2020 William Muir Edwards Citizenship Award: Joey Mathieson

“I find great value in connecting individuals and empowering them to make their own impact”

Donna McKinnon - 01 April 2022


Joey Mathieson believes the largest impact he can make is empowering others to become fellow leaders and active citizens. The passion for finding ways to inspire others to succeed stems directly from his own experiences as a struggling first year student in engineering with few connections and, in his words, no community.

Faced with mental health challenges, Mathieson availed himself of every resource available and discovered the most transformative change he needed was to get involved on campus. He began by volunteering with various student groups, including the Petroleum Engineering Student Club where he became enamored with student leadership.

“I found my community,” says Mathieson, who would go on to various volunteer roles in student governance, including President of the Petroleum Engineering Student Club, Chair of the Undergraduate Student/Staff Committee, Petroleum Delegate for the Engineering Students’ Society (ESS) Board of Directors and memberships on three ESS committees. He is also a founding member of the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada, U of A Chapter and the Students For Canada, U of A Chapter.

jm-2.png“Among the current engineering student leaders, there is no question that Joey stands out as exceptionally influential, through both formal and informal channels,” says Raymond Matthias Strategic Advisor to Associate Dean, Outreach. “He has a genuine desire to improve our community for the next generation of students.”

One of Mathieson’s most impactful outreach activities is his involvement with the FentaNIL Project, a student-led initiative which aims to mitigate the detrimental effects of the opioid crisis in Edmonton. In this role, he led multiple harm reduction and naloxone training sessions for student groups on campus, as well as the distribution of take-home naloxone kits to students.

“He leads by example,” says Eric Porter, a fellow student and roommate of Mathieson’s. “Recently, he invited students from five disciplines including myself to attend a drilling rig site tour hosted by the Petroleum Engineering Club. He sees great value in sharing the industry implications of his field of study and he showed others that it can be rewarding to get involved outside of our own disciplinary bubbles.”

Mathieson has won numerous awards, including the Leonard Swanson Leadership Award in Engineering; the Laurence Decore Award for Student Leadership; and the SPE Canadian Educational Foundation Scholarship. He received first place in the 2019/2020 University of Alberta Communications Competition and the Geer Week Engineering Technical Display, and was a finalist in the Odgers Berndtson CEOx1 Day — earning him an opportunity to be hosted by Christine Healy, President and CEO of Total E & P Canada.

As Matthias notes, the rigorous Odgers Berndtson CEOx1Day selection process, designed to uncover promising future leaders and give them an opportunity to walk in the shoes of a senior business leader, points to Mathieson’s outstanding problem solving and communication skills, even on a national stage.

“I find great value in connecting individuals and empowering them to make their own impact,” says Mathieson. “The butterfly effect illustrates the metaphor that a tornado can be created by a butterfly flapping its wings several weeks earlier. I consider flapping my wings a success once I have incited a tornado in others to the benefit of their own mental health and engagement in our communities.”

Named in honour of the Faculty of Engineering’s founding professor, the William Muir Edwards Citizenship Award recognizes Engineering at Alberta undergraduate students who have made exceptional contributions to society. It’s a celebration of citizenship and of engineering students who go to extraordinary lengths to make our world a better place. Special thanks to the David Morris Family Foundation for supporting our students and making the William Muir Edwards Citizenship Awards possible. 

Do you know an undergraduate student whose volunteerism, contributions, and efforts, both on-campus and off-campus, work to make the world a better place? Learn more about the nomination process here.