolutely transformed my sense of what academic work could be and what I wanted my own work to accomplish. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?
Of course! I would be happy to chat about academic or non-academic careers! [Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch!]

[Check out Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 profile on Logan]

Are you an Arts alum? We want you! Contact foa@ualberta.ca if you’d be willing to be the subject of one of these profiles.

Meet alumnus and Trudeau Scholar Logan Mardhani-Bayne

Major and year of graduation: ’06 BA, History

Current job & title: History PhD student, Yale University

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?

For me, there was no real question about it. The Arts are where we ask the big questions, where we challenge our basic assumptions about our selves and our society, where we define and articulate our values. Providing space for that kind of thinking is, to me, the most important thing a university can do.


Q: How has it been valuable to you?

More than anything, my Arts degree gave me the tools and skills to ask questions: how to reframe problems, to generate creative alternatives, to interrogate assumptions, and of course, to express myself in ways that are intelligible to multiple audiences (the public, the policy communities, my academic colleagues, etc.). These skills have been foundational for all of my subsequent work.

Q: How did you get your job?

I’m currently a graduate student at Yale University, but before returning to grad school full-time, I’d already had a pretty varied career! I started my career working in municipal politics in Edmonton, and I broke into that field as a direct result of relationships I formed through the U of A’s Community Service Learning (CSL) program. Through that work, in turn, I built relationships that helped me transition into working in international health policy, before returning to grad school to address urban governance issues. My trajectory hasn’t been straight, but it has crystallized the importance for me that my work speak to non-academic as well as academic communities.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?

I was fortunate to have many wonderful mentors, especially in the History department: Sarah Carter, Dennis Sweeney, Andrew Gow, Francis Landy. Together, these mentors taught me the value of intellectual creativity, audacity (even irreverence!), rigour, and also humility.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

Participating in the CSL program during my final year. My time in CSL, and the doors it opened for me, absolutely transformed my sense of what academic work could be and what I wanted my own work to accomplish. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

Of course! I would be happy to chat about academic or non-academic careers! [Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch!]

[Check out Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 profile on Logan]

Are you an Arts alum? We want you! Contact foa@ualberta.ca if you’d be willing to be the subject of one of these profiles.

0 notes

Meet alumna and Trudeau Scholar Leah Trueblood:


Major and year of graduation: BA Honors Philosophy
Current job & title: Law Student, the London School of Economics.

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?

I did an arts degree because the questions being asked in arts courses (philosophy, political science etc.) were the questions that had always interested me. Looking back, I’m exceptionally lucky to have entered a university where you don’t declare a major right away. I think that’s absolutely the right way to learn. I love legal philosophy, but I would not know why I love philosophy had I not had the opportunity to try many different disciplines. I’m so grateful I choose an arts degree, particularly so at the UofA.

Q: How has it been valuable to you?

It’s been both intrinsically and instrumentally valuable. Intrinsically it was a wonderful experience in which I was given the intellectual tools to flourish. I was also invited to begin to figure out what sort of person I want to be, although obviously that process is ongoing and very much unfinished. Instrumentally, I defy anyone to demonstrate that an arts degree is not valuable. You learn how to work hard and think for yourself, lessons of obvious value.

Q: How did you get your job?

I’m not currently working for a salary, but my last job was as a research assistant for my Public Law Professor Dr Gregoire Webber at the LSE. He was very kind and offered me a job after I had been asking questions in lectures and seminars.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?

I could not possibly list them all, there are too many to count. Our Philosophy department is full of extraordinary people, I’m so proud my degree is from the UofA. With reluctance I indentify groups of people:
(i)                  Don Carmichael in Political Science because he is so committed to making students think about what sorts of people they want to be.
(ii)                Wes Cooper taught me legal philosophy and I knew within about 5 minutes of starting the class that jurisprudence was what I wanted to do. He also supervised my honors thesis. It was so bad that he had every right to throw me in a pit of alligators, but he was very kind about it.
(iii)               All the folks at CSL. Sara Dorow, Alison Taylor and Lorraine Woollard taught my Spring Immersion in Fort McMurray and are goddesses. It’s a wonderful program and we are fortunate to have it at the UofA.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

There were too many different and important experiences to pick out one, but because I’m on a soapbox about this lately: running for the SU. I strongly encourage everyone, especially women as there have not been enough lately, to run. It’s tough to put yourself out there, but absolutely worth it.

 

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

Always. About student government, legal philosophy, or anything at all that would be helpful.

[Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch!]

Are you an Arts alum? We want you! Contact foa@ualberta.ca if you’d be willing to be the subject of one of these profiles.

Meet alumna and Trudeau Scholar Leah Trueblood:

Major and year of graduation: BA Honors Philosophy

Current job & title: Law Student, the London School of Economics.

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?

I did an arts degree because the questions being asked in arts courses (philosophy, political science etc.) were the questions that had always interested me. Looking back, I’m exceptionally lucky to have entered a university where you don’t declare a major right away. I think that’s absolutely the right way to learn. I love legal philosophy, but I would not know why I love philosophy had I not had the opportunity to try many different disciplines. I’m so grateful I choose an arts degree, particularly so at the UofA.

Q: How has it been valuable to you?

It’s been both intrinsically and instrumentally valuable. Intrinsically it was a wonderful experience in which I was given the intellectual tools to flourish. I was also invited to begin to figure out what sort of person I want to be, although obviously that process is ongoing and very much unfinished. Instrumentally, I defy anyone to demonstrate that an arts degree is not valuable. You learn how to work hard and think for yourself, lessons of obvious value.

Q: How did you get your job?

I’m not currently working for a salary, but my last job was as a research assistant for my Public Law Professor Dr Gregoire Webber at the LSE. He was very kind and offered me a job after I had been asking questions in lectures and seminars.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?

I could not possibly list them all, there are too many to count. Our Philosophy department is full of extraordinary people, I’m so proud my degree is from the UofA. With reluctance I indentify groups of people:

(i)                  Don Carmichael in Political Science because he is so committed to making students think about what sorts of people they want to be.

(ii)                Wes Cooper taught me legal philosophy and I knew within about 5 minutes of starting the class that jurisprudence was what I wanted to do. He also supervised my honors thesis. It was so bad that he had every right to throw me in a pit of alligators, but he was very kind about it.

(iii)               All the folks at CSL. Sara Dorow, Alison Taylor and Lorraine Woollard taught my Spring Immersion in Fort McMurray and are goddesses. It’s a wonderful program and we are fortunate to have it at the UofA.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

There were too many different and important experiences to pick out one, but because I’m on a soapbox about this lately: running for the SU. I strongly encourage everyone, especially women as there have not been enough lately, to run. It’s tough to put yourself out there, but absolutely worth it.

 

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

Always. About student government, legal philosophy, or anything at all that would be helpful.

[Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch!]

Are you an Arts alum? We want you! Contact foa@ualberta.ca if you’d be willing to be the subject of one of these profiles.

0 notes

Photo credit: Ed Kaiser
Meet alumna Paula Simons
Q: How has it been valuable to you?
My Arts degree exposed me to the great minds and great thoughts of the world. It gave me a foundation of cultural literacy. It taught me to think and read critically. It taught me to write. It taught me to ask questions. I use those “job skills” in my professional life every day. But far more importantly, my arts degree taught me to think seriously about ethics and morality and how to live in the world. I use those skills every waking moment.
Q: How did you get your job?
I fell into journalism by accident. While I was a U of A student, I was a very active member of the debate club. In that role, I was invited to be a regular guest panelist on a local current events TV show called Point of View. It was fascinating introduction to the world of journalism. After that, I started writing a bit for The Gateway. I got a summer job as a production assistant at CHQT Radio. After that, I decided to take a Master’s degree in journalism. With my U of A degree, I was accepted at Stanford University in California – and I was lucky enough to win scholarships to pay my tuition! 
(There were actually two U of A arts grads in my class of 15, by the way – which is rather extraordinary, given that we had students from China, India, Great Britain and across the US. No other university was represented twice in our class, if you follow my logic.) 
I took a master’s degree at Stanford, and from there, won a fellowship at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida. 
When I ran out of places to go to school, I returned to Edmonton. I worked first at Alberta Report magazine, and later spent seven years as a producer with CBC Radio, including a two-year stint in Toronto on The Arts Tonight, with Shelagh Rogers and Eleanor Wachtel. I used my English degree every day, you might say. I started at the Edmonton Journal in November of 1995. I’ve been the City Columnist here since September, 2001.
Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?
I had so many wonderful professors – including Greg Hollingshead, Juliet McMaster, Joan Crowther, James Forrest, and Mort Ross. (I also had a very complicated love-hate relationship with my Milton professor, the terrifying but brilliant Christopher Q. Drummond; I wouldn’t call him my favourite professor, but he was arguably the one from whom I learned the most about the close reading of complex texts.) But I’d have to say my very favourite prof was Henry Kreisel, who was then a University Scholar, teaching in the Department of Comparative Literature. I was indeed blessed and honoured to have the chance to study with such a remarkable writer, scholar and mensch. He was a wonderful mentor. Just looking at that list reminds me how lucky I was to study at the U of A in a true golden era.
Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?
Well, it was in the course of my studies that I met my husband, who was a U of A Arts student, and a member of the U of A Debate Club – so marital etiquette would certainly dictate that I deem that my best choice and experience! Other than that, I’d say my best choice was to enter an honours program, which gave me the chance to study in-depth and to be part of a wonderful, supportive student community. 
Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career? 
Absolutely. [email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch.]

Photo credit: Ed Kaiser

Meet alumna Paula Simons

Q: How has it been valuable to you?

My Arts degree exposed me to the great minds and great thoughts of the world. It gave me a foundation of cultural literacy. It taught me to think and read critically. It taught me to write. It taught me to ask questions. I use those “job skills” in my professional life every day. But far more importantly, my arts degree taught me to think seriously about ethics and morality and how to live in the world. I use those skills every waking moment.

Q: How did you get your job?

I fell into journalism by accident. While I was a U of A student, I was a very active member of the debate club. In that role, I was invited to be a regular guest panelist on a local current events TV show called Point of View. It was fascinating introduction to the world of journalism. After that, I started writing a bit for The Gateway. I got a summer job as a production assistant at CHQT Radio. After that, I decided to take a Master’s degree in journalism. With my U of A degree, I was accepted at Stanford University in California – and I was lucky enough to win scholarships to pay my tuition!

(There were actually two U of A arts grads in my class of 15, by the way – which is rather extraordinary, given that we had students from China, India, Great Britain and across the US. No other university was represented twice in our class, if you follow my logic.)

I took a master’s degree at Stanford, and from there, won a fellowship at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida.

When I ran out of places to go to school, I returned to Edmonton. I worked first at Alberta Report magazine, and later spent seven years as a producer with CBC Radio, including a two-year stint in Toronto on The Arts Tonight, with Shelagh Rogers and Eleanor Wachtel. I used my English degree every day, you might say. I started at the Edmonton Journal in November of 1995. I’ve been the City Columnist here since September, 2001.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?

I had so many wonderful professors – including Greg Hollingshead, Juliet McMaster, Joan Crowther, James Forrest, and Mort Ross. (I also had a very complicated love-hate relationship with my Milton professor, the terrifying but brilliant Christopher Q. Drummond; I wouldn’t call him my favourite professor, but he was arguably the one from whom I learned the most about the close reading of complex texts.) But I’d have to say my very favourite prof was Henry Kreisel, who was then a University Scholar, teaching in the Department of Comparative Literature. I was indeed blessed and honoured to have the chance to study with such a remarkable writer, scholar and mensch. He was a wonderful mentor. Just looking at that list reminds me how lucky I was to study at the U of A in a true golden era.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

Well, it was in the course of my studies that I met my husband, who was a U of A Arts student, and a member of the U of A Debate Club – so marital etiquette would certainly dictate that I deem that my best choice and experience! Other than that, I’d say my best choice was to enter an honours program, which gave me the chance to study in-depth and to be part of a wonderful, supportive student community.

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

Absolutely. [email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch.]

1 note

Meet alumna Mari Sasano

PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Parker
 
Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?
A: It’s funny you’d ask! I was pretty good at most things in high school and I had very wide-ranging interests, so I signed on for an Arts degree because it seemed to be able to accommodate my dilettantism. In my first year, I took quite a few science courses as my options (zoology, botany, psychology). I took quite a few anthropology courses, classics, French. But when it came down to it, I just wanted to read a lot of books (and I DIDN’T want to do any chemistry) so I went the whole-hog with the honours English program.

Q: How has it been valuable to you?
A: Reading and writing constantly not only gave me the communications skills that I use daily, but it also made me capable of analyzing information quickly. It’s the cliche of “critical thinking skills,” but I’m always surprised at how many people can’t read a text and understand the main point of it.

There’s really something to be said for being well-read, too: so much of life is about finding connections with people, and being adaptable, smart, quick-witted and well-rounded in one’s education enables a certain degree of social mobility.

Q: How did you get your job?
A: Haha! I created it myself. The economy was bad in the ’90s, so my choices were: 1. be underemployed 2. work hard at something I didn’t enjoy or 3. start my own business. I chose to start freelancing after experiencing 1 and 2. The connections I made at school really helped me along, and some of the professors I had were very encouraging.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?
I had many! Sister Beverley was a wonderful honours seminar professor who was so kind to me when I felt like I was struggling early on. Heather Zwicker showed me that I understood more than I thought I did, and that my opinions matter. Janice Williamson had our entire class organize a conference on Alberta writing — the beginning of my festival organizing career! She also encouraged me to write beyond the academic and to allow myself some creativity in my work. Every English department prof treated me like a colleague. That meant a lot to me.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?
A: The best choice I made was to treat university as a way of satisfying my own curiosity rather than a way to get credentials or job skills. Learning how to find things out, learning how to make a persuasive argument, and learning how to take disparate information and synthesize it into something usable go beyond “job skills”. I’m not interested in being just a worker. Being an explorer is more important!

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?
A: Yes! mari.sasano@gmail.com

Meet alumna Mari Sasano

PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Parker

 

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?

A: It’s funny you’d ask! I was pretty good at most things in high school and I had very wide-ranging interests, so I signed on for an Arts degree because it seemed to be able to accommodate my dilettantism. In my first year, I took quite a few science courses as my options (zoology, botany, psychology). I took quite a few anthropology courses, classics, French. But when it came down to it, I just wanted to read a lot of books (and I DIDN’T want to do any chemistry) so I went the whole-hog with the honours English program.

Q: How has it been valuable to you?

A: Reading and writing constantly not only gave me the communications skills that I use daily, but it also made me capable of analyzing information quickly. It’s the cliche of “critical thinking skills,” but I’m always surprised at how many people can’t read a text and understand the main point of it.

There’s really something to be said for being well-read, too: so much of life is about finding connections with people, and being adaptable, smart, quick-witted and well-rounded in one’s education enables a certain degree of social mobility.

Q: How did you get your job?

A: Haha! I created it myself. The economy was bad in the ’90s, so my choices were: 1. be underemployed 2. work hard at something I didn’t enjoy or 3. start my own business. I chose to start freelancing after experiencing 1 and 2. The connections I made at school really helped me along, and some of the professors I had were very encouraging.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?

I had many! Sister Beverley was a wonderful honours seminar professor who was so kind to me when I felt like I was struggling early on. Heather Zwicker showed me that I understood more than I thought I did, and that my opinions matter. Janice Williamson had our entire class organize a conference on Alberta writing — the beginning of my festival organizing career! She also encouraged me to write beyond the academic and to allow myself some creativity in my work. Every English department prof treated me like a colleague. That meant a lot to me.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

A: The best choice I made was to treat university as a way of satisfying my own curiosity rather than a way to get credentials or job skills. Learning how to find things out, learning how to make a persuasive argument, and learning how to take disparate information and synthesize it into something usable go beyond “job skills”. I’m not interested in being just a worker. Being an explorer is more important!

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

A: Yes! mari.sasano@gmail.com

0 notes


Meet alumnus Todd Hirsch
Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?
I started my time at the U of A originally in the Faculty of Science as a Math major. But in my second year, I realized that my ability and interest in math was less than it was in economics—so I switched majors and into the Faculty of Arts.
Q: How has it been valuable to you?
My Arts degree from the U of A has been extremely valuable. It opened all sorts of doors into jobs for which I never would have been eligible—even if they were entry level jobs at the time. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Alberta’s economy was not very good. But with my Arts degree, I was always able to find work in my field of interest. But the degree did more than just get me a job. It has shaped the way I see the world, how I think more critically about issues. A degree is something far more than a vocational job ticket. It actually changes the way you think.
Q: How did you get your job?
My very first job after my degree was a summer student position with the Canada West Foundation in Calgary. That was the summer of 1989. But over that summer, my employer liked my work and there was a part-time opening available for the autumn of that year. So they invited me to stay! I ended up continuing with them for seven more years.
Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?
There were so many that I really liked, but my favourite had to have been Dr. Michael Percy. At the time he taught in the Department of Economics, but has since served in other roles at the U of A including Dean of the Faculty of Business. I remember him taking time in the hallways to talk with me—and as an undergraduate student, I felt really honoured! He ended up being one of my professors to write a letter of recommendation for my admission into graduate school.
Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?
Of course I enjoyed my courses and studying economics. But one of my best experiences was something completely unrelated to my major. For four years, I sang in the U of A Concert Choir, a course actually offered in the Department of Music. It provided a great social network for me, and some of the people I am still in contact with, 23 years later! I feel it is very important for students to find some social connectivity during their degree—and the U of A made it easy for me to do that.
Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?
Sure! [Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch]

Meet alumnus Todd Hirsch

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?

I started my time at the U of A originally in the Faculty of Science as a Math major. But in my second year, I realized that my ability and interest in math was less than it was in economics—so I switched majors and into the Faculty of Arts.

Q: How has it been valuable to you?

My Arts degree from the U of A has been extremely valuable. It opened all sorts of doors into jobs for which I never would have been eligible—even if they were entry level jobs at the time. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Alberta’s economy was not very good. But with my Arts degree, I was always able to find work in my field of interest. But the degree did more than just get me a job. It has shaped the way I see the world, how I think more critically about issues. A degree is something far more than a vocational job ticket. It actually changes the way you think.

Q: How did you get your job?

My very first job after my degree was a summer student position with the Canada West Foundation in Calgary. That was the summer of 1989. But over that summer, my employer liked my work and there was a part-time opening available for the autumn of that year. So they invited me to stay! I ended up continuing with them for seven more years.

Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?

There were so many that I really liked, but my favourite had to have been Dr. Michael Percy. At the time he taught in the Department of Economics, but has since served in other roles at the U of A including Dean of the Faculty of Business. I remember him taking time in the hallways to talk with me—and as an undergraduate student, I felt really honoured! He ended up being one of my professors to write a letter of recommendation for my admission into graduate school.

Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?

Of course I enjoyed my courses and studying economics. But one of my best experiences was something completely unrelated to my major. For four years, I sang in the U of A Concert Choir, a course actually offered in the Department of Music. It provided a great social network for me, and some of the people I am still in contact with, 23 years later! I feel it is very important for students to find some social connectivity during their degree—and the U of A made it easy for me to do that.

Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

Sure! [Email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch]

0 notes


Meet alumna Jenna Livergant.
Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?A: I initially wanted to go into Business: I took all of the pre-requisites and was fairly convinced that I would get my BCom, but when it actually came time to apply, I realized I wasn’t nearly as interested in any of my Business pre-reqs as I was in my Humanities courses. I had a very encouraging English Lit prof. and realized that was what I wanted to get my degree in. 
Q: How has it been valuable to you?A: My Arts degree has been invaluable. Although I wouldn’t say it has necessarily given me direct skills for the job market, my courses prepared me with critical thinking, writing and editing skills that I use on a daily basis. 
Q: How did you get your job?A: I found my job through a classmate of mine from grad school. I met her sister, who works in PR, for an information interview, and a week later I had an internship that turned into a full-time job.
Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?A: It’s hard to choose just one - I have wonderful memories of most. Jennifer Delisle, Stephen Slemon, Ted Bishop…
Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?A: Hands down, travelling to Cortona. One of the best and most life-changing experiences.
Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?
A: Yes. [If you would like to contact Jenna, email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch]

Meet alumna Jenna Livergant.

Q: Why did you choose to do an Arts degree?
A: I initially wanted to go into Business: I took all of the pre-requisites and was fairly convinced that I would get my BCom, but when it actually came time to apply, I realized I wasn’t nearly as interested in any of my Business pre-reqs as I was in my Humanities courses. I had a very encouraging English Lit prof. and realized that was what I wanted to get my degree in. 


Q: How has it been valuable to you?
A: My Arts degree has been invaluable. Although I wouldn’t say it has necessarily given me direct skills for the job market, my courses prepared me with critical thinking, writing and editing skills that I use on a daily basis. 


Q: How did you get your job?
A: I found my job through a classmate of mine from grad school. I met her sister, who works in PR, for an information interview, and a week later I had an internship that turned into a full-time job.


Q: Who was your favourite prof at the U of A?
A: It’s hard to choose just one - I have wonderful memories of most. Jennifer Delisle, Stephen Slemon, Ted Bishop…


Q: What’s the best choice you made, or best experience you had, during your degree?
A: Hands down, travelling to Cortona. One of the best and most life-changing experiences.


Q: Can students contact you to ask about your career?

A: Yes. [If you would like to contact Jenna, email foa@ualberta.ca and we’ll put you in touch]