Meet the Grads: Jewel Anne Naicker

Ahead of convocation, get to know one of Augustana’s grads: Jewel Anne Naicker, a bachelor of science student in math and physics

30 May 2023

Jewel Anne Naicker standing on stone steps leading up to a tall, stone building. She has dark hair and is wearing a white shirt and pink blazer.
Photo: supplied


What led you to choose your current area of study, and why the U of A Augustana for your studies?

I LOVE MATH so, so much that my car registration reads "I ate some Pie" in fancy math Greek letters :p

The University of Alberta — the name itself says it all — top 5 in the country?! It truly was a no-brainer. In all honesty, I applied to Augustana mistakenly. I decided to stay for a year and then decide whether to stay or leave. Yunno, give it a chance. At the end of the year, I did not want to leave — as you can tell. I love the diversity, the bonds that existed between my peers and professors, the opportunities available and the quaint nature of Camrose. The ingredients that make Augustana what it is, satiated my cravings I didn’t know I had.


What is one of your favourite memories from your time at Augustana?

Wow, so many. I think my favourite was the time of the World Cup. This was a high-stress time. Midterms — ‘nuff said. But — the energy was electric. The passion was palpable. The roaring when someone got close to a goal and the vibrations felt throughout the entire Forum where games were being shown. It was so magical to observe, let alone be apart of. Professors, the dean and students from every corner could not help but crawl out of their dorms to be part of this ‘gees’ (pronounced: kees; a South African Afrikaans word for ‘spirit’ and everything ‘celebration’). It was amazing. I can write this same exact paragraph for when our Vikings women went to nationals — unmatched... truly.


Tell us about your favourite professor and/or class.

The professors left such a lasting impact on me, I would not want to leave anyone out so I would much rather go with classes. 

Anything Math — yes — is my happy place. But Spanish. I took 101 and could not help but take 102. It was such a mind-bending experience. I kid you not — you feel your mind bend when learning new languages... very humbling, hehe. But why it was so valuable to me was the application of it. I went to Mexico at the end of 101 and went to an area where the English was minimal. My scant Spanish probably got us tourists out of a lot of trouble, but it also helped me connect with the amazing humans I met in Mexico. When on Christmas Day we went around giving out some goodies, it was rewarding to ask people how they were and empathize in their language. The look of someone when you could ask them why they were "mas or menos" and continue from there, even if imperfect... was a gift.


Did you take on any leadership roles while you were a student, either on campus or in the Camrose community? If so, please share your experiences.

I took part in many leadership roles here at Augustana — never before this, but thought it was the perfect place to break out of my shell. I started a club at Augustana called TeamUP Science where we had computing science, medical and engineering workshops for students from rural Alberta so they could get science exposure. I was part of the Chemistry Society where I was the treasurer for two years. I was part of an organization called Help Young Minds which connected university students to students in high school or middle school for free tutoring because their health was compromised or they came from low socio-economic backgrounds. I was also a calculus tutor from my second year onwards. I was also the science representative for two years before making my way into the Augustana Students’ Association (ASA) as president. Being in the ASA was the best way to soak up all the nooks and crannies of Augustana. The one word I would use to describe these experiences is invaluable. Invaluable friendships, invaluable skills and growth opportunities, and invaluable memories. It gave me a lot to reflect on at the end of my academic career, and I left with such peace knowing that I had a hand in creating better experiences for others.


Did you face any significant obstacles or challenges during your program, and if so, how did you respond?

I reached a worrying slump in my grades when it came to physics and all I had to do was... ask for help. It was very much out of my comfort zone to ask for help. Are my questions dumb? Will my professors feel annoyed by me? And the answer is no. It helped me SO MUCH. And a bonus, I developed a great working relationship with all of my professors.


What advice do you have for current and future students?

Please take this from the biggest procrastinator. Don't. Procrastination takes away so much from you. It takes away from your enjoying life. Start things early — it made me fall in love with the learning process. It helped me make space for myself and the things I love. It is possible to learn this, just like any skill — I promise you. Find a friend/classmate and work together and keep each other accountable. Something else that helped me immensely was deleting Instagram and TikTok and I watched my mental health flourish in leaps and bounds. Look at the sky and smile, take more pictures of the sunset and feel the breeze on your face as you walk to your dorm. You are the main character. Removing the stress that procrastination and social media gives you, gives you so much back in your life. It gave me the space to explore new opportunities on campus and work towards a life, every day, that one day I can look back on and smile.


How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

I will be celebrating with my parents over a nice little supper, and then Monday: celebrating with more studying for the MCAT :)


What's next after graduation?

I am going to work for a bit and work on my MCAT and work super duper hard so I can hopefully get into med school.


Help us celebrate Jewel Anne Naicker and our other graduating students on June 4 by watching the convocation ceremony live stream.