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Alumni Profile: Katrina Koehn, Spring 2018

April 12, 2018
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This profile is part of a series exploring the impact of SFU Semester in Dialogue alumni on our local and global communities.

What semester/theme did you participate in?
Health and Wellness: Complex, Not Just Complicated during Spring 2018.

Tell us about one of your projects in the Semester and why it mattered to you? In what way did the project have a positive impact on the community?

For our group complexity project, my teammates and I created a poster to help students navigate the different mental health services available on campus.

This project was meaningful to me because we determined that it filled a significant gap in the communication between mental health service providers and students who are seeking to access these services. This became even more evident during our group’s final public dialogue about mental health on campus, where a central theme was a lack of awareness about the services that we do have available to us as students.

Our team hopes that this project will play a small role in helping our peers achieve their wellness goals throughout the university experience.

What was one highlight from the semester?
A highlight from this semester was our "growing the story" assignment.

For this assignment our cohort was split up into two groups and each group received the story of the complex problems that the Foundry, a youth health centre, had to overcome in launching their programs. We were then given 24-hours to come up with a skit that we would perform for the staff of the Foundry.

Our team worked exceptionally well together, and had so much fun throughout the process.

How do you plan to use what you learned in the Semester in Dialogue in your future career?
As I am nearing the end of my degree, my experience in the Semester helped affirm some of the musings I have for my life after university.

Learning about complexity science laid the theoretical groundwork for my understanding of the role of healthcare professionals. Specifically, healthcare professionals must be able to advocate for their patients at multiple levels of the system and foster trusting relationships within and between those levels.

That is why I would like to work towards a future career composed of three intersecting prongs: one-on-one support, research and political advocacy.

The journey I take to get there is still completely up in the air.

What does receiving the den Haan Student Award mean to you?
I feel very honored to have received the den Haan Family Student Award and extend my gratitude to the den Haan family and Simon Fraser University. Receiving this award means that my university is investing in programs that help their students think critically about addressing issues in our community. 

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Semester in Dialogue 2016 brochure