Alumni Weekend Insider

Get the latest Alumni Weekend news and exclusive sneak peeks into what we've got in store. 

Meet the Alumni Weekend Instagram Takeover Squad!

Alumni Weekend is gearing up to be an action-packed, mind-growing fun event. Helping us capture the spirit and excitement of everything going on is our Instagram Takeover Squad!

We wanted to introduce you to the three alumnae who’ll be taking over UCalgary Alumni’s Instagram account throughout Alumni Weekend.

Check out what Ximena, Maryam and Brooke are most excited about for Alumni Weekend and be sure to follow @ucalgaryalumni on Instagram to see all their photos and videos.

ximena gonzalez

Ximena Gonzalez, MEDes’14

Instagram: @jimenaka


Q: What Alumni Weekend activity are you most looking forward to?

A: The Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings panel. As a woman in a male-dominated field (architecture) starting a new venture, it will be really inspiring to learn from the experience of these outstanding women.

Q: What is your favourite UCalgary memory?

A: I have a lot of great memories, but probably watching the sunset from the TFDL in the winter is my favourite.

Ximena is the owner of Converge Communications, a boutique public relations firm specializing in showcasing the work of Calgary’s small architecture and interior design firms at an international level. Watch for Ximena to take over @ucalgaryalumni’s Instagram account on Saturday morning.


Maryam Soleimani, MSc’17

Instagram: @mary.smn


Q: What Alumni Weekend activity are you most looking forward to?

A: Almost all of them. The whole idea was interesting for me and, as an alumna, I really wanted to participate in the event, meet peers, share ideas, meet new people and learn new things while helping as a volunteer. 

Q: What is your favourite UCalgary memory?

A: There are two for me. First, the orientation event when I first entered the school. I loved the event and everything was going on in the university. People were helpful and kind. There were a lot of volunteers helping and letting you know about different things. 

The other one was the graduation ceremony. It was elegant and awesome. Everything was organized and the ceremony was fun and informative at the same time.

Maryam is a software engineer with Cisco Systems Canada in Calgary. Watch for Maryam to take over @ucalgaryalumni’s Instagram account on Saturday afternoon.


Brooke Davis, BA’17

Instagram: @Onebadyogi_

Q: What Alumni Weekend activity are you most looking forward to?

A: The football game on Saturday night — let's go Dinos! I love being a part of that crowd. Honestly, we have some of the friendliest fans and it’s always a great time, plus you can't beat those drink and food prices. 

Q: What is your favourite UCalgary memory?

A: One of my favourite memories is Ronald Glasberg's communications and culture lectures and the comradeship that manifested in that room each time Dr. Glasberg turned the conversation to the class. I've never felt so free in expressing exactly how I felt. 

Brooke is the store manager of a local Skoah skincare store, where she also works as a digital and social media specialist. Watch for Brooke to take over @ucalgaryalumni’s Instagram account during the Dinos game on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning.


Are there better colours than red and gold to signify the bold, passionate, innovative and entrepreneurial changemakers that make up the UCalgary family?

We don’t think so!

That’s why we’re kicking off Alumni Weekend by showing our pride and asking you to wear red and gold for the inaugural UCalgary Colours Day.

“On Friday, Sept. 22, wherever you are — in the office, out in the field, in the classroom, paving your own path here in our city, around the globe or right here on campus — show your pride, wear our colours and join me on UCalgary Colours Day as we kick off the second-annual Alumni Weekend,” says President Elizabeth Cannon.

Alumni Weekend is Sept. 22 – 24

Alumni Weekend is a three-day event filled with mind-growing activities and family-friendly fun. You don’t have to be an alum to come — everyone is invited!

Whether you’re looking for thought-provoking discussions, opportunities to mix and mingle with former classmates, or loads of family-friendly fun, Alumni Weekend has something for everyone.

There’s still time to save your spot to:

  • Learn: Take your pick from more than 15 sessions, ranging from light-hearted fun to thought-provoking topics.
  • Connect: Mix and mingle with old friends and meet new ones.
  • Play: Check out the fun activities for kids and kids-at-heart.

Wear red and gold on UCalgary Colours Day this Friday and join us at Alumni Weekend everyone is invited to attend. Learn more at


Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi to speak at Alumni Weekend

What can we learn from Mahatma Gandhi at a time when extremists of diverse hues claim that threats to their religion or nation justify curbs on liberty and equality? That question will form the basis of discussion at Gandhi Today: Finding Peace in the Modern World. Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of the revered Mahatma Gandhi, will be leading the signature event on Sunday, Sept. 24, as part of the University of Calgary’s Alumni Weekend celebrations.

Mahatma Gandhi, best known today as the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule, had an uncompromising stand for everyone’s right to life, speech and faith. According to his grandson, that is what separates him from nationalists who suppress dissent in the name of security or sovereignty.

“For my siblings and me, it was a given that he did not belong exclusively to his children and grandchildren,” says Rajmohan. “Luckily, I saw my grandfather often between 1946 and 1948 … during that period, I was inspired by interactions with my grandfather and by watching his fearlessness and friendliness to those angry with his views.”

Inspiration from father, grandfather

It wasn’t just his grandfather that inspired Rajmohan’s 60-year peacebuilding career. He recalls a life-transforming encounter he had in Scotland in 1956, when members of what is now known as Initiatives of Change passed two ideas on to him. The first was that, if he wanted to change the world, he should first examine how he was living his own life. The second was that every individual’s life had significant purpose.

Rajmohan also credits his father’s career as a news editor. Growing up with news that was at times exciting, but often disturbing, made him want to take action against walls, divides and coercion.

A historian and biographer, Rajmohan is now a visiting professor at Michigan State University and the Indian Institute of Technology. Through writing, speaking, public intervention and dialogue, he continues to be engaged in efforts related to reconciliation and democratic rights. He was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Calgary in 1997.

Learn more at Alumni Weekend Sept. 22 – 24

Although it has been nearly 70 years since his grandfather’s assassination on Jan. 30, 1948, Rajmohan believes the ideas he championed can be applied to modern-day debates. He hopes attendees of the Alumni Weekend lecture will leave inspired to think about the possibilities of partnership across bitter divides and blaming no one for appearance, race, religion or birthplace.

Ultimately, he hopes people will leave wanting to make a difference in the world, and suggests not waiting for a dramatic event to make a start.

“When you start walking, you are likely to find fellow walkers. Or you may be the fellow walker someone else hopes for,” Rajmohan says.

The inaugural Gandhi lecture, Gandhi Today: Finding Peace in the Modern World, takes place over brunch on Sunday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon. Registration is required for this signature event; save your seat here.  

This session is hosted by the Gandhi Society of Calgary and the Faculty of Arts.

Power of Exercise

1. The Power of Exercise: Fitness from the Inside Out

Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 | 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. | Free
There’s more to working out than looking good. Discover the many ways exercise and nutrition contribute to a healthy body, brain and overall well-being.
Learn more

Cancer Checkup

2. Cancer Checkup: Advancements in Screening

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 | 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | Free
Join UCalgary researchers from the Early Cancer Detection Program to learn more about new cancer detection technologies that’ll save more lives.
Learn more.

3. Kids and the Mighty Microbiome

3. Kids and the Mighty Microbiome

Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 | 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. | Free
Guess what? Germs are good! Discover how you can help your child develop a mighty microbiome for long-term health.
Learn more. 

4. Winning by a Thread: How Wearable Tech Boosts Athletic Performance

4. Winning by a Thread: How Wearable Tech Boosts Athletic Performance

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 | 10 – 11 a.m. | Free
Explore the game-changing field of wearable tech with leading experts from UCalgary’s Human Performance Lab.
Learn more

5. Beyond the Headlines: Understanding the Opioid Crisis

5. Beyond the Headlines: Understanding the Opioid Crisis

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 | 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. | Free
Did you know opioid overdoses results in roughly three deaths in Alberta every day? Come learn what’s being done to combat this escalating public health issue.
Learn more.

Bonus sessions — Get your sweat on at Alumni Weekend!

Save your spot for these two (FREE!) group fitness classes taking place in TD Park at Taylor Quad:

UNDRCARD Boxing Class
Sept. 23 | 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Studio Revolution Bootcamp
Sept. 24 | 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Two, Four, Six, Eight… are you ready to tailgate?

We’ll be tailgating from 2:30 – 4 p.m. in the east parking lot. Come for a barbecue and loads of family-friendly fun — and get ready to cheer on your Dinos! The tailgate party is free to attend.

There’s still time to grab your discounted tickets to the game: they’re $10 for adults, $5 for youth or just $25 for groups of six!

Bring your family and friends for an afternoon of fun and great football. Don’t forget to bring your game face!

Alumni Weekend: Dinos vs. Huskies

When: Sept. 23, 2017
Where: McMahon Stadium
Tailgate party: 2:30 – 4 p.m. | east parking lot at McMahon Stadium
Game: 4 – 7 p.m.

Did you hear the exciting news? Market Collective is coming to Alumni Weekend! We’re giving away $500 to one lucky UCalgary grad to shop Market Collective at TD Park at Taylor Quad during Alumni Weekend. But that’s not all. The winner will also get an Alumni Weekend VIP All Access Pass (valued at $200) and some sweet UCalgary Alumni swag.

How to win

It’s simple! Take a photo of your August long weekend adventure and share it on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter account between Aug. 4 and 7, 2017. Make sure you include #ucalgaryalumni and tag @ucalgaryalumni in your post!


  • 1 entry per post (if you post on both Instagram and Twitter, you get two entries) 
  • $500 to be spent at Alumni Weekend (Sept. 22 – 24), or at future Market Collectives. 
  • Prize to be picked up during Alumni Weekend at the registration table at TD Park at Taylor Quad. 
  • Winner will be selected on Aug. 8, 2017. 
  • Note: Your account’s privacy setting may prevent entry. If we can't see it (e.g., it’s not a public post), we can't enter it to win.

Read the full contest rules and regulations here. 

Check out who’ll be setting up shop at TD Park at Taylor Quad, and make sure to enter our August long weekend Market Collective and Alumni Weekend giveaway!

Session to offer an inside look at clean energy sources like algae

The team at Solar Biocells takes the term “green energy” quite literally.

Solar Biocells, a startup co-founded by scholars Christine Sharp and Marc Strous in the Energy Bioengineering Group at the University of Calgary, aims to produce renewable, clean energy using microorganisms such as algae to create carbon-neutral fuels. They’ll be leading the Alumni Weekend session The Greenest Green Energy on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 – 11 a.m.

The session promises an inside look at the microorganisms we interact with every day. Participants will get hands-on experience with some of the microscopes and other tools that the Solar Biocells team uses in their day-to-day research.

“When you look at algae, it just looks like green sludge, but, when we put it under the microscope, you can actually see all the different microorganisms,” says Karen Canon-Rubio, MSc’16, a research assistant with Solar Biocells. “We’ll show people all of the things we can do with algae, aside from capturing carbon dioxide.”

Taking research into the community

The session is just one of the ways the team is helping to promote renewable energy sources in our community. They also offer an educational program in schools called Fixing the Atmosphere that brings algal technology to elementary school students to teach and learn about climate change, photosynthesis and more.

The program successfully completed its pilot in spring this year, and the team is hoping to expand it to 10 schools in the year ahead.

“People don’t always realize how much these microorganisms are involved in our daily lives and how much we rely on them, so participants will get a closer look at that,” says Jackie Zorz, a second-year PhD student with the Solar Biocells team. “Plus, it’s always fun to look at stuff under the microscope.”

To learn more about Solar Biocells, visit their YouTube page or their website

Join us at Alumni Weekend

The second annual Alumni Weekend takes place Sept. 22 – 24, featuring more than 30 events offering opportunities to learn, connect and play, including five signature events and more than 10 faculty celebrations.

Whether you’re looking to learn more about the latest research discoveries, connect with former classmates or play the weekend away, Alumni Weekend has something for everyone. Everyone is welcome to attend Alumni Weekend — you don’t have to be a UCalgary grad, so bring the whole family!

Check out all of the mind-growing activities Alumni Weekend has in store and register today.

Meet the speakers

Karen Canon-Rubio, MSc’16

Karen Canon-Rubio, MSc’16

Alumna Karen Canon-Rubio, MSc’16, is currently working as a research assistant with the Energy Bioengineering Group at UCalgary. Her work is primarily related to the development and testing of the Fixing the Atmosphere school program.

Maryam Ataeian

Maryam Ataeian

Maryam Ataeian is a second-year PhD student in the Energy Bioengineering Group. Her work is focused on improving biofuel productivities using algal biotechnology.

Jackie Zorz

Jackie Zorz

Jackie Zorz is a second-year PhD student in the Energy Bioengineering Group. Her work is focused on improving high alkaline growth conditions and investigating the use of a more energy efficient alternative for cellular carbon fixation.

Thinking about horses, you may picture deep brown eyes, a shiny coat or muscular legs. Seldom, however, do we think about how what we know about horses can relate to our own health.

“Most of us have been exposed to dogs, cats and horses before, but what few people realize is that we can learn a lot from these animals about diseases that many people suffer from, such as diabetes, depression, arthritis, asthma and much more. We’re all connected,” says Dr. Jean-Yin Tan, an instructor at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

In her Alumni Weekend session, “From the Horse’s Mouth: What We Can Learn from Equine Medicine,” Dr. Tan will explore some of the advances taking place in equine medicine and how they’re helping us to better understand human health. The session takes place on Sept. 24 at 12:15 p.m.

“Advancements in arthritis research, for example, have seen rapid progression in equine medicine, largely because the guidelines are not as restrictive compared to human medicine,” says Dr. Tan. “By researching it more broadly with horses, we can gain insight into novel treatment such as stem cell therapy, which has potential in both animals and humans.”

One Community, One Health

The concept that we are all connected forms the basis for an initiative called One Health, which brings together UCalgary researchers to study how people, animals and the environment interact. By looking at the whole ecosystem, researchers can collaborate to solve complex problems facing our society, such as food safety, water safety, infection and disease transmission.

In addition to developing community engagement programs to dive deeper into these subjects, the One Health initiative also aims to educate the next generation of leaders in interdisciplinary problem-solving and policy development.

Join us at Alumni Weekend

The second annual Alumni Weekend takes place Sept. 22 – 24, featuring more than 30 events offering opportunities to learn, connect and play, including five signature events and more than 10 faculty celebrations.

Whether you’re looking to learn about the latest research discoveries (ranging from lighthearted fun to thought-provoking hot topics), connect with former classmates or play the weekend away, Alumni Weekend has something for everyone.

Check out all of the mind-growing activities Alumni Weekend has in store and register today.

Meet the speaker

Dr. Jean-Yin Tan

Dr. Jean-Yin Tan

Dr. Jean-Yin Tan teaches equine medicine at the UCalgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She also provides general practice, acupuncture and internal medicine services to the local horse community. Dr. Tan is certified in equine rescue and her interests include equine respiratory disease and infectious disease.

Alumni invited to learn how they can support greater Aboriginal inclusion in Canada

David Milia has one goal for the panel discussion he’s moderating at Alumni Weekend in September: for attendees to leave thinking about their role in increasing greater Aboriginal inclusion in business, culture and community.

The session, Aboriginal Inclusion in the Broader Canadian Context, on Sept. 23 will introduce alumni, community members, donors and friends to panellists that have diverse backgrounds on Indigenous issues, ranging from business and education, to environment and sustainability.

“This is a community necessity — one for all Canadians to understand,” says Milia, BA’00, MBA’11, director of Energy and Environmental Initiatives at the Haskayne School of Business. “By having these important discussions, we’ll continue the conversation, continue reconciliation and continue to improve true community inclusion.”

The panellists will not shy away from addressing the historic and cyclical barriers to inclusion, although Milia says the conversation will focus on raising greater awareness of why authentic business and community Indigenous integration is important, while also highlighting potential positive opportunities.

“We’re bringing together a balance of academic perspectives that can address what proper Aboriginal inclusion should be,” Milia says.

Meet the panellists

David Lertzman

David Lertzman

David Lertzman, assistant professor of Environment Management and Sustainable Development at the Haskayne School of Business, is passionate about ecology and culture, which has brought him to numerous Indigenous communities throughout the Americas. His research examines the environmental interface of Indigenous peoples and energy industries, including the Amazon and Canada’s Boreal and Coastal Temperate forests. Lertzman is a recipient of the Reverend Dr. Chief John Snow Sr. Award for teaching and research in service to Aboriginal peoples.

Bailey Quaite

Bailey Quaite

Bailey Quaite spearheaded operational transformation at her former role at CEDA, having spearheaded the organization’s Aboriginal relations function from its infancy to becoming a leader in the energy services industry in just three years, which has resulted in a significant boost in the hiring of Aboriginal peoples. She also built a strategy aiming to build meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations through recruitment and procurement. Quaite was recognized with the 2015 Young Women in Energy Award for her work with CEDA and currently works as a senior advisor in Community Engagement for Alberta Health Services.

Chris Fry

Chris Fry, BA’10, MSc’14

Alumnus Chris Fry, BA’10, MSc’14, works for Shell as an external relations advisor in its External Relations department. He has an undergraduate degree in International Indigenous Studies (2010) and a master of science degree in Sustainable Energy Development (2014) from UCalgary. His master’s research focused on Aboriginal consultation through the Joint Review Panel for the proposed Northern Gateway Project. Chris is also a member of Kwanlin Dün First Nation located in Whitehorse, Yukon.

David Milia, BA’00, MBA’11

David Milia, BA’00, MBA’11

David Milia, BA’00, MBA’11 is Director of Energy and Environmental Initiatives at the Haskayne School of Business.

Join us at Alumni Weekend

The second annual Alumni Weekend takes place Sept. 22 – 24, featuring more than 30 events offering opportunities to learn, connect and play, including five signature events and nine faculty celebrations.

“To be able to return to where my journey started and participate in sessions that’ll help me on my walk today — that’s what I’m most excited about for Alumni Weekend,” says Milia, himself a proud two-time UCalgary grad.

Whether you’re looking to learn about the latest research discoveries (ranging from lighthearted fun to thought-provoking hot topics), connect with former classmates or play the weekend away, Alumni Weekend has something for everybody.

Check out all of the mind-growing activities at Alumni Weekend has in store at and register now!