WRC Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient 2019
In the Schulich School of Engineering, Sara Elkady has been considered a symbol of resilience. While both professional and academic accolades are exemplary of her determination, it is her immense strength and resolve in the face of adversity that shaped her legacy at UCalgary.
With only four classes left to complete her Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering, Sara’s life was forever changed when her family was involved in a car accident. The accident claimed the lives of both her parents and one of her sisters, an urban studies major at the University of Calgary. Sara’s injuries were extensive, resulting in a nine-month hospital stay and ultimately, the loss of her lower left leg. Despite enduring pain and unfathomable grief, it was her sense of love towards her surviving younger sister and her desire to complete her degree that gave her strength and focus to maintain a positive outlook. A plan was put into place to help her complete her degree while undergoing treatment in the hospital, with sights set on walking the convocation stage just 18 months after the accident. These days, Sara balances her full-time job as a process engineer with her commitment to giving back to her community.
In addition to her remarkable academic achievements, Sara is a proponent of community involvement and strives to make the world a better place through inquiry and action. Exemplified through her contributions to Homes of Hope (a Schulich School of Engineering initiative to build houses in Mexico), an exchange to Germany in pursuit of improving cross-cultural communication, and as an active member of the Scholars Academy — Sara was a deserving choice to be the 2018 Iron Ring Ceremony student representative.
Sara remains dedicated to initiatives fitting with her lived experiences. Through speaking engagements, Sara inspires the next generation of women leaders in the STEM and engaging immigrant youth by drawing on her experiences as a young newcomer. Sara aims to remain physically active and re-gain her strength through para-rowing.
Sara models wisdom, resilience and compassion in her pursuit of understanding social challenges and creating a more equitable world for all.