Kareina Cadel, Dal’s manager of student experience, is making sure students get their academic year started off right.
Her Backstory: Kareina Cadel cares about the environment. She began her post-secondary education in zoology, imagining her path would take her down the road of veterinary medicine, but quickly discovered it just wasn’t the right choice for her. She pivoted to marine biology and spent her days in rivers and lakes of Ontario tagging freshwater molluscs and working as a scuba diver for Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. When it came time for her to further her education, Dal seemed like a natural choice, and Cadel completed her Master’s in Resource and Environmental Management. After a few years of working in policy, research, and education it seemed a natural leap to take her love of science to Dal’s Office of Sustainability, where she could put her interest in the environment to good use for her alma mater. She spent five years leading projects and programs aimed at reducing Dalhousie’s impact such as Green Labs and Sustainable Events Certification. Always looking for a new challenge, this past summer she took a position as the manager of student experience in Student Affairs, where she’s a steward of the environment in a different way—creating a positive atmosphere for students.
Related reading: New Green Labs program empowers Dal researchers to create more sustainable spaces (Dal News, 2022)
Highlights: As manager of student experience, one of Cadel’s responsibilities is making sure New to Dal Orientation runs smoothly so that students can get their year started off right. “Orientation week is unique to working at an academic institution, so getting people involved in it and remembering that the first day of school is fun and there’s a lot of energy and excitement, especially for new students, is important.” She’s also working to keep the momentum going after that first week winds down. “This year probably feels like the first really normal year we’ve had in a long time.” She says that many of this year’s students were in high school or early studies during the pandemic. “We wanted to partner with all of the key groups on campus to create programming that is accessible as possible to our students, but also engaging and exciting for them to remind them that university supposed to be a really fun, exciting time and not terrifying, because it can feel terrifying.”
Why I Do It: Cadel started her university career when she was 19 as a resident assistant (RA) at the University of Guelph, so she’s been tapped into what makes for a good student experience for a long time. “This is a really transformative time in people’s lives,” she says. She enjoys the community aspect of working at Dal and finds it especially rewarding to work with students who might be feeling a little lost because they don’t know what the future holds. “I’ve had students do internships with me who’ve gone on to become professional planners or energy consultants, and they’re doing good in the world. And we were helping to launch them.”
This story appeared in the DAL Magazine Fall/Winter 2023 issue. Flip through the rest of the issue using the links below.
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