Aug. 10, 2023
Schulich student named Gold Medal Student Award winner by Engineers Canada
Annemarie Summers considers it the biggest compliment to be called “Mom of the First Years” by one of her peers.
The Schulich School of Engineering student remembers being in their shoes, trying to find her place in the world, and has become a well-respected mentor and advocate, amassing a collection of honours for her hard work, including most recently the Gold Medal Student Award winner by Engineers Canada.
Having previously been named a Schulich Change Leader, Summers’ trophy mantle also includes a Leader of Equality Award of Distinction, a Schulich Change Leader and the CEMF Acero Award through the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation.
While she is proud of her accomplishments, the mechanical engineering student says it hasn’t been an easy road and she hopes sharing her story will help inspire others.
Out of her comfort zone
Summers started the application process for the Gold Medal Student Award in January with the intention being, “Why not?”
She didn’t think she would win, but like many students fighting “imposter syndrome,” she felt like she needed to enter the competition in order to prove to herself she could do it.
The award recognizes the “exceptional achievements of undergraduate engineering students who have demonstrated leadership, resiliency, and positive impact in their engineering studies and their community.”
Summers says her engineering journey at Schulich allowed her to step out of her comfort zone, even talking about mental health with students as part of a series on the Instagram page for the Mechanical Engineering Students Society, where she is the vice-president of communications.
“Having the opportunity to speak with other young women and role models, I’ve learned that if I can open up a conversation that it’s okay to not have everything figured out,” Summers says. “Trust me – I sure don’t, and I have learned taking care of yourself is so incredibly important for all of us.”
Standing above the crowd
“I was shaking and in disbelief, pacing and re-reading the letter,” says Summers, as she recalled receiving the news via email. Then came the challenge of keeping the award under wraps until the official announcement was made.
However, she was able to tell her parents about the victory, as well as references like Dr. Qiao Sun, PhD, the head of the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.
“Annemarie is a shining star among Schulich engineers and a role model for her peers,” says Sun. “She excels in all areas of her study and is committed to helping her profession to advance diversity, and holds tremendous potential as a future leader of her profession and our society.”
Summers was also lauded for her efforts by Alison Barrett-Ede, the manager of community and social impact at Schulich.
“Annemarie is very dedicated to getting involved in her community and supporting her peers and the next generation of change leaders,” Barrett-Ede said in a video tribute at the Engineers Canada Awards banquet. “She really stood out as a leader among her student group.”
Inspiring the next generation
Referred to by some of her fellow students as “the firecracker involved in everything,” Summers is humbled by the accolades, but also wants to keep it all in perspective.
She believes in the mantra of “if you can see it, you can be it,” and is working every day to help everyone realize their dreams.
Summers says getting involved in student life at the University of Calgary, along with her mentoring efforts like Schulich’s Women in Engineering Day and her startup Math and More Education, will hopefully inspire more young girls to start their engineering journeys.
“Looking back on the experiences I’ve had at Schulich, it’s honestly been the relationships I’ve made, everything I’ve had the privilege to be involved in, and the community I’ve been a part of,” Summers says. “It has all given me the greatest sense of pride.”
It’s a cause Summers hopes to continue working on with her degree and then into her career.