A St. Albert Grant MacEwan University student was awarded the distinguished Student of the Year award.
Jamie Hofmann, 21, a psychology graduate, received a certificate and $500 at the university’s Student Awards Night on April 6.
At the event, she noticed everyone in contention was a member of student council.
“I thought there was no way I would win. When they called my name, I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I have to walk up there in my heels,” Hofmann said.
To be in competition for the award, a student must display strong leadership skills, volunteerism at the campus and academic success.
Mike Glazier, manager of volunteers and services, oversaw Hofmann’s work in peer support and noted she had the three qualifications necessary to stand.
“She’s helped in volunteering. She’s bubbly, fun to be around, friendly and always wants to know people,” he said.
In the last two years Hofmann’s grade point average reached 3.94. In the last three terms, it hit 4, the absolute highest mark given.
“Between classes and studying I spend about 60 hours a week,” said the 2009 Paul Kane High alumna.
Unlike students who resent taking certain required courses, Hofmann takes an optimistic approach.
“I don’t think education is ever a waste of time. Some subjects are more relevant than others. The point is you’re showing you are capable of doing stuff outside of what you want to do.”
She also works as a casual home care clerk for Alberta Health Services.
And in the past two years, she’s volunteered her time as a peer-to-peer support counselor. The first year she listened and empathized. This year she trained others.
Snowball 2013, a university event to promote LGBTQ issues, was also a volunteer priority.
“I believe that everybody has the right to equal rights and I believe LGBTQ people should have the knowledge of all the resources available to them.”
Also a dog lover, as evidenced by her dogs Tula and Fiona, she joined the CHIMO Project, a puppy therapy program. At MacEwan, she was part of Stress-Less, an event that brought dogs to the campus for students to pet.
“It was right before exams and it was planned to relax students. Some students live in residence and haven’t seen a dog in months.”
Her latest project outside school is as a volunteer for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Her charge is an eight-year-old girl with three brothers and a distant relationship with her mother.
“It’s such a good organization. It doesn’t require a lot of time and it makes such a big difference. So many studies have shown how Big Brother, Big Sister will increase school performance, lower delinquency and help in general.
But in one of those scratch-your-head moments, Hofmann applied to the University of Alberta and McGill for a masters program and was turned down.
“I think it’s because it was lack of experience. I’ve worked but not in a related field,” noted Hofmann.
This year she graduates from MacEwan and her brother Andrew completes high school. As a celebration, the family plans a trip to Italy and Austria.
Hofmann, who has seen The Sound of Music well over 50 times, plans to make a major stop in Salzburg for The Sound of Music tour.
“My mom loved it and we bonded over it. We sing the songs in harmony and it’s quite a scene. And unlike some other musicals, this one has a story.”
In the future, Hofmann plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a counselor or operating a private practice.
“I saw what the job entailed and I’ve always had a passion for helping people.”