June 3, 2021

Faculty of Arts alumna named Top Five winner in national Storytellers competition

Sydney Seidel wins prestigious student award for her presentation on vape use in young adults
Sydney Seidel
Sydney Seidel has been named a Top Five winner in the SSHRC Storytellers competition. Rand Al-Hashmy

The University of Calgary is thrilled to congratulate Sydney Seidel, Faculty of Arts alumna, on her 'Final Five' win in the national 2020 Storytellers competition, held by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

The Storytellers competition challenges post-secondary students to describe their social science or humanities project and demonstrate how their research has an impact on our lives and communities.

“It’s an incredible honour to represent the University of Calgary in this competition, and it’s been such a pleasure to highlight my honours thesis work,” says Seidel.

In 2020, Seidel, an honours student in the Department of Psychology, submitted a video entry to the contest, entitled Investigating E-cigarette Use in Young Adults.

Exploring the use of e-cigarettes, commonly known as vaping, among young adults, Seidel’s entry to the Storytellers contest included her voice and narrative interspersed with compelling headlines around the issue from different publications nationwide. 

Seidel was selected as a top 25 finalist last summer, and was named a Top Five Winner in an announcement at the end of May 2021, following a round of adjudication by a panel of expert judges. She also presented for the judges via Zoom as part of the competition.

“The best part about the Storytellers experience was learning how to improve my research communication skills,” she says. “I think the COVID-19 pandemic has really highlighted the importance of research communication and public engagement. I’m eager to continue to use these skills moving into grad school. This competition has sparked a real passion for research communication.” Seidel will begin her clinical psychology graduate program this fall at the University of Calgary.

“We are incredibly proud of Sydney for her win at Storytellers,” says Dr. Penny Pexman, associate vice-president (research). “This competition develops knowledge engagement skills that help researchers share their work with communities and audiences outside the academy. Sydney’s work is a great example of the ways that undergraduate students are conducting research with social impact. We encourage all of our young scholars to look for opportunities to hone their research communication skills.”

“I’ve been able to apply the skills I’ve learned during the Storytellers competition in my interactions with my participants, friends, family, or even colleagues outside of my field,” says Seidel. “The competition has taught me a lot about communicating research to a wide audience, and I think that is a skill I’ll be able to carry forward throughout my career.”

The 2022 edition of the Storytellers Competition will launch in Fall 2021. Visit the SSHRC website for more details.