Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth has been a leader in the field of education for 30 years as a teacher, principal, and director of education. She is also a vocal advocate for the preservation of Indigenous language and culture, and serves as a role model for many.

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“I love teaching. My goal was to teach Grade 5; however, the principal at Wollaston Lake School convinced me that I would do well with the little ones. When I started in 1987, I discovered that not one child spoke English. I took the opportunity to integrate the Dene language into the English kindergarten curriculum. It was then I realized the fun of teaching. When you create a nurturing environment for students, at any grade, the possibilities are endless.”

Tsannie-Burseth has overcome many obstacles to become the respected trailblazer she is today. She is a residential school survivor who persevered despite being taunted and forbidden to speak her language. She defied cultural expectations with her education and career path, paving the way for other women in her community and beyond.

“I attended residential school in the early 1960s,” she says. “I made plans then to become a teacher. My education curriculum at the residential school was not based on my linguistic nor socio-cultural background. At the same time, I always thought education was important, and knew I would teach someday.”

When time permits, Tsannie-Burseth enjoys writing about Dene history and teaching methodology and pedagogy. She also works tirelessly to ensure Indigenous languages are preserved and suggests all Saskatchewan residents can help their safeguarding by supporting research that analyzes the state of Indigenous languages in Saskatchewan.

Tsannie-Burseth has served as the director of education at Hatchet Lake First Nation, as Chief of the same community and, most recently, as associate director with the Prince Albert Grand Council. She has received numerous awards, including the Governor General’s Citizenship Award, Awasis Award, Role Model Award, Women of the Dawn Award, and Lieutenant Governor’s Award. While she is grateful for all the recognition that has come her way, receiving a distinguished alumni award from her alma mater is especially gratifying.

“Receiving this award is amazing. It means that I have contributed to my lifelong passion—teaching. I have had many compliments about receiving the award, mostly from women, and they tell me I am their mentor and role model.”

Tsannie-Burseth comes from a large, close-knit family of eleven children. Before her father passed away two years ago, he passed on many teachings that Tsannie-Burseth is dedicated to passing on to her three children and others. Her mother also lives at Wollaston Lake.

She loves to fish, pick berries and camp at Wollaston Lake. She is also an avid caribou hunter who admittedly hasn’t hunted for a few years because of the declining numbers of the species. She enjoys photography and takes photos of Elders, northern landscapes and family members. She lives with her husband, Robert Burseth, at MacDowall, Saskatchewan. She is currently working on a doctorate degree at the U of R that explores building curriculum that promotes Indigenous language and culture.

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Shawna Argue has enjoyed a dynamic career as one of the most respected members of Saskatchewan's engineering community.

"I am a detail-oriented, logical thinker," says Argue. "Engineering is a profession that applies science to solving a variety of problems. I like that about the profession. But, more than that, it is the people that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years, from a variety of professions;  some were classmates, some colleagues, some clients, some volunteers and some all of the above! Many have become lifelong, close friends."

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She is currently the director of Registration for the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan. Argue previously owned a consulting business working with a variety of Western Canadian clients in industries including resource extraction, oil and gas production, transportation, utilities and manufacturing.

"I have been told that I was the first woman to undertake a variety of activities in my profession," she says. "At the time, I was not aware that was the case and didn't even think about it. I have never been one to want to accomplish something just because I was a woman. I just wanted to get the job done."

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Argue has been a tireless volunteer in the community, raising more than $40,000 for CIBC Run for the Cure and serving many organizations including the Royal Regina Golf Club, Assiniboia Club, Regina Business and Professional Women's Club, Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Service and Royal Lifesaving Society Canada. She has also been the Saskatchewan director and president of the Canadian Society of Senior Engineers and is a warden for Camp#25 (Regina) for the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer Iron Ring Ceremony.

"I started volunteering early in my life for various causes-Red Cross, Royal Life Saving Society Canada, and many others," Argue explains. "As I progressed in my career, my volunteer activities were refocused on my profession. I thought I was giving back to my profession by volunteering, but in fact, my profession was still giving to me as I continually learned more."

Named a Woman of Distinction by the Regina YWCA in the Science and Technology category, Argue is also a recipient of the Regina Engineering Society's Engineering Excellence and Volunteer Awards. In 2019, she was the first woman to receive the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies - SK's Lieutenant Governor's Meritorious Achievement Award. She is also the first female University of Regina Engineering graduate to be recognized with an Alumni Crowning Achievement Award - Lifetime Achievement Award.

"I was very surprised and pleased when I was informed that I was receiving this award," she says of her Lifetime Achievement Award. "It is a great honour and a humbling experience to be recognized in such a way. It is very special and meaningful to be recognized for my professional and volunteer achievements."

Argue and her husband, Kent Walde BAdmin'84, have been married for 31 years. They live in Regina and also have an all-season cottage at Sunset Cove. They enjoy a variety of activities including vacationing at their timeshares in Kelowna and Barbados, cooking, golfing, gardening and sipping a fine wine.

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Jacq Brasseur has made a significant impact on the University of Regina as a student, student union representative, and executive director of the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity. They are a community organizer, support worker, and advocate for marginalized students, faculty, staff and community members. Brasseur came to Regina via Yellowknife's Aurora College which has a Social Work academic transfer partnership with the University of Regina.

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"Just like many other people who studied social work, I entered my field because I wanted to help people," they say. "Working at UR Pride means that I get to help 2SLGBTQ+ people every day who are navigating the impacts of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. It's also really amazing that I get to work in a place where I can be authentic about who I am. That's not the reality for everybody, and I know that I'm lucky to be able to work in an environment where I can be unapologetically queer."

Through UR Pride, Brasseur started several initiatives that have enhanced the overall diversity and strength of the University of Regina, including Colourful Campus Housing and Monarch Mental Health.

"In terms of the work directly on campus, I'm definitely proudest of being able to partner with Housing Services on campus to bring Colourful Campus House to life," says Brasseur. "This was an idea I had back when I was first living on campus, and it was amazing to get to see it happen. The opportunity for queer and trans students at the U of R to have access to inclusive campus housing with other queer and trans people is something that I'm proud of having developed with the U of R."

In addition to these initiatives, Brasseur also expanded UR Pride's Positive Space Network program, which provides professional development and education in the fields of 2SLGBTQ+ histories, current issues and intersectional allyship. They are currently pursuing a Master of Education degree in curriculum development, with a focus on 2SLGBTQ+ diversity education programs.

Brasseur has received national acclaim for their advocacy and volunteerism, both for their work at UR Pride and for the work they have done in Canada's North. In 2011, Jacq co-founded two organizations in the Northwest Territories: NWT Pride, an organization responsible for organizing an annual Pride festival; and the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, a 2SLGBTQ+ focused organization that opened its doors to a drop-in location under Brasseur's guidance.

They are very appreciative to receive an ACAA for humanitarianism and community service.

"It really means a lot to be recognized by an institution that I regularly challenge or push to be better," Brasseur says. "There have been a few times where I've written angry tweets or sent frustrated emails, but the fact that the University is recognizing my contributions to our campus and community means a lot to me. It tells me that they see the value in having people who love the University and challenge it to be better. If you ask me, that's what makes the U of R great."

When they're not working, Brasseur can be found spending time with friends or engaging in social justice in Regina. They're passionate about civic engagement and love getting involved in the community.

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