Nominations open for the 2019 AU Alumni Awards
Athabasca University’s alumni ambassadors are blazing trails in their communities and all around the world – whether in science and technology, nursing, archeology, counseling, or as creators of digitally enhanced education models of the future. Our celebrated alumni are committed to improving themselves and improving the lives of those around them, each and every day. Our alumni say everything about the future of an education.
Each year, we honour four outstanding AU ambassadors who are living their lives out loud, providing hope, insight, inspiration and encouragement. They make a positive difference in their communities, in their work spaces, and in the hearts and minds of many.
Does this sound like someone you know? Nominate an outstanding AU graduate who is making a difference in their community in one of four categories:
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the accomplishments of an AU graduate who brings honour and prestige to the university. The recipient of this award is selected based on evidence of outstanding contributions to any field of human endeavour or extraordinary contributions to his or her community.
The Rising Star Award recognizes an AU graduate who has demonstrated leadership and significant contributions to an area of expertise early in his or her career. The recipient will have shown significant success at an early age or in a new industry.
The Volunteer Service Award recognizes an AU graduate who has demonstrated a spirit of volunteerism and community service through active, unpaid involvement in and contributions to his or her community.
The Future Alumni Award recognizes the leadership, service and potential of a current AU student who has completed a minimum of 15 course credits at AU. The recipient of this award will have demonstrated academic excellence and substantial contributions to his or her community or career while balancing the demands of student life.
2018 Alumni Award recipients
Margot Van Sluytman, AU’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, turned her own personal tragedy and gift of writing into meaningful teaching tools that help others to heal. She is the founder of The Sawbonna Project for Living Justice; Sawbonna is a Zulu greeting meaning “I see you” and acknowledging our shared humanity.
Since completing her Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Studies, Van Sluytman has met with federal cabinet ministers, premiers, heads of prisons and correctional systems, international dignitaries, justice reformers, and has given several international presentations.
Reece Tomlinson, AU’s 2018 Rising Star Alumni Award recipient, accomplished more by the age of 33 than many do in their entire lives. Between 2005-2012, Reece got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from Athabasca University, and his CPA from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba.
Today, he splits his time as equally as possible in three different professional endeavours and businesses: RWT Growth Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on turn-around management, growth and financial consulting; Endicott Capital, a realty development firm he created with other entrepreneurs to renovate and sell multi-family properties primarily in Western Canada; and H Bank, a London, England-based medical company focused on cutting-edge stem-cell banking and therapeutics.
Annette Cyr, AU’s 2018 Volunteer Service Alumni Award recipient, is a savvy business woman whose grit and determination will help reduce Canada’s melanoma cases and raise awareness of the disease. She saw AU’s MBA program as a way to help her launch her consulting company and provide some added credibility, and while studying was diagnosed with melanoma.
In 2009, after collaborating with others, she helped found the Melanoma Network of Canada with $25,000 of her own money to help with startup costs. She volunteered full-time hours for this organization while still running her own consulting company. It employs a team of four, and is the sole organization in the country focused on melanoma.
Fiona Smith, AU’s 2018 Future Alumni Award recipient, has overcome a great deal to be able to pursue a higher education – including being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyscalculia, and PTSD from childhood abuse. After being stung by a wasp in 2007, she developed Systemic Mastocytosis, a rare and incurable cellular disease that causes repeated, life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
She had to give up nearly everything in her life including work, university placement, running, fir fighting, farming, and even leaving her house. Her husband suggested he go back to school, and suggested Athabasca University as an option. She’s working towards her Master of Education in Distance Education and hopes to use her education to keep helping people.