Jan. 29, 2018

Alumni Spotlight: Silvia Rossi BA'93, MA'06 (French)

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.
Sylvia Rossi

Silvia Rossi is a Writing and Learning Strategist at Mount Royal University. Through workshops and one-on-one appointments, she helps students from all faculties move to the next level in their writing, referencing, time management and learning strategies. Rossi was the inaugural recipient of the  E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship. This generous award is given annually to a full-time student registered in any faculty at the University of Calgary wishing to pursue studies in France through an official exchange program, for two semesters. Learn more about the award.

What is your favourite University of Calgary memory?

One memory that really stands out is the afternoon I noticed a poster in Craigie Hall for the E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship. It's a scholarship that allows a student to spend an entire academic year at a university in France, taking courses in French. I remember thinking, “Well, it never hurts to apply, right?” I never expected to win, but I ended up having the great privilege of being selected for that award, and my year in Dijon, France changed the course of my life.

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

On warm days, I loved sitting on the lawn by what we called the “chicken sculpture” (the metal sculpture at the top of the small hill near the Science building). Because I had friends who spent every free minute in the Black Lounge (known as the “Black Lung” since smoking was allowed there), I did put in some time there as well!

If you could give one piece of advice to an undergraduate completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?

Spend at least one semester abroad. You’ll never, ever regret it!

How has your career evolved?

After graduating, I spent many years in the field of English Language Teaching. My teaching took me to Japan, Poland, Russia, Brazil and Colombia. I eventually moved into an administrative position in teacher training, which helped me to gain a range of new skills. I missed teaching, however, so I’m thrilled to be back in a role where I have direct contact with students every day.

What is the best thing about your job?

  1. The variety! I work with students from so many different programs. They come with very different assignments and a variety of writing and learning needs. No two days are ever the same.
  2. I love the feeling of helping a student who is stuck on something get unstuck. It’s incredibly rewarding.
  3. The exceptional team of people I work with every day. They are supremely competent, dedicated, fun, and caring professionals!

How did your arts degree help you get to where you are now/your current career?

The critical thinking, language skills and cultural understanding I gained from my arts degree have not only led directly to where I am now in my career, but they are fundamental to who I am as a person.