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MUNalum Days

October jam-packed with alumni awards and celebrations

By Heidi Wicks

Personal and professional development. Life education. Celebrations and stimulating discussions.

For the month of October, the Office of Alumni Engagement is offering a slew of events that ignite the mind.

Remembered, applauded and celebrated

MUNalum Days aims to help alumni fondly think back on their formative years at Memorial, get them excited to reconnect with their alma mater in new, modern ways, motivate students to become engaged alumni and much more.

The past, present and future will be remembered, applauded and celebrated, braiding together nostalgic photos from days gone by and videos that feature alumni discussing their accomplishments as well as their dreams for tomorrow.

Photos of graduates from Memorial University College Class of 1939 are shown on a plaque from that time.
A plaque with photos of graduates from Memorial University College, Class of 1939.
Photo: Submitted

The month will be jam-packed with discussions that include topics such as the Canadian political landscape with Dr. Amanda Bittner and gender diversity with Taylor Stocks (M.Phil.’16), among a number of events from various faculties, departments and units.

MUNalum Days also features Coast Lines book club with Alan Doyle and the 40th annual Alumni Tribute Awards.

“The hope is that everyone will participate, comment, ask questions and broaden their minds and stretch the way they think,” said Lynn Squires, assistant director, Office of Alumni Engagement.

“Maybe people will even share their own memories and photos of their time at Memorial. We’d love that!”

Five Stars

Five Stars: Astronomical Alumni, Altering the Universe is a video series produced by students in the Department of English’s Diploma in Stage and Screen Technique, and supported by the Office of Alumni Engagement.

Whether they work in a classroom, a lab, a medical clinic, on a stage or under the sea, superstars don’t need to exist only in the sky. These are Memorial’s stars.

Teachers enlighten future generations, and inspire them to improve society. Scientists and health-care providers advance the health and well-being of all of us. Ocean mapping protects the world’s natural resources. Comedy lightens emotional burdens and unites people through empathy, compassion and laughter.

The series will premiere early next month, with five videos posted throughout October.

Naming the stars and constellations

Jamie Parsons (B.Sc.’97, B.Ed.(Sec.)’98, M.Ed.’05)

Jamie Parsons sits at his computer smiling at the camera.
Jamie Parsons (B.Sc.’97, B.Ed.(Sec.)’98, M.Ed.’05)
Photo: Submitted

A teacher and mentor with a background in science education and extensive experience with Youth Science Canada, Jamie Parsons is keen to inspire his students to change the world for the better.

Breanna Careen (B.Tech.’19)

Breanna sits smiling in the ocean simulator at the Marine Institute.
Breanna Careen (B.Tech.’19)
Photo: Submitted

Breanna Careen’s work with Fugro, the world’s leading provider of geo-intelligence for ocean mapping, is protecting the world’s natural resources with advanced technology that creates high-resolution images of what’s beneath the waves.

Drs. Nikitha Kendyla (PhD’19) and Purvikalyan Pallegar (PhD’20)

A part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Newfoundland and Labrador, Drs. Nikitha Kendyla and Purvikalyan Pallegar are leading researchers on gut health.

Dr. Nikitha Kendyla and Dr. Purvikalyan Pallegar stand in front of Memorial University's Ocean Sciences Centre surrounded by green grass on a sunny summer day.
From left are Drs. Nikitha Kendyla (PhD’19) and Purvikalyan Pallegar (PhD’20).
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Combined with support from Memorial’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Genesis Centre, the Mel Woodward Cup winners launched Nuqliq Biologics – microbiome-based personalized therapeutics and diagnostic testing to support preventive health care.

Archana Vidyasankar, medical resident 2017

Psychiatrist Archana Vidyasankar sits smiling in her office. She is wearing yellow pants and a navy blue blouse.
Archana Vidyasankar
Photo: Submitted

Archana Vidyasankar is an original founder and member of the interim executive committee of the Perinatal Mental Health Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (PMHANL).

As a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine’s psychiatry residency training program, Dr. Vidyasankar is devoted to the perinatal mental health of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

In this province, 28 per cent of new mothers will experience mood and anxiety disorder, compared with the national average of 23 per cent.

By addressing gaps in programs, supports and services for new families, Dr. Vidyasankar in her practice and the PMHANL are committed to supporting the mental health of mothers, therefore helping future generations of children grow into strong adults.

Mom’s Girls

This powerful group of three alumnae (plus one non-alum) are a supernova of astute insight, spirited acting, sharp writing and brazen comedy.

The members of Mom's Girls comedy troupe stand next to each other wearing silly masks with moustaches on them.
From left are Mom’s Girls Stef Curran, Andie Bulman, Elizabeth Hicks and Allison Kelly.
Photo: Submitted

Stef Curran (BA’18), Elizabeth Hicks (BA(Hons.)’17, MA’18), Allison Kelly (BFA(Theatre)’12) and Andrea Bulman are Newfoundland and Labrador’s first all-female, non-binary comedy troupe.

Crediting much of their success to their experiences at Memorial, the Girls have big dreams and show no sign of slowing down. The determination and energy in this small but mighty group makes them destined for superstardom.

Get connected!

Be sure to follow the Office of Alumni Engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to catch all videos throughout October, as well as updates on new events and celebrations. For a full listing of events, visit the Office of Alumni Engagement website.

Are you a member of a Memorial faculty, school, department or non-academic unit who is interested in holding a MUNalum 101 event? Find out more.

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