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Who are the 2020 BSA Awards recipients?

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

For a second year, the Biology Students’ Association is presenting recognition awards for biology students who have been outstanding in specific fields. The awards are open to any undergraduate student majoring in Biological Sciences, the biggest department in the University of Calgary’s science faculty. After reviewing the many applications, the following students were selected as 2020 recipients. Read on for what earned them winning these awards!

Community Involvement Award: Bethany Chan

One of Bethany’s off-campus involvements is at the Calgary Tai Chi & Martial Arts College. She was timid at first while learning the art but eventually went on to competing at provincial, national and world competitions. Grateful that her coach drove her to success, she decided to return the favour by helping kids in her community herself. She has performed and led over 150 performances meant to display the traditional Chinese martial art. For all her efforts, she was a finalist for the 2017 Youth of Distinction Award for Sportsmanship. Bethany also volunteered for two years through the Between Friends organization in Calgary, an organization that organizes activities for people with disabilities or special needs. She volunteered over 270 hours before further involving herself by becoming part of their staff. As a volunteer and staff, she was recognized by being awarded the 2018 Between Friends Volunteer of the Year award and the 2019 Between Friends Catalyst Scholarship. On campus, Bethany has been involved with the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) club as their Science Representative for two years. In that position, she has organized review sessions for first and second-year science students, sessions that were usually free, providing an affordable option for academic help to students. She also was the VP of Marketing for the Relay for Life club which raises funds for cancer research. As VP of Marketing, she created advertisements, booth setups to recruit members and helped to organize their annual fundraising walking event.

Resiliency Award: Katie Caldwell

During the first year of her degree, Katie lost the two people she was the closest with, her twin brothers, in a devastating accident at the WinSport bobsled track. She battled with grief experiencing unexpected grief triggers, periods of incredible emotional strain and at times, strong thoughts to give up on life or drop her studies. A year before the passing of her brothers, Katie had been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and after their death, she experienced increased levels of chronic pain in her arms in addition to the emotional turmoil of grieving. For the past five years, since the loss of her twin brothers, Katie has found and hung on to strength within herself to push her forward. One source of such strength for her was having been able to gather the courage to speak to thousands at the funeral of her brothers. Through the process of grief, she gained an understanding of the importance of giving ourselves room to grieve and recover from other unexpected life events, she learned it was okay to take breaks for that. After her brothers passed, she gave herself that time and dropped all but one of her classes of that winter semester and took three months off her job. With her resiliency, the following fall semester, Katie was back on a full course load perseverant and motivated by a deep desire to live for her brothers. In addition, she wanted to support students in their first year which had been difficult for her and became a Community Advisor on campus residence.

Student Leadership Award: Carina Lam

Carina is a student who has taken on multiple leadership hats on campus this past year. She was the Co-President of Robogals where she coordinated 20 executives and 75 general members. She would lead by example and sign up for as many events and fundraisers as she could. Carina is the first science student to be in the President position which typically is filled by engineering students. She aimed to increase diversity within STEM by "empowering, engaging and inspiring" youth and in her position, she was able to encourage students from various backgrounds to get involved with the club. Their amount of non-STEM volunteers greatly increased and their proportion of science volunteers increased from a few to making up 25% of their organization. Carina also was the Senior Vice President of the Rotoract club where she coordinated committees aimed at addressing issues members are concerned about and helped students execute successful events for causes that are dear to them. Through her personal involvement with the club, she has advocated for organizations addressing food security, homelessness and literacy. Another leadership role Carina took on was being a mentor to a second-year student. She provided guidance to her mentee in academics and professional development, sharing success strategies with her. She also aimed to encourage her to keep a healthy work-life balance and attended events with her that would allow her to socialize and de-stress.

Congratulations to the 2020 BSA Awards winners for all their achievements, may they continue to strive for more!

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