U Make a Difference Award

2019 Recipients 

2019 Recipients

Congratulations to all 2019 U Make a Difference Award recipients. 

Thank you for your performance, commitment and service. Thank you for making the University of Calgary a great place to learn and work. 

Sabrina Anderson

Sabrina Anderson is a Graduate Program Administrator in the Graduate Science Education Office, Cumming School of Medicine. She was nominated in the Innovation and Curiosity category.

While positioning herself as an excellent graduate student advocate, Sabrina has become an invaluable resource to the graduate students on the Foothills campus.

Whether it’s taking the initiative to turn a student orientation to a half-day boot camp, helping to assemble a mental health first aid kit, or making incredible improvements to student web experience, Sabrina is always going the extra mile of her own volition.

Congratulations Sabrina!

Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry is a Media Technician in Deskside Support Services, Information Technologies. He was nominated in the Positive Work Environment and Community category.

With more than 30 years’ experience at the university, Kevin has spent the majority of his life and career here. He is serving as the chair of AUPE Local 52 since 2011.

Kevin’s supernatural ability to empathize with others is legendary within his team and across campus. Kevin is a sincere and on-the-ground champion for mental health as well as a vocal advocate for the university’s Campus Mental Health Strategy.

Congratulations Kevin!

Dr. Tara Christie

Dr. Tara Christie is the My GradSkills Program Manager in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. She was nominated in the Collaboration and Communication category.

Driven by the desire to unify the campus community while improving the graduate student experience, Tara is well-known for her passion, support, engagement, and ambition.

Tara’s approachable, objective, and open-minded leadership style — as well as her emphasis on personal development and networking — have made a difference to both her team and graduate students at the University of Calgary.

Congratulations Tara!

Cecilia de la Rocha

Cecilia de la Rocha is the Director of Faculty Development, Werklund, in Development and Alumni Engagement. She was nominated in the Collaboration and Communication category.

Cecilia is an exemplary colleague who consistently maintains high standards of professionalism, a collaborative and collegial nature, and creative and innovative thinking.

Recognized as a leader among her peers, she is highly motivated and determined. She inspires others to address old problems with fresh eyes. Cecilia is a champion for diversity and inclusion, and never hesitates to bring that discussion to the table.

Congratulations Cecilia!

Simon Dyck

Simon Dyck is the ERP Application Architect, ERP Systems and Services in Information Technologies. He was nominated in the Collaboration and Communication category.

Intentionally collaborative and always looking for opportunities to improve, Simon ensures that all voices are heard and their perspectives considered.

He is dedicated to moving forward with improvements to technology, implementation best practice, and business enhancements. As a linchpin for communication on his teams, Simon is able to take complicated topics and distill them so everyone can understand.

Congratulations Simon!

Victoria Hirsche

Victoria Hirsche is a Coordinator, Leadership and Student Engagement, Student and Enrolment Services. She was nominated in the Collaboration and Communication category.

Taking a leadership role in everything she does, Victoria contributed to the success of some of the university’s most impactful student services initiatives.

She listens carefully and aims to harmonize with others’ ideas and perspectives while still making her observations, concerns, and points clear. She acts as a confidant and coach for many of her colleagues, and is an expert at creating a mutually beneficial relationships.

Congratulations Victoria!

Paula Hollohan

Paula Hollohan is the Instructional Technologies and Information Specialist in the Doucette Library, Libraries and Cultural Resources. She was nominated in the Innovation and Curiosity category.

As a passionate advocate of design thinking, game-based learning, and educational technology, Paula serves as a tremendous resource for students and faculty who hope to enact innovative approaches to teaching and learning in classrooms both at the university and in schools.

Paula designs innovative and creative workshops that established various venues that support both students and academic staff in their learning.

Congratulations Paula!

Brian Jones

Brian Jones is an Academic Scheduling Analyst in the Office of the Registrar, Student and Enrolment Services. He was nominated in the Innovation and Curiosity category.

Known to try new things and assist those around him, Brian has had a significant impact on his home unit, on faculty, staff, and — by extension — students.

Brian has not only developed and used new tools and skills in innovative ways to improve service offerings and reduce labour, his humble, considerate nature also makes a difference to his work environment on a daily basis.

Congratulations Brian!

Susan Mide Kiss

Susan Mide Kiss is the Senior Director, Community Engagement, in University Relations. She was nominated in the Collaboration and Communication category.

Collaboration and connection are at the heart of every decision and action Susan takes. Partnerships are essential to her, and she is relentless in looking for opportunities to bring people together to achieve not only UCalgary’s goals but those of community partners.

As a leader, Susan demonstrates professionalism, competence, creativity, diversity, and openness to new ways of knowing and doing things.

Congratulations Susan!

Carllie Necker

Carllie Necker is the Manager, Student Services Administration, Student and Enrolment Services. She was nominated in the Positive Work Environment and Community category.

With a commitment to supporting health and wellbeing, Carllie is the model of positive work life balance. Regularly encouraging staff to take small breaks and forwarding important wellness workshops to her staff contributes to a positive work environment for all who work with her.

Additionally, Carllie constantly contributes to the growth of her office with her desire to learn.


Congratulations Carllie!

Dr. Ellen Perrault

Dr. Ellen Perrault is a Teaching Professor in the Faculty of Social Work. She was nominated in the Collaboration and Communication category.

There are few academic leaders who authentically embody the philosophy of engagement, transparent communication, relationship-building, and collaboration as Ellen does. Her collaborative leadership approaches are apparent in all she does.

Ellen’s ability to empower her team has helped them succeed in their work, as well as helped the larger university community meet its goals. Ellen models respect, professionalism, and leadership through her everyday actions on campus. 

Congratulations Ellen!

Dr. Elmar Prenner

Dr. Elmar Prenner is an Associate Professor and Associate Department Head in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Science. He was nominated in the Innovation and Curiosity category.

To his colleagues, it is not uncommon to find Elmar working on any given day of the week. His curiosity, dedication, and innovation have allowed him to not only succeed, but excel in his roles.

Elmar reaches beyond the university and creates opportunity for young scientists within the city. He inspires his colleagues and students to benefit the University of Calgary and the broader community.

Congratulations Elmar!

Donald Ross

Donald Ross is the Director of Solutions and Service Delivery in Information Technologies. He was nominated in the Collaboration and Communication category.

In his role at the university, Donald fosters positive partnerships and relationships with students, faculty, staff, and senior leadership.

As an exceptional leader, Donald always has the best interest of the community in mind and ensures all IT initiatives are working towards the Eyes High goals. His ability to inspire positivity while skillfully moving the University of Calgary through complexity is unparalleled.

Congratulations Donald!

College of Diversity, Creativity and Innovation (CDCI) Administrative Team

In the past year, College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation (CDCI) Administrative Team has developed and implemented a series of open educational resources for students and faculty interested in undergraduate research practice. Their spirit of curiosity and creativity led them to do a detailed and extensive environmental review to determine new and innovative ways of serving faculty, students, and colleagues.

Together, they built a new system of procedures and policies for the CDCI — including instructor onboarding documents, terms of reference for a variety of committees, a new co-curricular student initiative, protocol and planning documentation for annual projects and a revised recruitment campaign for the CDCI as a whole.

Congratulations to the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation Administrative Team!

Creative Studio Team

The Creative Studio is made up of individuals of different backgrounds and ethnicities, genders, and ages, where everyone’s perspective is valued and a culture of openness and sharing is encouraged. The team proactively and regularly creates spaces where they can openly share their experiences, successes, and opportunities for learning.

Their commitment to operational excellence also allows their strategic plans to shine. The Creative Studio understands and consistently practices effective communication and collaboration.

Congratulations to the Creative Studio Team!

Health Promotion Team

The Health Promotion Team is strongly focused on making the Campus Community Hub a place where students can flourish — integrating learning, playing, helping, connecting, and interacting into their lives. This team actively supports a culture of cooperative, respectful, and open communication within the university.

They consistently support student wellness initiatives, both within and to the wider Student and Enrollment Services portfolio. The team has a strong passion for facilitating the development of wellness and leadership. They recognize the value of giving back and working within a community to create new programs and enhance the experience of others.

Congratulations to the Health Promotion Team!