2021 William Muir Edwards Citizenship Award Nomination - Adrian Wattamaniuk

“An individual can only achieve so much in a lifetime, but impacting others has a knock-on effect”

Donna McKinnon - 01 April 2022


The concept of reciprocity is a thread that runs through Adrian Wattamaniuk’s personal and academic life. The electrical engineering student attributes his active citizenship to the support and direction he has received from the teachers, mentors and peers who have helped him on his journey — and he is determined to do the same for others. 

Wattamaniuk’s genuine drive to serve, nurture and amplify the voices of the student body came into sharp focus soon after the suspension of classes in 2020 due to COVID-19. He played a key role in representing his classmates as Vice-President, Academic for the First-Year Engineering Club, bringing thoughtful commentary to the discussion with fellow student leaders as they deliberated on their recommendations to the faculty. 

“When the world was seemingly put on pause this year, Adrian did not pause,” says Angus Mathieson, a friend and fellow recipient of the William Muir Edwards Citizenship Award (2020). 

“Adrian provided our students the representation and leadership they needed,'' he says. “I have witnessed countless hours of intentional planning, meeting with colleagues, reading documents, analyzing survey data, writing letters and reports, and so much more. I see a leader that spends every free hour representing and leading the engineering student body.”


The campus community on the whole became aware of Wattamaniuk during the General Faculties Council debates about the university’s restructuring plans. His eloquent and reasoned arguments resonated with stakeholders on every side of the issue, says Raymond Matthias, Strategic Advisor to Associate Dean, Outreach. 

“We have not seen a student leader with Adrian’s unique set of strengths in quite some time, perhaps not even in a generation,” says Matthias. “Colleagues and professors across the campus sing his praises, including University President Flanagan (who made a personal contribution to Adrian’s Engineering Head Shave fundraising campaign).” 

No one was surprised when Adrian was elected vice-president, academics and services of the Engineering Students’ Society (ESS), where, as one of his first initiatives, he led the implementation of a new ESS Public Speaking Program. When the Study Buddies and Mentorship programs transitioned to a fully remote environment, they saw record participation, says Wattamaniuk, which helped connect first and second year students at a particularly vulnerable time. 

“An individual can only achieve so much in a lifetime, but impacting others has a knock-on effect,” says Wattamaniuk. “I first entered student governance out of a passion for helping my peers and building a community where students can strive. This is something I have continued to hold as a core value.”

In addition to these roles, Wattamaniuk served as a Geer Week coordinator helping students get involved in fun, social activities within a remote setting; and is a debater with the University of Alberta Debate Society and is now completing his term as president of the Engineering Students’ Society.

Wattamaniuk also found time to serve as a Level 4 Umpire with Softball Canada, representing Alberta at the provincial, western, and national levels. In 2020, he won the Ed Bitz Scholarship,    an annual award recognizing two umpires pursuing post-secondary education. Academically, Wattamaniuk has received the William Crotty Memorial Leadership Scholarship, the Dean’s Scholarship for Excellence in Leadership and Academics, and the Dean's Research Award.

“I heard about Adrian before I met him,” says Luanne Currie, former Assistant Dean, Operations. “His heart for student leadership and governance, on top of a challenging academic workload, is clear to all who interact with him. Great leaders possess not only great competence, they possess solid character and extreme emotional intelligence. They understand how the decisions they make impact others. Just two years into his academic journey, Adrian is already a great leader.”

Wattamaniuk says winning the William Muir Edwards Citizenship Award feels like a vote of confidence for the work he’s been doing, and validation of its impact. He also sees it as an opportunity to meet fellow WME recipients.   

“It truly is an incredible group of people,” he says. “I look forward to staying connected with them long into the future.” 

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