GRADS Blog Series – Representing Waterloo

blog bannerMy colleagues and I often say that the value of a Waterloo degree is not only based on the university itself. It’s more dynamic than that. It’s based on the accomplishments of our alumni. When our grads are happy, contributing members of society, people take notice. Employers with the potential to hire our co-op students and alumni begin thinking about recruitment strategies; prospective students are intrigued and want to discover more; the international media wants to share their stories; and so much more.

To give you a sense of just what it’s like to represent Waterloo, I’d like to introduce you to Jessica, a Faculty of Art’s grad with a degree in English and French, as well as a Global Experience Certificate she earned from Waterloo in 2012. As part of the 100 Miles of Wild trek, she spent time trekking across the Badlands of North Dakota – an endeavour that combined two of her passions – the environment and trail ultra-marathons.

Jessica’s Story

jessica smiling at cameraHi! My name is Jessica. I’m the Advertising and Outreach Liaison for Alternatives Journal (A/J), Canada’s environmental voice, which is based out of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment. Although I was a runner for the university’s varsity cross-country team, I have always preferred trail ultra-marathons. Since graduating, I have combined my job with my passion and formed the blog “The Green Athlete” for A/J.

As I was creating a blog post, I discovered Adventure Science, the company founded in 2008 by Simon Donato that carried out a trek across the Badlands as a way to combine sport and science to explore nature. It was also intended to document the open spaces that are under threat from the expanding development for the Bakken Oil fields.

jessica running with backpack onAs part of the 100 Miles of Wild trek, I joined a team of other ultra-endurance athletes and scientists to run, climb, and trek through one of the last unexplored wilderness spaces in the United States to present our findings to the University of North Dakota. Our teams travelled an average of 20-30 miles a day through some pretty inhospitable terrain – the weather ranged from sub-zero to scorching temperatures with no drinkable water available.

badlandsAs the proposed 30-50,000 oil wells are looming in the future, I can say that I did everything I could to share the Badlands as a place that is both enchanting and worth protecting. 

Being a Waterloo grad has given me the tools to pursue excellence and seize every opportunity that comes my way. Having done a term overseas in my third year taught me to manoeuver unknown territory and to work well on a global level. Running on the varsity team taught me the power of team work, dedication and motivation. Thanks to the University of Waterloo, I have the experience I need to have a successful career.

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