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Meet five members of the Class of 2015

Meet five members of the Class of 2015

Meet five members of the Class of 2015 – Erynn Linehan, Com'15; Alex Cataford, Artsci'15, Paige Dean, Artsci'15; Kalie Steen, Meds'15; and Ian Sims, Sc'15.

A whole new world

Erynn Linehan, Com’15, has had unforgettable experiences since early September, when she arrived on campus from her home in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland.

“Frosh week, was flawless. Imagine me and 450 classmates, all dressed in goofy outfits with bells on our shoes, running straight into the lake,” she says.

Erynn Linehan Erynn Linehan hails from Grand Falls-Windsor, NL
(Greg Black photo)

Last spring, Linehan learned that she’d been awarded a D & R Sobey Atlantic scholarship. Other universities made entrance offers, but Erynn says she fell in love with Queen’s.

“It’s so beautiful here. We did a walking tour, and the guide was a fourth-year commerce student. She talked about all the extracurricular activities you can get involved in, about the school spirit, and how you feel part of a family with the faculty. I knew it was right for me.”

Linehan’s scholarship, valued at $60,000 per student over four years, is awarded on the basis of academic ability, creative and original thinking, involvement in school and community activities, and leadership qualities.

She certainly fits the bill: in high school years Linehan excelled in academics and athletics, and among other roles, she raised funds for cancer research, was a junior volunteer firefighter training peer leader, and organized various student events and clubs. As captain of her high-school volleyball and basketball teams, Linehan’s honours included MVP and athlete-of-the-year awards. What’s more, she was also named Miss Teen Fitness at the 2010 Miss Teen Newfoundland and Labrador Pageant.

“I really like to be challenged, to try what’s new. And if I’m not good at something, I try to develop it,” she says.

Linehan’s interest in commerce was piqued when she began investing in the stock market in grade nine. It grew last year, when she won a regional public speaking competition entitled “Economically Speaking.”

Says Linehan, “I knew the Queen’s program is world renowned, and learned that there’s an awesome study abroad program in third year. I’ll probably go to France because I’ve been in French immersion since kindergarten.”

As she begins her studies at Queen’s, Linehan welcomes new influences. “I come from a small town in Newfoundland, and now my classes are full of people from everywhere imaginable. I hope to really grow from that variety and multiculturalism.” At the same time, she worries about missing her family.

In future, Linehan hopes for a career in finance, perhaps working for a large corporation, or she may become an analyst on the news. But she isn’t closing any doors. “All I’ve done is read since I arrived at Queen’s. If I continue to learn this much, this fast, maybe I’ll take over the world!” she jokes.

– By Kirsteen Macleod

Big wheel on campus

Balancing university studies with cycling – that’s the latest challenge for Alex Cataford, Sc’15.
The Ottawa native, who’s a member of Canada’s junior National Cycling Team, has his sights set on competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Some people tell me I’m taking on too much,” Alex says. “But I think with time and effort and focus, you can do anything.”

Alex Cataford (CCA photo)Alex Cataford won three Ontario cycling
championships as a cadet (15-16 years old)
and three national medals on the track as a
junior (17-18 years old). (Photo courtesy of
the CCA)

The demands of his cycling life meant Alex was away racing in Europe for two weeks – starting on the first day of classes.

“But I came to campus early, talked to the professors about getting my assignments, and bought my books. So I’m actually on top of my homework,” he says.

In high school, Alex excelled academically and as a cyclist. Since he began racing competitively at age 15, he has won scores of local, national, provincial and international races. Notably, he was the 2011 Junior Pan American champion in the three-kilometre individual pursuit race.

Asked why he chose to study at Queen’s, Alex says it’s partly because both his parents are graduates: Carrie McCallum, Artsci’88, and Robert Cataford, Sc’88, MSc’95. “Also, Queen’s has a solid reputation, and I really like the school spirit,” he says.

Engineering frosh week, he notes, was an experience to be remembered. “The grease pole was a highlight for me. You build a human pyramid, and try to climb it.”

Alex hopes to “really enjoy the experience of studying at Queen’s, and of student life,” though he’ll often be away racing. He’s taking a lighter course load, but still has worries about maintaining a balance in life. Fortunately, his cycling experiences have taught him helpful skills.

“I’ve travelled a lot, so I’m good at living independently, at time management, and I handle pressure and stress really well.”

While he is sometimes tempted to “just go ride in Europe,” Alex says he’s always wanted to be an engineer. “Partly it’s because that’s my Dad’s profession. But I tend to take stuff apart, and build it. It seems natural for me.”

What does Alex imagine for his future?

“I’m not sure about my career, but I’m thinking of mechanical engineering—maybe for the car industry, or even designing bikes.”

Meanwhile, until the snow comes, expect to see Alex flash by on his bike while doing daily training. “There’s good riding around Kingston, and traffic isn’t a problem,” he says.

— By Kirsteen MacLeod

Oh, for more hours in the day

"Dream big, and never give up. Believe in yourself and who you are,” says Vancouver native Paige Dean, Artsci’15. “I got that motto from Glee.”

Given Dean’s passion for music and drama that seems fitting. At her Vancouver high school, she earned top marks, pursued athletics such as cross-country running and track, and embraced theatre.

Paige Dean, Artsci'15Paige Dean, Artsci'15, hails from Vancouver.
(Greg Black photo)

Her swan song in grade 12 was playing the role of Belle in a student production of Beauty and the Beast.

“It was my dream role,” she says.

And she squeezed in community theatre: during the run of Brighton Beach Memoirs, she juggled schoolwork and performed in this three-hour play four nights each week.

Says Dean, “I like to be well-rounded. I find that the busier I am, the more successful I am.”

At Queen’s, her studies – which are focused on science, but also include drama and music – are keeping her occupied. Oh, yes, and she’s already joined the running club and has auditioned and been accepted into the Queen’s Choral Ensemble.

“I was thrilled to get an email that said, ‘Welcome sopranos.’ [Ensemble director] Dr. Mark Sirett, Mus’75, is one of the leading choir directors in Canada.”

Dean says her decision to come to Queen’s was well-supported; it’s a family tradition. Her father is John Dean, MBA’05, and her sister Brooke Dean will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2014.

Trading the big city for a smaller town also had its appeal. “Here, more people live in residence for first year, which I like,” Dean says. “Vic Hall, where I am living, is really convenient.”

Asked about her hopes for student life at Queen’s, Paige says: “I’d like to go to medical school, so I hope to get into life sciences next year.”

She’s also seeking the spotlight. “I want to get involved in some school plays; it’s one of the best feelings in the world.”

In her early days of university life, does she have any fears?

“It’s really different: I like to keep on top of my studies,” says Dean. “But here, you finish one thing, and three more begin, so there’s never a time when you couldn’t be doing more reading or reviewing.”

And like many high achievers, she’s concerned about taking on too much. Dean regrets she just doesn’t have enough time to be a member of the varsity rowing team, for example.

“I felt like I needed to focus on my studies, so I withdrew. The fear is that you’ll run out of time. I like to do a lot, but don’t want to get overloaded either.”

It’s a fine balance, she adds. “I’m conscious that I want to make the most of every moment. I don’t want to look back in 50 years and say, ‘I wish I did that.’ If you have a dream you should pursue it. Otherwise, you’ll never know.”

– By Kirsteen MacLeod

In her parents’ footsteps

Kalila “Kalie” Anne Steen, Meds’15, is following in her parents’ footsteps – especially her dad’s.

“He’s a Queen’s grad and a physician. I’m even staying in Medical House, the same co-op where he lived,” Steen explains. Her parents, anesthesiologist Ted Steen, Meds’76, and Lynda (Shumka) Steen, Artsci’74, live in Danville, Pennsylvania (pop. 5,000), a town about 150 km northwest of Philadalphia.

Describing Queen’s as “a great school in a fantastic town,” Steen adds, “The first time I set foot on campus I felt a strong sense of welcome. It was was tough to resist, and I fell in love with the place.”

Kalie Steen, Meds'15Kalie Steen, Meds'15,hails from Danville, PA
(Greg Black photo)

Steen knows something about great schools. She graduated from Penn State University with a 4.0 grade-point average and a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine, with honours in music performance. In addition to being academically gifted, she’s a talented French horn player.

“I love music. I’ve been playing since I was nine,” she says.

Her identical twin sister, Talora Steen – who also graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average and is a gifted clarinetist – is now studying medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

While she was born in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Steen grew up in Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and was on the Dean’s List every semester during her years at Penn State and has garnered an impressive list of awards and scholarships.

Steen says she’s wanted to be a physician ever since high school, though she hasn’t chosen a specialty yet. “I haven’t thought that far ahead. I want to explore medicine before pursuing something in particular,” she says.

As she begins her medical studies, she’s admits she’s excited. “I’m thrilled to be here – not a day goes by that I’m not thankful. I have a feeling lots of great things will happen for me here at Queen’s.”

But does Steen have any worries or fears?

“Most med school students are concerned about balancing schoolwork and personal time,” she says. “But as long as I’m able to keep my mind on the ball and not get too distracted, I know it will be fine.”

For now, she’s looking forward to finding a place to play her French horn without driving her housemates crazy, to joining ensembles, and playing with new friends. Oh yes, and to wearing her Meds’76 year jacket, a gift from her proud dad.

– By Kirsteen MacLeod

In search of "something bigger"

Although Ian Sims, Sc’15, hails from British Columbia interior, he’s not too worried about the cold and snow of winter in Kingston. He’s a little more concerned about where he might snowboard locally. His home town is Prince George, a logging town at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, that’s nearly 800 km north of Vancouver. This is prime snowboarding country.

Ian Sims, Sc'15, the 2011 Sc 48 1/2 Mature Student Bursary winnerBC native Ian Sims is the 2011
recipient of the Sc’48½ Mature
Student Bursary. Valued at
$76,000 over four years, it is the
most generous award of its kind
in Canada. (Adam Walker photo)

Ian is the 2011 recipient of the Sc’48½ Mature Student Bursary. At age 26, he’s older than most of his classmates. He spent the past dozen or so years working in BC’s booming construction and mining industries.

In fact, he started in construction when he was a 14-year-old high school student, working part-time. At that time he had a notion he might become a lawyer, so he took English and civics courses. But once he started working in the building and mining industries full-time, he found he loved it.

“I figured I might have something bigger in store for myself, but I wasn’t sure what,” he says.

Turns out that he loves mining. “It’s the most bad-ass form of construction there is,” he says, “I knew within a couple of weeks of working in a mine that it was the future for me.”

One kilometre underground in a gold mine, he discovered what he says was “a huge sense of accomplishment and a real sense of being part of a team.”

But Ian didn’t have the math or science background necessary to get the academic credentials he needed to further a career in mining. So while he went back to night school and earned his Grade 10, 11, and 12 credits in math and physics. To his surprise, he found that he was good at it, and so he enrolled in a community college engineering program. That experience proved to him that wanted to go to university and become a professional engineer. His college guidance counselor helped him apply for scholarships. He didn’t think he stood a chance.

Then one day last spring, Ian got the joyous news that he had been accepted into both Queen’s and UBC with scholarships at both schools. The choice was easy he says, “I liked the sense of history, the opportunity to broaden my horizons, the reputation, and the massive stone buildings here at Queen’s. The campus is just how I imagined it,” he says.

“I’m humbled to receive Sc’48½ Mature Student Bursary. Receiving it is truly is a life-altering experience for me. I’d want to thank both Sc’48½ and Queen's for this opportunity,” he says.

It seems that Ian Sims is on his way to that “something bigger” that he’s been dreaming about.

– By Lindy Mechefske

[Queen's Alumni Review 2011-4 cover]