Before entering university Vanessa spent seven years working in Edmonton’s fine dining restaurants and travelling internationally for pleasure, volunteer, and work experience. Once entering university she excelled quickly. She was acknowledged for academic excellence on the ALES Wall of Achievement, received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada undergraduate award, and earned the ALES 204 course ‘Communicators of the Year’ group award. Her active participation in a UofA writing course led to a position as a peer tutor, where her love of editing and serving others is put to good use. Vanessa strives to maintain mind/body balance through outdoor physical activities such as biking, hiking, and climbing, while at the same time fostering a spiritual practice through yoga and conscious lifestyle choices.