UM degree sets new grads up for success
Meet five members of the Fall class of 2022
Meet some outstanding graduates of UM’s class of 2022. Fall Convocation will be held from October 19-20 (Fort Garry campus) and on October 27 (Bannatyne campus). Attend in person or stream the ceremonies online at umanitoba.ca/convocation.
Nick Gamble, Asper School of Business (He/Him)
A prior bachelor of science in mechanical engineering provided Nick Gamble with many career opportunities that broadened his horizons, but he wanted his education to shift beyond an engineering department. He had been involved in product development, marketing, sales and customer support but was interested in understanding how organizations can holistically drive value creation for their stakeholders. In 2022, he earned a master of business administration.
Gamble finished the program in an impressive 12 months while also successfully competing in a variety of international and national case competitions. With this expertise, he now volunteers as a coach for case competition teams.
He describes his experiences in business school as unexpected but rewarding. “I found the program to be focused on how an organization can do good for society and helping organizations create a better world is where I want my future to go,” says Gamble.
He gained a new level of confidence to apply his skills, education and experiences to his career and personal development. Gamble recently started a new position as a senior business officer with Prairies Economic Development Canada, an organization providing funding and support to businesses as they innovate and expand. He adds: “I’m really excited to be able to use my latest education to help our local economy grow and create high quality jobs for Manitobans.”
Gamble is eternally grateful for his wife for supporting him in every way throughout his education and for planning their wedding – which took place two weeks after finishing his classes!
Meghan Young, Faculty of Arts (She/Her)
Finding your own identity took on two meanings for Meghan Young because finding her passions as a student also translated into her personal growth. As a first-generation Métis student, Young found it difficult to find a sense of purpose within the institution. An Introduction to Indigenous Studies course would soon completely change this reality into a lively one that built her sense of belonging.
“I quickly realized that continuing a degree in Indigenous studies would allow me to take a deep dive into my own Métis identity and understand the experience of my family, my community and my nation,” says Young. It was only the start of what would evolve into the best path for her–graduating with an advanced bachelor of arts with a major in Indigenous studies and a minor in history.
Serving her community is always a priority, and she has successfully done so in many ways. She has held positions for two student groups: the Métis University Students’ Association and the Indigenous Students’ Association Women’s Council. She was also a mentor in the Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentorship Program and was invited as a guest speaker at UM’s Bettering Our Land event addressing racism and discrimination.
Her rich background in community support and volunteerism will serve her well in a career that fulfills her passion of working with communities. Young is excited to pursue a master’s degree in Indigenous studies while making time to facilitate youth programming in traditional practices and arts, just as Métis knowledge keepers have taught her.
Alixa Lacerna, Faculty of Architecture (She/They)
Alixa Lacerna’s final year of the master of architecture program was hectic, but not without valuable lessons and great experiences for them to remember for the rest of their life. Completing their thesis was not only essential to their education but it also connected Lacerna to their heritage and encouraged them to reflect on their own identity.
“I needed a way to challenge myself to figure out what things I can work on and what skills I already had,” says Lacerna. “I gained an easy confidence with myself and a level of trust of others.”
She was the co-president of the UM Association of Architecture Students and chair of the Faculty of Architecture Student Association. These positions along with many opportunities within the program allowed her to meet new peers, fine-tune her leadership skills, and truly enjoy their academic progress.
Lacerna was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi medal, honouring students who show outstanding leadership skills, perform willing service for their school and department, and give promise of real professional merit through their attitude and personality. Throughout the pandemic, Lacerna led other students in a mindfulness session to help others cope and maintain wellness during a challenging time.
“I had a great external support system and developed an internal support system too, based on a lot of self-compassion,” says Lacerna. It is a skill that many people have difficulty learning, let alone university students.
Lacerna will be undertaking a year of research outside Manitoba and will continue to challenge their skills and knowledge as a student.
Christian Phillips, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources (He/Him)
Christian Phillips previously attended Simon Fraser University studying geology. As a student who has always excelled in math and sciences, he wanted his education to shift towards a more quantitative specialty. After transferring to UM for two years, he is graduating with a bachelor of science in geological sciences with a major in geophysics.
Phillips feels it was the right call, having enjoyed his courses in computational methods and problem-solving approaches in geomatics and the geosciences. Yet he also excelled in other ways. He was a receiver on the Bisons Football team for two years while also serving on the faculty’s Geoclub, a group of earth sciences students.
He also completed two summer research terms where he conducted field research in Nunavut on ice flow modeling and in Alberta on teleseismic shear wave splitting. Made possible by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, “these awards allowed me to assist in important research projects that help us better understand the history and state of our earth and climate,” says Phillips.
Phillips has started a master’s degree in geomatics engineering at the University of Calgary, setting him up for a future career in the field of geospatial intelligence and technology. “I hope to work in a ground-breaking, modern field where I can make a meaningful contribution,” he adds. He will undoubtedly lead the next generation of scholars shaping our understanding of environmental processes and addressing the climate crisis.
Eliana Hotz, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (She/They)
Eliana Hotz took an Introduction to Business course at the University of Winnipeg in 2013 before transferring to UM. Although the business trajectory didn’t turn out, she has found the perfect career path, graduating with a bachelor of human nutritional sciences from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences with a minor in sociology.
Traveling and working in Australia for two years was full of experiences that shaped a deep relationship with food, cooking and sharing meals with others. Once she settled down in Winnipeg, she knew that she gravitates towards natural sciences and decided to pursue an education in nutritional sciences.
“It was a synthesis of my passion for health, anatomy and the human condition, and my newly found love for food,” Hotz says. “Food is inextricably linked to every element of life and I find myself curiously digging into these niches to draw connections.”
Starting a degree as a mature student, she wanted to make the best of extracurricular experiences. She served on the Campus Food Strategy Group, served as co-president of UMSU’s Nutrition Education and Community Outreach, and was selected for the President’s Student Leadership Program (PSLP) through the James W. Burns Leadership Institute. Now, she sits on the executive committee for the newly established PSLP Alumni Association where she will help shape future leaders and scholars just as the program and many others has done for her.
“It’s so important to remember that the point of gaining knowledge that comes with completing a degree is to be a productive contributor to the world at large, leaving it a better place than when you found it,” she adds.
Hotz is working as an extension coordinator with Manitoba Agriculture and looks forward to earning a master’s degree in public health.