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2015 Alumni Achievement Award - Jennifer Koshan, BSc'85, LLB'88

Koshan's career in social justice has helped many women to find their voice

UCalgary law professor Jennifer Koshan advises her students that working towards social justice is “a long and winding road, often with no apparent end in sight, but even small steps forward are well worth it.” Along her road, Koshan has achieved much and helped many.

As crown counsel in the Northwest Territories from 1990 to 1993, Koshan dealt with many sexual assault and domestic violence cases. Later, she examined the role of Aboriginal women in the justice system in her graduate work, worked for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and was a founding member of the Women’s Court of Canada, a shadow court that re-writes judgments from a feminist perspective.  More recently Koshan has lent her might to the Equality Effect’s 160 Girls project, which aims to achieve justice and protect girls in Kenya against rape.

Inspired by outstanding professors, great students

Her unwavering commitment to community service as a professor started when she was still a student with “some amazing professors” who acted as mentors. “Sharing knowledge and using expertise for the betterment of society is for me an essential responsibility of my academic position,” she says. “And I am thankful to have so many wonderful students interested in working on social justice issues.”

A teaching highlight for Koshan was teaching a clinical course where students developed arguments for a constitutional challenge to protect the rights of farm workers. “The project received attention from politicians, the media, NGOs and the scholarly community, and we hope that our arguments will be influential in changing the law,” she says.

As she helps equip future alumni for their long and winding roads in social justice, Koshan is pleased to receive the Alumni Achievement Award. “I am very grateful for the recognition, especially since there have been so many UCalgary alumni over the last 50 years who have gone on to do amazing things.”

Photos provided by Jennifer Koshan


The UCalgary Alumni Association's 2015 Arch Awards will honour eight outstanding alumni on November 19. Register here...

For more about our other recipients, please click here.