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University of Ottawa students honoured for their achievements

Daniel LeRoy | Fulcrum Staff

UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA students Leah Stuart-Sheppard and Julia Koulik have received recognition in past months for their efforts and excellence in research.

As per Allan Rock’s Vision 2020, his strategic plan for the university to be achieved by the year 2020, the U of O hopes to encourage students to be at the forefront of research and development in Canada.

Leah Stuart-Sheppard, an international development and globalization (DVM) graduate from the U of O, was awarded a six-month internship in Cameroon. As a student, Stuart-Sheppard was involved in numerous extra-curricular activities in addition to working for the Library of Parliament as a tour guide on Parliament Hill.

Through her internship, Stuart-Sheppard is working as a communications associate with Youth Outreach Programme Cameroon producing a radio show on issues that concern the youth of the community.

“I think six months is too short a period for me to have a direct, substantial effect on the community I work in,” she said. “I do hope to contribute to the work and programs that [the organization] carries out that will have a long-term effect.”

Stuart-Sheppard explained that the DVM program left her well prepared for the challenges she has had to face as she enters the career field.

“The DVM program at the U of O helped me to develop a broad understanding of many of the issues and challenges within international development as a field and within specific regions,” she said. “I also learned to approach tasks, organizations, and issues in a critical manner and to reflect on my place within my work and the world.”

“The extracurricular activities that I participated in while at university also gave me the confidence and practical skills that I’m using today to succeed in the workplace,” she said.

Telfer School of Management student Julia Koulik was also recognized for her research efforts. Koulik is one of six winners of the Robert Wood Johnson Award, awarded to students across Canada in recognition of their achievements and promising contributions in the field of health services management. Robert Wood Johnson was one of the three founding brothers of the company Johnson & Johnson, and is largely accredited with the company’s survival in the late 19th century.

“It was a big honour, and humbling receiving the award,” said Koulik.  “Knowing who the award was in honour of made it that much cooler.”

Koulik said her efforts were out of passion as opposed to career ambition. She explained that she sees the Canadian health care system as disjointed, with limited communication between different streams of medicine.

“I am really interested in doing something and fixing [the healthcare system] because it is pretty broken,” she said. “It frustrated the heck out of me. [We can] find a way to make the private side of health care like physiotherapy and massage therapy work together more effectively with the public system. This is what motivated me.”

Koulik said there is a limited number of universities offering a master’s program in health administration. Through the U of O, Koulik was able to work in tandem with the management at Ottawa hospitals—an experience both eye-opening and important for her success.