Back in May 2012, when The Wanderer was still but an idea, several writers-to-be came together and discussed the possibility of creating a list that would feature the top 100 most influential undergraduate students on campus. During our several years on campus, it has been abundantly clear that the university is full of outstanding students, spread widely across every faculty and facet of campus. Between our athletes, undergraduate researchers, artists, student representatives and community activists, our university is home to excellent leaders that are already making significant differences in others’ lives, both locally and abroad.
As January 2013 approached, The Wanderer Top 100 Most Influential project kicked into full swing, and we opened nominations to the public. At the same time, a committee of judges was assembled, with representatives from all parts of campus. We received approximately 60 public nominations and then allowed judges one week to nominate peers that they believe are deserving, based on their experiences in a variety of student leadership activities. In total, we reached 140 nominations, and then narrowed the list down to 100 based on a variety of criteria outlined by the committee and via in-person deliberations. Our final list reflects much of the outstanding work done by University of Alberta students, and we are proud to release it to the public.
You will find on this list a handful of teams that have worked together to accomplish tremendous feats. For instance, the Top 100 features three players from the Pandas volleyball team, Caity Buckell, Jaki Ellis and Krista Zubick. While serving as members of University Athletics Board (President, VP External and VP Internal, respectively), the trio propelled the team to a silver medal in CIS Nationals. We can then move on to another trio, comprised of Ryan Giroux, Chelsea Boucher and Shannon Kraichy, who together have made the Aboriginal Student Council one of the most active student organizations on campus. Five Gateway writers, April Hudson, Alex Migdal, Ryan Bromsgrove, Philippe de Montigny and Alex Eldridge, are among the university’s rising stars in journalism. And if we look a wee bit further, we see individuals such as Alex Manolii, Kirsten Lepage and Malaika Aleba also promoting the sharing of ideas through the written word.
The Top 100 also includes several up-and-coming University of Alberta undergraduate researchers, such as Megan Engel from the Department of Physics. A Rhodes Scholar, Megan is headed to Oxford where she is pushing the discipline forward in what is primarily a male-dominated field. The leadership of individuals such as Engel, Caitlin Marchak from the Faculty of Phys. Ed. (kinesiology) and Danielle Lewis from medicine shows that the University of Alberta is home to men and women that will spur scientific breakthroughs well into the future.
Finally, the list is home to several promising artists that have already shared their works both locally and internationally. Cara Seccafien and Laila Steen, for example, have produced numerous original projects that garnered significant attention in Edmonton, Alberta and heck – even Norway. Tyler Heal, a student in the Faculty of Engineering, has produced some impressive interdisciplinary work in a fine arts and engineering-inspired art exhibit. Finally, we cannot forget Isaak Kornelsen, an artist, athlete, scientist and true friend who epitomizes the values highlighted on this list.
Along with the photos and bios, we have asked four of the recipients to write essays on any aspect of leadership, integrating their personal experiences into the writing. The four writers are Annika Palm, Caity Buckell, Jessa Aco and Scott Gilroy, along with an inspirational piece on Le Petit Prince and ambition, written in 2012 by Isaak Kornelsen.
Simply put, we are proud of the work done by the committee in assembling the inaugural Wanderer Top 100. Our uber-talented photography editor, Skye Oleson-Cormack, provides readers with a wide range of quality photographs, as does writer and photographer Sansitny Ruth. Our design editor, Katrina Regino, also took the time to develop the Top 100 visual design, a fresh and lively look to an equally glowing group of students.
We hope that you enjoy.
The Wanderer Top 100 Selection Committee
Neekoo Collett: Neekoo Collett is a fourth-year student in the Political Science (Honours) programme. She has been the recipient of the Mactaggart Award for Narrative Fiction and the Lougheed Leadership Award. She likes poetry, mountain sports, and travel.
Emerson Csorba: Entering his fourth year of joint-honours Sciences Politiques and Political Science, Emerson runs, bikes, writes and spends time in both Tory Atrium and Remedy Cafe pretty consistently. He served as the Students’ Union VP Academic in 2012 and is stoked (and relieved) to see the Top 100 arrive.
Maggie Danko: Maggie Danko is a fourth-year nursing student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (honours) program, who will be graduating in April 2013. She is an active qualitative researcher in the Faculty of Nursing, and has presented her research locally and internationally. She is the 2012-2013 President of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA), a national student professional association representing 28 000 nursing students across the country. Maggie also writes for the Wanderer on topics of nursing and health.
Birkley Doll: Birkley Doll is in her fifth year of university, pursuing her Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Finance and a minor in Marketing. She has a passion for entrepreneurship, learning about business ventures, and discovering cultures. Birkley is a member of the General Faculties Council, Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the Network of Empowered Women, a Student Ambassador and was the President of the University of Alberta Marketing Association. After graduating this April, Birkley would like to obtain her Masters in Business and hopes to work and travel all over the world as she develops her career.
Dave Jones: Dave Jones is currently in his third year of university, studying Accounting and Economics. When he isn’t meandering around HUB, he’s out enjoying Alberta’s great outdoors or taking in Edmonton’s cultural gems. He is currently reading Globalization and Its Discontents, by Joseph Stiglitz.
Dongwoo Kim: Dongwoo is a fourth-year Political Science and History major. He finds inspiration from his fellow university students excelling in different fields. Dongwoo has been working for The Wanderer Online since May 2012, and is excited to finally see the Top 100 come to fruition.
Josh Le: Josh Le is a third-year Business student majoring in Marketing. He’s the 2013-2014 University of Alberta Students’ Union VP Operations & Finance-elect. Josh has dedicated himself to improve all areas of the student experience throughout his undergrad. His passions include denim, beards, menswear, and business matters.
Goran Miletic: When he’s not dominating the Butterdome track as a 400-meter specialist, Goran’s bringing style to the Edmonton fashion scene, either by writing about local trends or simply looking the part. Goran served as the Bears track and field captain in 2012, and has competed in track events across the North America. He’s currently the Co-President of the University of Athletics Board, and recently graduated from the Faculty of Phys. Ed. and Recreation. During his ‘down-time,’ Goran’s likely reading GQ, Sharp or Esquire, running (of course) and/or volunteering.
Monika Oliver: Monika Oliver is a fourth-year Biological Science student minoring in Family Ecology. She has a strong interest in clinical research and is dedicated to meaningful service in the campus and greater Edmonton community. Outside of university, Monika is employed by the Northern Alberta Renal Program and spends her free-time with friends and family.
Kevin Pinkoski: Kevin Pinkoski is in his final year of a Honours History and Political Science Degree. He is President of the University of Alberta Improv Group, Editor and Chief of the Agora Undergraduate Political Science Journal, an Improvisor with Rapid Fire Theatre, and a swim teacher. He is a cycling and coffee enthusiast and celiac.
Sydney Rudko. As Sydney enters her final semester of honors Immunology and Infection, she is preparing to transition from undergraduate to graduate-level research. When she isn’t writing and editing for the Wanderer, Sydney fills her head with scientific facts and figures, bakes, tends her cacti, and photographs cats. She finds the innovations and achievements of the undergraduates inspiring.
Sansitny Ruth: Sansitny Ruth is finishing off his last semester at the U of A for a BA degree with a major in Art & Design. He is excited to go out into the world and make things, and to never write another academic essay again. Writing a novel would be cool though.
Alan Shapiro: Alan Shapiro is currently in the final year of an honours BSc in Environmental Earth Sciences. Much of his time is spent volunteering with environmental non-profit and student organizations. He has been writing for The Wanderer science section since November 2012. When not working on his thesis, he enjoys skiing, hiking, and playing guitar.
Browse the Top 100 Undergrads here.