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Sasha Gollish with Governor General David Johnston. Gollish was named one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians earlier this week. (Photo: Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall, OSGG)

Sasha Gollish (CivE MEng 1T0, EngEd PhD Candidate) has been named one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). The award was presented by Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall on Monday.

The Academic All-Canadian list recognizes student-athletes who maintain an academic average of 80 per cent or higher while competing for one or more of their university’s varsity teams. Each year, one female and one male from each CIS regional association are selected as Top 8 Academic All-Canadians.

Gollish has already made the list twice, but being selected as one of the Top 8 and meeting with the Governor General gave her a feeling that was “tough to put into words.”

“He talked about three corners of the triangle: athletics, academics and community involvement, and how they re-enforced each other,” said Gollish. “As athletes we are not always recognized for our academic achievements. Being singled out as the top female student-athlete from Ontario was truly an honour.”

Gollish is well-known as one of Canada’s best middle-distance runners. This summer, she captured bronze in the women’s 1,500 metres at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto. She was this year’s CIS athlete of the year, having won five medals at the national championships — including three gold — and helped set a new Canadian record in the 4 x 800m relay.

Academically, Sasha studies with professor Bryan Karney (CivE) in the Engineering Education (EngEd) program. Her research focuses on helping students engage with mathematics. “One of the big jumps that we’ve made in sport in is recognizing the importance of mental engagement and deliberate practice,” says Gollish. She is now trying to bring that coaching experience to the classroom, helping textbook authors and instructors teach in a more concrete way that resonates with the daily experience of engineers.

On top of her academic and athletic commitments, Gollish volunteers with Fast and Female, an organization which supports and empowers girls ages nine to 19 through sport. She is also passionate about making roads safer for recreational road cyclists, serving as a past director of the Ontario Cycling Association.

“On behalf of our department, I warmly congratulate Sasha on the latest of her many accomplishments,” said Professor Brent Sleep, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering. “This honour speaks to the excellence of our student body and the multidisciplinary nature of the programs we offer. Sasha is a great ambassador for the engineering profession.”

Gollish is already focused on her next goal. “I would love to go to the [2016] Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,” she said. “I am training as hard as I can to make that a reality.”

Read about Sasha’s experience in her own words on her blog

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