Jan. 8, 2019

Top stories of 2018: Schulich makes headlines at UCalgary

Student successes and new master's degree among university's top read articles for the year

Apparently, learning to walk again while earning an engineering degree in hospital wasn’t challenge enough for University of Calgary graduate Sara Elkady.

Elkady, whose story was the University of Calgary’s most read article about students in 2018, lost her parents and a sister in a car crash. Yet, nine months after getting her prosthetic leg, and only 18 months after the crash, Elkady walked across the convocation stage to thunderous applause while she collected her degree from the Schulich School of Engineering.

Starting this January, Elkady will be taking to the water for the first time as a rower, despite having never sat behind the oars before. “I like a challenge and I like structure in my life, and it helps to have a goal to work towards,” Elkady explains of her decision to try out for Rowing Canada.

“I want to be more active and commitment to a schedule helps me do that — and I can go on to compete, if I like rowing.”

Determination and drive define Elkady. Graduation was one milestone of many for the Calgary-based process engineer, who now juggles a full-time job with delivering keynote speeches for organizations like the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association.

Her best day? Elkady, a devoted sibling, says that day was when she went shopping for prom dresses recently with her surviving sister, Dina, who is about to graduate from high school. “That was the highlight of the past six months — I’m so excited for her.”

Elkady’s inspiring tale wasn’t the only 2018 Schulich School of Engineering story to resonate with readers of UToday, the university’s daily journal of news and accomplishment.

Another engineering student story also made UCalgary’s Top Ten List for ‘18, after Alex Gough temporarily traded her textbooks for a luge and an opportunity to compete for Team Canada at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games.

Gough won silver and bronze in luge at Pyeongchang.

First she claimed Canada’s first-ever Olympic luge medal with a third-place finish in women’s singles, and later in the week she won the silver in team relay with teammates Sam Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith.

There were Schulich students who inspire, and then there was Schulich inspiring students.

A new masters program for engineering graduates looking to upgrade or enhance their skills for the digital future ended up as one of the UCalgary’s most read news stories of the year.

University launches new master’s program in software engineering was the headline, and the investment was part of a broader five-year commitment from the Government of Alberta to add tech training spaces across the province.

Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt announced the funding in August for this hands-on, course-based master’s degree in software engineering at the Schulich School of Engineering, with the first cohort of 40 students expected to complete the highly focused, in-depth training in as little as eight months.