Sydney Hampshire

’18 BSc(Hons), ’20 MScRS,

Research Assistant @Alberta Health Services and the University of Alberta

Sydney Hampshire is a rehabilitation scientist from Edmonton, Alberta. In her thesis for her master of rehabilitation science, she created a manual wheelchair propulsion simulator, based in a virtual environment, for wheelchair track athletes. This work grew out of her love for innovative technology that improves the lives of those with mobility challenges. Sydney's own struggles with limited mobility—from a stroke she suffered at age nine—and her quest to regain function while living in a remote, Northern community is what drew her into the field of rehabilitation. As a result, Sydney is innately passionate about the different rehabilitation strategies available to those with disabilities.

Sydney is a co-founder of Click&Push Accessibility Inc. Through wearables and software, the social enterprise helps people engage with their community and bypass fear of difficult terrain or unexpected barriers. Currently, she is a study coordinator with the Collaborative Orthopaedic Research (CORe) group at the University of Alberta.

Q: What is your favourite memory from your time at Augustana Campus?

A: As much as others might have complained about the food at times, I loved the cafeteria. It was such a good way to meet people and to hang out with friends. Personally, I loved the salad bar, sandwich day and unlimited chocolate milk!


Q: What was your favourite class you took? What did you like about it?

A: AUENV 324 with Glynnis Hood. I just love Glynnis! She's an excellent instructor. It felt like a learning experience, not like a course where you have to memorize everything for no reason. She made going to class enjoyable by being engaging and interesting. She would tell a few stories that made the content more real, and she also just has excellent mannerisms and was enjoyable to be around.


Q: How did you spend your time outside of the classroom?

A: Hanging out around campus, meeting people, going to the gym or sports games and seeking out free food on campus!


Q: Who was your favourite instructor and what do you remember about them?

A: I love Glynnis, but I also love Glen Hvenegaard. Glen taught me AUENV 252, which was all about wildlife in Alberta. It was a great opportunity to learn about the animals around us. I love going outside or to the mountains and actually knowing what each bird is called, especially because my Dad is a zoologist and I like to compete with him. He always wins, though!


Q: How did your time at Augustana impact who you are today?

A: Augustana was a good step in my journey from living in a remote community to living independently in Edmonton. I learnt a lot about myself and actually started going to the gym for physiotherapy when I was attending Augustana. This became a big part of my life and has helped me regain a lot of function after my stroke. Health and wellness opportunities are crucial for students! I’m grateful that living in Camrose and going to Augustana gave me the chance to go to an actual gym and see a physiotherapist on a regular basis.

Today I'm a research assistant with Alberta Health Services and the University of Alberta. It's a fun time and is teaching me a lot. It’s also just been another opportunity to see rehabilitation from a different lens. In my masters, I saw how sport could improve the quality of life of those living with spinal cord injuries and related conditions. In my previous role with Heroes in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium (HiMARC), we worked to improve resilience, readiness, health and wellbeing in active duty military members, veterans, public safety personnel and their families. Recently, with CORe, I’ve worked to improve recovery and management of bone, joint and muscle conditions/injuries in older adults and children.


Q: What advice would you give to current students? 

A: Enjoy your time there as much as you can. Don't be scared to take risks and talk to new people. It might seem to you like Augustana is too large or too big—depending on where you are from—but enjoy it for what it is because time moves fast. The years start coming and they don’t stop coming…