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Home About SAIT News & Events Celebrating friendship by supporting future women in leadership

Celebrating friendship by supporting future women in leadership

In honour of a 10-year friendship that started while attending SAIT, three women have established a student award that encourages female students to take chances and lead with their hearts. Alyssa Athanasopoulos, Christina Ray and Vanessa Gagnon created the VIVACIOUS – Women in Leadership award for female students studying either the Radio, Television, Broadcast News or Travel and Tourism programs.

In honour of a 10-year friendship that started while attending SAIT, three women have established a student award that encourages female students to take chances and lead with their hearts.

Alyssa Athanasopoulos (RTBN '09), Christina Ray (RTBN '11) and Vanessa Gagnon (TVT '10) met ten years ago while studying at SAIT. Bonding quickly over having to move from the comfort of their hometowns, the three became fast friends. Together, they made the most of their time by volunteering on campus, going on snowboarding trips and attending concerts at the Gateway.  

The three remember this time in their lives fondly. "Our memories of SAIT will forever be etched into our brains", says Athanasopoulos. "It provided a great platform for each one of us to shine! We all came away with incredible experiences inside the classroom as well as outside of it."

Paying it forward

Athanasopoulos's enthusiasm for SAIT has come full circle, now working as a Recruitment Specialist in SAIT's Marketing department. It's in this role that she first considered the thought of giving back. "I had a meeting last year during SAIT's annual employee fundraising campaign to discuss what options were available to give back to students. I thought it would be amazing to create an award that represented my time here as a student. One of the best things to come out it was meeting two of my best friends — so I asked them if they wanted to be part of it and of course they did!"

Both Ray and Gagnon earned scholarships while attending SAIT. Ray remembers the feeling well. "It was so great to have some of the financial burden of post-secondary lifted, not to mention the sense of pride for doing a great job within the SAIT community," says Ray.

Gagnon agrees and adds that giving back just seemed like the obvious next step. "We had such an amazing time at SAIT and with SAITSA. It is important to us to give back to the school that gave us so much."

Women in leadership award

The VIVACIOUS - Women in Leadership award is valued at $1,000 and recognizes a female student in good academic standing, who is involved in established extra-curricular activities at SAIT and is studying either the Radio, Television, Broadcast News or Travel and Tourism programs.

"We're hoping to see a bit of 'us' in the recipient," says Athanasopoulos. "We had to put ourselves out there when we came to attend SAIT. We all made a big move to Calgary and despite the struggle of being outside of our comfort zones, we managed to make the experience positive by being engaged in several aspects of campus life."

The first recipient to receive this award will be chosen in the spring of 2019.

Find out how you can support student success through SAIT's Annual Giving program. 

Written by Courtney Garlough (RTBN '10)


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