Medical Students' Association

MSA Executive Committee

2019/2020 MSA Executive Committee

Position Name Contact
President Taylor Heinzlmeir
Vice President, Community Engagement
Marissa Nahirney
Vice President, Education Andrew Volk
Vice President, ExternalTerra Morel
Vice President, Finance Dustin Newton
Vice President, Operations Michael Wollin
Vice President, Student Affairs Nick Taylor
Vice President, Wellness Quinn McLellan

About Us


Taylor Heinzlmeir 

What I do: I’m here to advocate for students with the faculty. Whatever is important to you is important to me, so let me know what I can do to help!

Where I’m from: Fort McMurray, AB

Premed life: I studied Neuroscience and worked in a small community non-profit for a few years.

Jersey name: Fred Niceguy

Favourite spot on campus: Fishbowl 

What do you love about the University of Alberta: I have met the most incredible people, made a ton of friends and get a quality education.

Favourite thing about Edmonton: So many places to walk my dog!

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: Affair of the Heart, Syncope Jazz Band, basketball, church.  

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: Look for opportunities to make a difference. Don’t get absorbed in yourself.  

Vice President,Community Engagement

Marissa Nahirney

What I do: VP Community Engagement is about bridging the fields of advocacy, social justice, equity, and global health with the medical student experience. To become good physicians we need to be equipped with skills and knowledge to work with vulnerable populations - either/both at home and abroad. VP CE is focused on helping students explore what equity means, and applying principles of social justice to their thinking, clinical endeavours, and everyday interactions. Also, VP CE oversees a bunch of portfolios (sexual health, global health, Indigenous health, etc.), which host their respective electives, experiences and forums about health equity.

Where I’m from: Calgary - YYC, Calgs, Cow-town, A Great City, etc.

Premed life: Bachelor of Health Sciences Major in Health and Society, most of my research focusing on obstetrical guidelines, neonatal health outcomes, and maternal health in East Africa

Jersey name: MRSA ("Here to stay"? A play on my name? Very strong? It means what you want it to mean...) 

Favourite spot on campus: Anywhere that's naturally lit with a plug in

What I love about UofA: I love how this school and our program specifically feel like a really big community, and (forgive the sappiness) like a massive family. There's always someone who has your back, who is down to get coffee, or who will study with you til way too late in a DL room. I love how the campus is laid out in a way that facilitates togetherness and neighbourliness. Walking around the campus in the fall is honestly gorgeous, UofA has such a warm feeling. Hard to explain, so you'll have to try, and feel, for yourself!

Favourite thing about Edmonton: A 4-way tie between YEG Cycle Wednesday morning classes, river valley runs, the Sugarbowl Cinnamon Bun, and Block 1912 Key Lime Cake!

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: Canadian Doctors for Medicare exec, Community Engagement Global Health Advocacy Officer position, Ball Hockey intramurals, river valley running with friends, yoga taught by the amazing Christina Ray (not in Edmonton, but I still dance with my dance company in Calgary!) 

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: You are where you're MEANT to be. So keep working hard, but trust the process. You'll get to where you WANT to be in due time. 

Vice President, Education

Andrew Volk

What I do: The VP Education acts as the student's voice on the faculty committees which set the medical education - standards, curriculum, requirements, etc. I find this position to be exciting because I get to work with faculty to make changes to positively impact students. I also represent the MSA at the CFMS academic round table, where VP Educations collaborate on issues and can see how other medical schools approach aspects of their curriculum.

Where I’m from: Alberta

Premed life: I was a chemical engineer working in operations management of an oil and gas company with over 125 direct reports and a budget of $50 MM. I have a BSc and MSc in chemical engineering. I have taught at NAIT as a casual instructor and at the UofA as a teaching assistant. Prior to oil and gas, I was working with an Alberta start-up company to create an Algae-biofuel refinery that integrated with an existing anaerobic digester and winter wheat ethanol plant.

What I love about UofA: I love how responsive the faculty is to student feedback. The initiatives and changes we've seen and will see this upcoming year were supported by faculty (and many of them started by faculty).

Favourite thing about Edmonton: How green the city is and how long the days are in summer.

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: Edmonton Men's Health Collective, Executive Board Member

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: Enjoy medical school - your success in matching isn't about grades. You need to learn the material, yes - but I suggest you evaluate the time required to get 95% vs 85% and what else you could accomplish with that time. The second thing would be to schedule time for wellness - it's just as if not more important than your classes.

Vice President, External

Terra Morel 

What I do: As VP External I act as the liaison between the MSA and external organizations. In particular, I am the UofA representative to the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS), the national body that represents and advocates for us as medical students. In this capacity I help to plan the CFMS Annual and Spring General Meetings, and connect UofA students to national offers and opportunities. I also develop and promote advocacy initiatives within and beyond the UofA, such as those for unmatched Canadian Medical Graduates.

Where I’m from: Calgary

Premed life: I did my Bachelor's at the University of Toronto in Global Health and Immunology

Jersey name: The Hammer

Favourite spot on campus: Leva (ok, it's not actually on campus, but it's close!) 

What I love about UofA: The people! 

Favourite thing about Edmonton: How bike-friendly the city is!

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: Icebowl, Intramural basketball, dodgeball and hockey, Canadian Doctors' for Medicare, Run Without Borders, Provincial Advocacy Day, CFMS Day of Action in Ottawa

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: Don't get involved too fast! Take a while to get comfortable in the program, get settled in your personal life, and have fun. There's tons of opportunities available all year round, so whenever you're ready there'll be something amazing waiting for you!  

Vice President, Finance

Dustin Newton 

What I do: Essentially, my role is to oversee and help manage the finances of our Medical Students’ Association. I work with our executive team to ensure that students and committees are able to access funds to pursue club activities and various initiatives. This year, I have three goals to achieve: accountability, equal opportunity and simplicity. I aim to safeguard proper allocation of funds, so that a balanced budget is maintained. As well, my intent is to ensure equal opportunity to apply for funding and support. Finally, I aim to keep the process of applying for, depositing and reimbursing funds as simple as possible

Where I’m from: Edmonton, AB

Premed life: Bachelor of Science, MacEwan University Major: Biological Sciences / Minor: Psychology

Jersey name: Dusty

Favourite spot on campus: Any place that has coffee.

What I love about UofA: 
I like how it's close to the river valley. It's really accessible to go for a walk, bike or run.

Favourite thing about Edmonton: The food scene.

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: MD AIDE; MD Ambassadors, Big Brothers Big Sisters; Asclepius Medical Camp; Rockin' Docs Medical Camp, Student Researcher 

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: Don't feel like you have to have everything figured out right away. That's why we get 4 years for medical school and then usually another 2-5 years for residency. Enjoy your educational journey! 

Vice President, Operations

Michael Wollin

What I do: My purpose is to ensure the MSA is running smoothly by planning the meetings, updating the MSA webpage, facilitating constitution committees and taking care of all things logistics. I ensure that the MSA council meetings take place in an orderly fashion and that the decisions,outcomes and information of these meetings are readily available to the MSA general members.

Where I’m from: Edmonton, AB

Premed life: I did my B.Sc with a specialization in Biochemistry and the University of Alberta and partially an undergraduate after-degree in Education. 

Jersey name: Baywatch 

Favourite spot on campus: Dewey's

What I love about UofA: I find that the University is very accommodating and open to new ideas, clubs and initiatives from students. 

Favourite thing about Edmonton: In summer time when the city seems to really come alive. There are festivals every week are you are bound to find something you're interested in.

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: I've been part of the Peer Support Centre for three years now through the Students Union, an organization that offers confidential supportive listening sessions to students on campus. I am part of the Mental Health Advocates and also Rockin' Docs camp, with the purpose for kids to get excited about medicine and healthy living.

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: There are so many opportunities and events offered through Med that it can be overwhelming at times and you might feel like you'll be missing out if you don't attend everything. However, it is completely fair and valid to want to take some time for yourself! There are plenty of events to attend, no worries if you miss some! 

Vice President, Student Affairs

Nick Taylor

What I do: My role is to support all the student groups, clubs and initiatives. Running groups can be difficult, and organizing everything from the financial means to the logistical hurdles shouldn't stop you from getting involved in the causes and areas you're passionate about. I can help connect you with all the things necessary to have impactful, enjoyable events with like-minded individuals. I can also be used as a voice in the MSA organization, and if you have any suggestions, ideas or concerns you should certainly let me know!

Where I’m from: Calgary originally, but lived my childhood in Europe and the Middle East

Premed life: I got my bachelors in Kinesiology from StFX in Nova Scotia, moved to NYC to work in physical therapy for a year, got my Masters at Columbia, worked for a food-tech startup named Blue Apron for 3 years then came to UofA to finally pursue my dream. 

Jersey name: Bright Lights 

Favourite spot on campus: RATT

What I love about UofA: The people! Everyone here is the absolute best.

Favourite thing about Edmonton: Its' 9 month winters. Just kidding, but the food and drink scene is surprisingly good, and the outdoor path system along the river is fantastic!

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: Admissions Committee, Intramurals, Rockin' Docs, climbing  

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: You are exactly as smart/talented/worthy/impressive as everyone else in your class. I promise. 

Vice President, Wellness 

Quinn McLellan

What I do: In brief, I see VP Wellness as having two prongs: (1) as an advocate and representative for student wellness sitting on a number of committees working with students and faculty; (2) promoting wellness by working with and supporting students and student-led initiatives. 

Where I’m from: Pender Harbour, British Columbia 

Premed life: Prior to medical school, I initially completed a BSc Combined Major Biology and Psychology at the University of Victoria. Later, after two years of travel and work as a commercial fisher in British Columbia, I pursued an MSc Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. Based at the Alberta Children's Hospital, I investigated biomarkers of response to a form of brain stimulation in youth with treatment-resistant depression - this program fortified my interest in medicine and led to my pursuit of an MD. I defended spring 2018 and started medical school a few months later.. naturally, I went fishing between the two.

Jersey name: Heart'O Gold 

What I love about UofA: I love my classmates and the faculty. They're amazing.  

Favourite thing about Edmonton: I like how central the university is situated with downtown and Whyte Ave so close.

Other clubs/initiatives/activities I've been involved in within the U of A/Edmonton: Two initiatives/activities that I really enjoyed during my first year were acting as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters and working with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers as a part of Community Service Learning. I strongly recommend both! 

Piece of advice I wish I could've given myself at the start of first year: I know you think it's going to go fast but, It's going to go faster than that. Appreciate and enjoy it all.