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Keeping it "200": Meet banner students Celeste Williams and Anika Riopel

- November 10, 2017

Dal 200 banner students Celeste and Anika.
Dal 200 banner students Celeste and Anika.

Signs of Dalhousie’s forthcoming 200th anniversary are, literally, blowing in the wind. The Dal 200 banner series, which can be found on lamp posts across campus (and was recently featured on the MacDonald Bridge), profiles exceptional Dal students from all of the university’s Faculties. In the weeks leading up to 2018, we’ll be sharing short Q&As with some of the featured students.

Learn more: dal200.ca

Celeste Williams

Fourth-year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program, Faculty of Dentistry; Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) alumnus, 2013.

Tell us a bit about yourself

This year I had the opportunity to participate in Sharing Smiles Day at Dalhousie – a day that offers persons with special needs the opportunity to learn about oral health through fun-filled activities. I also had the chance to volunteer at the North End Dental Clinic during spring break by providing emergency centered dental care to an underserved population, and for the past few summers volunteered for the Aboriginal and African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Summer Camp which was an opportunity to introduce campers to the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie through hands-on activities and information related to oral health.

Career ambition?
To complete the Doctor of Dental Surgery program, and further my education in the field of paediatric dentistry.

What brought you to Dalhousie?
The great academic opportunities and choices offered.  I am able to pursue a profession that I’m passionate about while staying close to home.

What’s the best class you’ve taken at Dalhousie and why?
The best class I’ve taken at Dal was the History of Jazz. Not only did it create change from my usual science classes but also the material was extremely interesting and incorporated a musical listening component very different from what I usually listened to.

What do you think of your banner? Have you gotten any fun reactions to it?
I like the banner idea. I felt a great sense of pride when I saw it, as did my family and friends. For me, inclusion and diversity are important aspects.

What does it mean to you for Dalhousie to celebrate its 200th anniversary?
Milestones and accomplishments deserve to be celebrated, and as a potential graduating DDS student during the 200th anniversary year, it’s a milestone and accomplishment that holds special meaning and a personal connection.

More about Celeste: A passion for public and pediatric dentistry (Dal News, Mar 2017)

Anika Riopel

Fourth-year Environment, Sustainability & Society and Theatre (honours).

Tell us a bit about yourself

I came into academia later than most students. Prior to coming to Dalhousie, I failed out of an Acting Conservatory Program, completed a culinary certificate, became a SCUBA diving instructor and spend a lot of time working and travelling around Canada and the world.  

When I started my undergrad I threw myself head first into student societies, volunteering and activities. I wanted to get the most out of my four years here! I joined the Dal SCUBA society, YESS, and the Dal/King's Bike Society. I also took advantage of opportunities like the College of Sustainability's Sustainability Leadership Certificate. I also practised facilitation skills presenting DalLeads, East Coast Student Conference and the National Student Leadership Conference. Subsequently, I got involved with organizing DalLeads too!  

I also worked to get involved in the Halifax community, working as freelance Scuba instructor, getting involved in local organizations such as the Ecology Action Centre, Halifax Cycling Coalition, Halifax Partnership, and Zuppa Theatre. Getting involved both on and off campus, allowed me to build up my soft skills, make meaningful connections and get jobs! It has also allowed me to make really good friends and build a great community here in Halifax! 

Career ambition?
I would love to work in the field of adult environmental education & sustainable marketing — ocean-based if possible! I think that in order to have a sustainable future we need to figure out how to communicate across political and social divides bring people together to solve tomorrows problems. This means understanding how people think and how to effectively challenge adult's opinions. 

What brought you to Dalhousie?
The ocean, the East Coast vibe, and a university that was big enough to offer many options and opportunities and small enough to make meaningful connections to other student professors and researchers.

What’s the best class you’ve taken at Dalhousie and why?
I loved SUST 1000 in first year. This class was broad in topics and challenged many of my perspectives and opinions on sustainability. For me, this was what I wanted out of university — a class where I could dig into, unpack and examine my own viewpoints and arguments. This forced me to think and engage deeper with the world and myself. I love being a student because it forces you to grow.

What do you think of your banner? Have you gotten any fun reactions to it?
They're really fun. A friend told me he loves seeing me every day on his way to school! So I guess I get to be in two places at once!

What does it mean to you for Dalhousie to celebrate its 200th anniversary?
I think it gives us a chance to really step back and appreciate academia. This is 200 years of higher education history — what a wonderful thing to cherish learning.

This anniversary also gives us a chance to reflect on what it means to be a student — the power and privilege of being here and being able to spend our time learning. In order to make change, real and meaningful change, we need to also understand our own histories, how and why things happened and respect the progress that we have made, even while looking to the future.

More about Anika: Making waves in student leadership (Dal News, Nov 2015)

Learn more about Dal’s 200th anniversary at dal200.ca


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