Academic Development Specialists (ADS)
Our academic development specialists provide advising sessions on personalized academic planning and learning support to help you achieve your academic goals.
Get assistance with
Academic Improvement Planning
- Determining your academic strengths and interests
- Addressing academic challenges and concerns
- Accessing other campus support programs and services
Learning Support and Study Skills Development
- Setting goals and optimizing time management
- Improving academic reading and note taking
- Learning strategies for test and exam preparation
- Accessing other university learning-support programs
Support with Long-term Academic Planning
Guidance in exploring graduate programs
Improving scholarship and award applications
Connecting high-achieving students to the Scholar's Academy and the First Year Scholar Program
Assisting students with academic decision-making
Meet your Academic Development Specialists
As Academic Development Specialists, we are well acquainted with the commitments and challenges of university life, and we are passionate about helping students develop strategies that will lead to academic success. We look forward to meeting you!
Jessica holds a doctorate in Educational Studies from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Comparative and International Education. As Junior Dean of Pembroke College, Oxford, she supported undergraduate and graduate students in both their academic and personal ventures. Jessica brings that wisdom and experience gained overseas to her role at the SSC, where she works with students considering graduate or professional school and those seeking scholarship and award opportunities. Jessica thrives on helping students navigate through the bewildering maze of post-undergraduate options. Beyond the university’s walls, she enjoys cooking, baking, and (slow) distance running.
Kaliopi joined the Student Success Centre from British Columbia where, as an academic advisor at UBC Okanagan, she developed her passion for supporting students along their academic journey. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in International Business and a minor in Economics from the University of Northern British Columbia, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Simon Fraser University, specializing in Post-Secondary Student Affairs. Kaliopi strives to help students meet their academic goals and have a rewarding university experience. She especially enjoys working with students who are academically at-risk, and finds great satisfaction in helping them discover their path to success. A keen athlete, Kaliopi’s extracurricular interests include soccer and crafts.
Paul has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of British Columbia, and has taught ENGL 201 and Academic Writing 203 at the University of Calgary. When he’s not helping students achieve their academic goals, Paul is an amateur science geek with interests in astronomy, physics, and paleontology. He is also an avid runner and softball player when parts of his body aren’t aching too badly and he can find the time.
In her role as Academic Development Specialist for International Students, Jennifer works with undergraduate and graduate International students from all faculties, providing individualized academic support as well as group workshops on topics of general interest to international students. She holds a BA (Honours) in English and Religious Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Calgary. She joined the Student Success Centre after thirteen years as an instructor, first in English at Bow Valley College and then in Religious Studies at Mount Royal University. She has also been a lecturer for the Universities of Calgary and Lethbridge, and is a professional academic editor.
Mariann joined the Academic Strategist team while completing her MEd in Educational Research at the Werklund School of Education. She comes from a background as a writing tutor which she enjoys as a means of staying connected with her English BA. Through her work as a strategist, Mariann is especially interested in supporting students as they navigate procrastination and time management in a University context. Mariann also spends part of her time working with Dinos student athletes. When she’s not working with students, Mariann enjoys knitting sweaters, tending to her house plants, and spending time with her four-legged family members.
Jared has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Calgary in Business, Ancient & Medieval History, and Greek & Roman Studies. He also has a Ph.D. in Greek & Roman History from the University of Michigan. Before moving back to Calgary and joining the Student Success Centre, Jared taught courses in History and Greek literature at the University of Chicago and Washington State University. At the Student Success Centre, Jared works closely with the Thrive Priority Support Network. He also provides advising and support to students who are applying to graduate and professional school. Outside of work, Jared enjoys sports, modern board games, and historical research. His first book, Christian Intellectuals and the Roman Empire: From Justin Martyr to Origen, was published in 2020 by the Pennsylvania State University Press.
In her role as an Academic Strategist, Heather works with students to develop learning strategies that are personalized to their individualized needs. She demonstrates and models strategies and the use of technology to promote independent learning. Heather collaborates with Student Accessibility Services to support learners who are connected with their services. Heather holds a Master of Arts in Learning and Technology from Royal Roads University and a graduate certificate in Applied Learning Disabilities Studies from Cambrian College. Heather previously worked at Bow Valley College and SAIT in Accessibility Services as a learning strategist supporting students in person and online.
Dina has a varied background spanning multiple careers. She began her professional life with a degree in Biochemistry followed by a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine degree. After running a chiropractic practice for several years in North Vancouver, Dina moved to Calgary and spent a number of years caring for her new family. During that time, she acquired a Bachelor of Education degree, and shortly after started her new career as an Academic Advisor at Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. She spent one year at Schulich then transferred to the Student Success Centre as an Academic Development Specialist for the Dinos varsity athletes. Dina enjoys helping student-athletes juggle the rigorous demands of their academic and athletic responsibilities, while guiding them to reach their full academic potential. In her (little) spare time she is an avid skier and cyclist, and enjoys cooking, sewing, and taking care of her 3 very active kids.
As an Academic Strategist with a focus on supporting first-year programming, Courtenay helps students develop their learning and leadership skills. She was born and raised in Calgary, but spent time living in Edmonton while completing her BSc in Nutrition and Food Science. Courtenay also holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University, and enjoys discussing the connections that exist between leadership and learning. Before joining the University of Calgary, Courtenay coordinated student volunteer programs at the University of Alberta and Mount Royal University. When she is not supporting students, Courtenay loves to be outdoors cycling, running, cross country skiing or hiking.
Valerie is the Academic Development Specialist, Indigenous and Equity-deserving Students. Valerie works collaboratively with the Student Success Centre and the Writing Symbols Lodge supporting the needs of first generation and equity deserving students. Valerie holds a Masters in Education School Administration from Gonzaga University and is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. Program, Educational Leadership at the University of Calgary. She is a member of the Tsuut’ina Nation located in the SW corner of Calgary. Retaining and revitalizing Language and Culture is important to Valerie to maintain a sense of identity. Valerie enjoys golfing, baking, doing beading projects, and enjoys spending time with her family.