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Fall 2020 Valedictorian

Megan Dunn

Legal Assistant, School of Business

After completing university, joining the job search and experiencing a number of unsuccessful job interviews, Megan decided to add technical skills to her resume.

She turned to SAIT, enrolled in the Legal Assistant program in 2017 and dived in. In 2019, she was named president of the Legal Assistant Society Club. Now, she’s SAIT’s Class of 2020 valedictorian.

When it comes to Megan’s favourite SAIT memories and the things she’ll miss most, her instructors are at the top of the list. She will also miss the learning experience of being a student and socializing with her peers. Eating a $2-hotdog in an early morning class during finals also ranks high, thanks to the smile it put on her instructor’s face. If you’ve ever been to SAIT, you know for many, it’s never too early for a Saitsa hotdog, especially during exams time. 

Sharing her success with her partner Justin, for his incredible support, and with her instructors Alanda and Luisa, for their encouragement, Megan credits her SAIT program and its connection to industry for teaching her how to ask the right questions and arming her with the knowledge to be successful in her career. 

Megan is now a legal assistant at Foster LLP in downtown Calgary.


Spring 2020 Valedictorians

Richard Hoang

Civil Engineering Technology, School of Construction

Shortly after earning his English degree in Vietnam, Richard set his sights on studying in Canada. Specifically, he wanted to enroll at the institution his friends and family said was “the best for technical training in western Canada.” In 2017, Richard turned his dream into reality and was accepted into SAIT.

An active member of the SAIT community, Richard saw every volunteer experience as an opportunity to build leadership skills. He was elected by his peers to sit on Saitsa’s Board of Directors in 2019 and also volunteered as a peer mentor with SAIT’s Career Advancement Services. Richard recently received the Apex Award, which recognizes Saitsa members who are actively involved in the student association's volunteering activities.

Richard’s ability to see opportunity in every setback, including COVID-19, has him planning for a career as an entrepreneur or investor. In the more immediate future, he’s looking forward to starting his full-time role with Kiewit Corporation.


Mackenzie Niewchas

Environmental Technology, MacPhail School of Energy

Following high school, Mackenzie pursued a science degree from the University of British Columbia. After months on the job hunt post graduation, a friend suggested he check out SAIT to help him land the job he really wanted in environmental consulting. Shortly after, Mackenzie was playing Frisbee at SAIT’s orientation with his new friends from the Environmental Technology program.

During his time at SAIT, Mackenzie led the Environmental Technology Students’ Organization as president and spent a week in Kananaskis designing and implementing field studies.

Mackenzie found community at SAIT, and he’s thankful for his classmates and teachers for making his SAIT experience incredible.

The evolving COVID-19 pandemic has made it more challenging to break into industry, but Mackenzie says he’s confident SAIT prepared him to rise to any challenge.


Melisa Carnovale

Information Technology – Computer Systems, School of Information and Communications Technologies

Curiosity around computers and a love for learning led Melisa to SAIT. For 12 years, she worked in restaurants and studied wine only to later find herself considering a different path — to develop new, in-demand skills. She started with an introductory class in computer sciences. As they say, the rest is history.

Melisa’s friends, teachers and family supported her and helped her reach this milestone. Melisa’s son was born during her first semester at SAIT, one week before finals, and her parents helped ensure she didn’t miss a class.

Today, Melisa is starting a new chapter and is working as an intern with CISCO as a Software Development Engineer.


Brennan Shannon

Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting, School of Business

Before SAIT, Brennan took a year off after high school to travel solo and backpack across Europe. He recalls making the decision to accept SAIT’s offer and seat in the business program from a hostel in Ireland.

Quickly after stepping foot on campus, Brennan wanted to get involved and take advantage of every opportunity for growth and learning SAIT had to offer. He began networking, volunteering and supporting fellow classmates in student clubs and was elected president of the SAIT Accounting Society.

During his studies, Brennan traveled to Zanzibar and helped problem solve business challenges with local entrepreneurs. He also represented SAIT and worked with business leaders at Case competitions in Toronto and Washington.

Next, Brennan plans to pursue a CPA designation with Deloitte in Calgary.


"No matter their status, be kind to others. Be honest, loyal and trustworthy. Be a lifelong learner, be yourself, you know yourself better than anyone else does. Establish your dreams and live the life you imagine."

Ed Tickles, Electrical Engineering Technology ‘60


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