Highlights of the polytechnic’s 60th year
As 2022 draws to a close – a year in which NAIT campuses happily began to look more like they did pre-pandemic – we reached out to the polytechnic’s photographer, Leigh Kovesy (Photographic Technology ’01), for a highlight reel.
Through the camera lens, here’s her perspective on NAIT’s 60th year of preparing students for rewarding careers that make a difference in our communities. Whether that meant being able to gather once again in classrooms or learning to get in and out of a running helicopter, it involved a lot of learning, fun and dreaming about bright futures to come.
“It was so cold and snowy that day,” says Kovesy. Each year, Conservation Biology students go to Nordegg for practical training, including electrofishing in Shunda Creek. Sending a current through the water causes fish to swim toward its source. Then they can be captured, examined and measured for population studies. This was the day's last outing before an April snowstorm became too heavy.
Getting safely in and out of a helicopter is a necessary skill for those same students, who practise at Nordegg’s Cline River helipad for future fieldwork at remote sites best reached by air. This is the first year students had the opportunity to learn how to move around, enter and exit a helicopter with the rotors in motion.
For the first time, an Indigenous honour song was performed in person at NAIT’s Convocation. Part of the purpose of the song, says knowledge keeper Lonny Potts, is to “recognize people who accomplished something in their life that took commitment and struggle.” Potts performed the song with singers and drummers Dalton Potts, Muskosis Morin and Asiniy Morin.
JR Shaw School of Business students were among the 6,587 graduates recognized over five ceremonies in May 2022. The event marked NAIT's first in-person convocation since the pandemic. “People were really happy and excited,” says Kovesy.
Denturist Technology students resumed regular appointments with patients from the community to provide dentures made on campus. The outreach program has been in place for nearly 50 years, giving students hands-on, supervised experience and clients a discount compared to services off campus.
A technician from Edmonton-based Great Canadian Solar and an Alternative Energy Technology student install a solar module on NAIT’s roof for a capstone project led by Student Energy, a global organization empowering the next generation of leaders who are accelerating the transition to a sustainable, equitable energy future. The crew was racing against the weather, says Kovesy. “There was a really bad storm; you can see it coming in the background. Just as they finished it started.”
To help new international students in their transition to life in Canada, peer mentors with NAIT’s International and Intercultural Community Centre volunteer to help them build connections and have a great campus experience. They don’t, as a rule, do the can-can. “I was just trying to get them to do fun stuff,” says Kovesy with a laugh. This shoot, she says, proved a unique opportunity for the mentors, who are paired with three to six student mentees, to get to know one another as well.
Listen to Ep. 3 of The Curious President podcast, where NAIT CEO and president Laura Jo Gunter looks at how the polytechnic helped international students come to Edmonton during the pandemic.
Ooks athletics were back in action in six sports in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, and gathered for an annual group portrait in NAIT’s Shaw Theatre. Note the small group of male athletes four rows up on the right, says Kovesy, and their hands – a prankster’s spin on the camaraderie that comes from college-level sports. “You can see they’re laughing,” says Kovesy, good-naturedly. “They think it’s so funny.”
Check out the extraordinary story of the women’s basketball team’s underdog 2022 national championship win.
On a mild September morning, Kovesy made the trip to NAIT’s Spruce Grove campus to visit Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator students and instructors. Here, an operator in training works to manoeuver a load safely around the truck.
In November, NAIT hosted its first “Jill of all Trades,” a national event started by Ontario’s Conestoga College in 2014, with the goal of encouraging more young women to consider the field as a career. Roughly 100 female high school students from the Edmonton area and northern Alberta visited the polytechnic to try their hands at more than a dozen trades, including welding, carpentry and more.
While commonplace in any other year, this scene that Kovesy came across in the Architectural Technology program struck her as worth documenting. “It was just nice to see a full, busy class,” she says. It was nice, that is, to see something familiar after so long.