Over the five years Amanda Rae Storteboom, 32, BA’09, was the director of Integration and Special Projects at CUPS Health Education and Housing, the non-profit increased its annual operating budget from $10 million to $17 million. Her colleagues claim the international relations major was instrumental in CUPS’ growth, due to Storteboom’s implementation of operating efficiencies. Now based in Toronto, she gives a shout-out to UCalgary faculty — Dr. Karen Benzies and Dr. Carla Ginn — with whom she worked closely on several special projects.
What do you miss about student life? At the time, I didn’t realize that being an undergrad was about having unrestricted time and opportunity to be curious and further research and explore absolutely any topic that interested me. Your assignments just basically give you a framework within which to do that. Your entire job in university is just to be curious about the world and ask questions. How incredible!
Any advice for new students? Enjoy the process. Do not be in a rush to get through. Ask questions and not just specifics about the assignment — ask the big “why” and “how come” questions. Lean in to the real conversations. And be curious. Everything, every system, every thought paradigm, every way the world works was created by us humans. Which means everything can be changed by us, too. If you can see something does not fit, call it out, build a team around it, seek to change it. For the introverts: it can be tempting to just want to absorb all the information, but use your time in school to practice using your voice, too. The world needs you to speak up.
If you went back to school, what would you take? Public health. Design thinking. Or maybe neuroscience or epigenetics. These things may seem random but, if you ever wanted to have a conversation about it, I could tell you how I see them as interrelated.
A significant memory from UCalgary? Pulling all-nighters in the MacKimmie Library Block with my fellow students. We would stock up on the five-cent candy bags from the Stor to keep up our energy all night.
Worst job? Working at Brentwood Starbucks — 6 a.m. shifts so I could be in class by 2 p.m. Lifting those heavy rubber mats on the floor behind the counter was the worst. #barristasearntheirtips
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? Travel outside of North America. If you are a student doing a semester abroad, this is a great way to spend time in another country. I would recommend visiting the International Centre to find out what opportunities and financial options are available for you to take advantage of. Travel will, for sure, give you new perspectives on the world, help you get to know yourself better, and may even completely change the trajectory of your career or life.