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Meet your Academic Development Specialists

As Academic Development Specialists, we are well acquainted with the commitments and challenges of university life, and we are passionate about helping students develop strategies that will lead to academic success.  We look forward to meeting you!


Jessica Cohen

Jessica holds a doctorate in Educational Studies from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Comparative and International Education. As Junior Dean of Pembroke College, Oxford, she supported undergraduate and graduate students in both their academic and personal ventures. Jessica brings that wisdom and experience gained overseas to her role at the SSC, where she works with students considering graduate or professional school and those seeking scholarship and award opportunities. Jessica thrives on helping students navigate through the bewildering maze of post-undergraduate options. Beyond the university’s walls, she enjoys cooking, baking, and (slow) distance running.

Carina Huggins

Carina’s academic background is in international relations and counter-terrorism, and she holds a Masters’ Degree from the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. In academia, Carina developed a passion for the quality of the student experience through her involvement in student government, campus clubs, and a research report for the Provost. With more than 3000 hours in developmental advising, Carina’s advising blends positive psychology with a strengths-based approach as she helps students to become aware of, and use, their strengths and talents. Although she meets with any student on campus, she specializes in supporting high-performance athletes at the varsity, national and Olympic levels, helping them to balance their lives and maximize personal performance. Carina is a Myers-Briggs® Step II™ Certified Practitioner, STRONG Interest Inventory Practitioner, Gallup Strengths-Based Educator, and is currently completing the Associate Certified Coach credential. Outside of work, she enjoys trail running, craft beers, blogging, online business and entrepreneurship, and podcasts. A self-confessed life hacker, Carina is constantly researching different ways to squeeze the most out of life.

Kaliopi Gorgichuk

Kaliopi joined the Student Success Centre from British Columbia where, as an academic advisor at UBC Okanagan, she developed her passion for supporting students along their academic journey. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in International Business and a minor in Economics from the University of Northern British Columbia, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Simon Fraser University, specializing in Post-Secondary Student Affairs. Kaliopi strives to help students meet their academic goals and have a rewarding university experience. She especially enjoys working with students who are academically at-risk, and finds great satisfaction in helping them discover their path to success. A keen athlete, Kaliopi’s extracurricular interests include soccer and crafts.

Paul Papin

Paul has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of British Columbia, and has taught Humanities 101 at St. Mary’s University College, English Composition at Bow Valley College, and many semesters of UNIV 205: Becoming an Effective Learner at the University of Calgary. When he’s not helping students achieve their academic goals, Paul is an amateur science geek with interests in astronomy, quantum physics, evolutionary biology, etc. He is also an avid runner and softball player when parts of his body aren’t aching too badly and he can find the time.

Jennifer Parsons

In her role as Academic Development Specialist for International Students, Jennifer works with undergraduate and graduate International students from all faculties, providing individualized academic support as well as group workshops on topics of general interest to international students. Jennifer is also the coordinator of RWRD (Read, Write, Review, Develop), a structured language-building program for students with English as an additional language. She holds a BA (Honours) in English and Religious Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Calgary. She joined the Student Success Centre after thirteen years as an instructor, first in English at Bow Valley College and then in Religious Studies at Mount Royal University. She has also been a lecturer for the Universities of Calgary and Lethbridge, and is a professional academic editor.

Julie Stewart

Julie has a Master’s degree in English from McMaster University and bachelor degrees in English and Education from St. Francis Xavier University. Before joining the SSC as an Academic Development Specialist, Julie worked in support programs for first-year students and students on academic probation, as well as in the field of writing skills development. She also gained valuable experience as a learning strategist with Student Accessibility Services. Julie enjoys working one-on-one with students to facilitate their self-reflection and skill-building, and is passionate about holistic, proactive approaches to wellbeing and academic success. She is currently developing a program to help connect students with just-in-time support when they encounter difficulties. A serial hobbyist, Julie is currently focused on learning to meditate and play the accordion, though not necessarily at the same time.

Book an appointment with an advisor

Booking instructions

Taylor Family Digital Library, 3rd Floor

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

General Inquiries & Appointments:
403.220.5881, option 2