The people that you meet on campus – the department assistants

There are many academic departments within UWinnipeg’s six faculties, and each of them is supported by a departmental assistant (DA) responsible for keeping things running smoothly. DAs are often the first point of contact for students, faculty and staff within the department and they have the institutional knowledge to provide answers to a wide range of questions. They are the go-to people when someone needs to get something done. These are some of the people you meet in your UWinnipeg neighbourhood, (listed in alphabetical order).

Nyala Ali, ©Rachel Berg

Nyala Ali, ©Rachel Berg

Nyala V. Ali – Classics, Philosophy, and Women’s & Gender Studies

Ali is a ‘classic’ UWinnipeg story. She is a UWinnipeg alumna with a BA Honours in English and MA in cultural studies. She enjoys meeting and assisting “so many enthusiastic students,” and helping to get the word out about new and exciting courses offered in her departments.

Her advice is: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are lots of folks around to help you plan your course of study. Advising, or DAs, or individual faculty members are always willing to answer questions, or can at least direct you to the right person to help.”

When she is not on campus you can find her “reviewing comics or playing drums.”

Favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “Bahn Mi King! Their baogers are excellent and wallet-friendly.”

Favourite book: “Currently, My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris. It’s a graphic novel murder mystery set in 1960s Chicago, done entirely with ballpoint pen and influenced by horror-movie magazine art. It’s incredible.”

Favourite super hero: “The current Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan). She’s a second-gen Pakistani-American Muslim teenager with shapeshifting powers. Her comic is hilarious, and kind of necessary.”

Favourite word: “Onomatopoeia.”


Rachel Berg, ©Rachel Berg

Rachel Berg, ©Rachel Berg

Rachel Berg – Religion & Culture, Modern Languages & Literatures, and the East Asian Languages & Cultures Program

Berg whose nickname is ‘Rach’, likes her job and all the great people that she works with, including fellow staff, faculty, and students!

Her advice for students is: “Don’t be scared to ask questions! Staff and faculty are here to help, and you will feel much less overwhelmed if you speak your mind. This is, after all, a place of learning and growth!”

When she’s not on campus you can find her at home, with her two little boys, and what some might find surprising about Berg is that she is a trained aromatherapist.

Favourite spot on campus: “The hallways. I like to imagine all the inspiring people who have walked these halls before me.”

Favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “The Mexican breakfast at Stella’s.”

Favourite movie: “Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Favourite book:“The Harry Potter series.”

Favourite super hero: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Favourite word: “How could I possibly choose just one!?”


Pam J Delorme, ©UWinnipeg

Pam J Delorme, ©UWinnipeg

Pam J. Delorme – Biology

Delorme has been an important fixture at UWinnipeg since 2001 and is the go-to person in the Department of Biology. Although she considers herself shy, Delorme enjoys  “the interactions with so many people; students, staff and faculty.”

Her advice for students is: “Always ask if you are unsure of anything and study hard.”

As an active member and participant in the University of Winnipeg Club, it is no surprise that is her favourite spot on campus and where she finds her favourite treat, their carrot cake.

Favourite movie: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Favourite word: “Scoopula, ever since my first-year Chemistry lab.”



Murielle Jennings, ©UWinnipeg

Murielle Jennings, ©UWinnipeg

Murielle Jennings – Chemistry

Jennings likes the diversity of the faculty, staff and student population and the diversity of her daily work. “No one day is the same!”

Her advice to students: “Work hard, have some fun, and remember to breathe — you will learn to navigate the world!”

What you might find surprising about Jennings is that she is a former marksman and is familiar with several weapons from her time serving in the military. She currently has an active private practice as a family, relationship and individual therapist. 

Favourite spot on campus: “My office — now that it has art in it — only took twenty years…”

Favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “I’ve been known to occasionally head to the “smokie” truck in front of main campus …. And the Quinoa salad at Elements is excellent as the healthy alternative.”

When she is not on campus you can find her: “enjoying the Winnipeg art’s scene or getting Zen with friends.”

Favourite movie: “Inside Out  — cheesy but brilliant and creative way to help people understand, accept and embrace all emotions inside each of us — in a way all ages can enjoy!”

Favourite book: “Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela 1995 — inspiring!”

Favourite super hero, “Anyone who can inspire others is a super hero!”

Favourite word, “Change — I believe everyone is capable to create positive change in their lives.”

Meaghan Michaluk, ©UWinnipeg

Meaghan Michaluk, ©UWinnipeg

Meaghan Michaluk – Kinesiology and Applied Health

In some circles Michaluk is also known as ‘Meg’. She loves interacting with the students and helping them. “There is no better feeling then having a distressed student leave your office with a smile thanking you for helping them. It is why I come to work every day.”

Her advice is: “Ask questions and don’t assume the answer. If you need help, it is important to reach out and ask.”

When she is not on campus she volunteers at the Health Sciences Centre  and leads a recreation evening in the Lennox Bell program. The program is for individuals who need a temporary place to live after coming out of the hospital and are waiting for permanent housing.

What people might not know is that Michaluk is a dancer at heart. “I grew up learning many different types of dance, I even went on to teach. My favourite type of dance is lyrical ballet.”

Favourite spot on campus: “I love the Duckworth Centre, it is where I took most of my classes while studying for my Bachelor of Kinesiology and it is where my office is.”

Favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “I love the Greek salad at Homer’s next to the University of Winnipeg.”

Favourite movie:“I love documentaries on socio-cultural topics, the last one I saw was 13, about a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent three decades in jail. Now he is out and married with three kids. He is an amazing storyteller.”

Favourite book: “Why Not Me? and Is Everyone Hanging Out with Me? By Mindy Kaling.”

As for favourite super hero she’s not a fan: “I do not like super heroes,” she declared.

Favourite word: “Persistence.”

Ashley Moore, ©UWinnipeg

Ashley Moore, ©UWinnipeg

Ashley Moore – Economics

Moore explains that she works closely with the Department Chair to support initiatives within the department, as well as provide support to students and anyone employed by the department. She enjoys her job because of the sense of community at UWinnipeg.

“There are so many wonderful people here that are passionate about what they are doing,” said Moore. “I really enjoy interacting with staff, students and faculty here at UWinnipeg.”

Her advice to students is: “If you are having issues, go see your Department Assistant or Chair! They are there to support you.”

Her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “Definitely the vegan brownie from Diversity (Riddell cafeteria).”

What people might know about Moores is that she is very ‘outdoorsy’. “I love most activities that get me outdoors including cycling, hiking, camping, backpacking (backcountry camping), canoeing, downhill or cross-country skiing.”



Carlene Osborne, ©UWinnipeg

Carlene Osborne, ©UWinnipeg

Carlene Osborne – Business & Administration

Osborne, who is sometimes known as ‘Car’, describes her job as being like a traffic cop, in the middle of the street when all the lights are not working. Her advice for students is: “Don’t take too many courses all at once; this will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Have fun meeting new people, they will be your rock when you need one.”

What she likes most about her job is the people she works with and meets daily.

Favourite spot on campus:Her current office located in the Buhler Centre, “I have the best view of West Portage Avenue,” she said. “I use to have a closet for my office when I first arrived on campus.”

Her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “I love sushi and burritos. It used to be Casa Burrito but now it’s Chosabi”

When she is not on campus you can find her: out for a walk or a bike ride around in her neighborhood.

A surprising fact about Osborne is that she was a city champion badminton player back in Calgary, Alberta, where she is originally from. She also loves to ski, ride horses, and roller-skate. 

Favourite movie: “Ever After with Drew Berrymore, it is a bit of a Cinderella Story.”

Favourite book: “Wayne Dyer’s Change your Thoughts, Change Your Life.”

Favourite super hero: “Believe it or not, Wonder Woman, before the new movie. J”

Favourite word: “FANTABULOUS.”


Carolynn Smallwood, ©UWinnipeg

Carolynn Smallwood, ©UWinnipeg

Carolynn Smallwood – Department Assistant for the Psychology Department

Since she was a child, Smallwood’s nickname has been ‘Carrie’. Now, serving in the Psychology Department, she in known as, the “lady behind the glass” or the woman in the “fishbowl.” She invites people to visit her in room 4L41 to “understand why these sobriquets are accurate.”

Smallwood loves assisting students and getting to know them as they progress through their academic programs. She takes great pleasure and happiness in helping people.

“It has been scientifically proven that when one helps someone, the neurochemicals dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin (the “Happiness Trifecta”) are released and contribute to happiness in the ‘giver,’” said Smallwood. “I find this to be absolutely true: giving contributes to happiness.”

Her advice for students is: “Remember to take care of yourselves: when one is absorbed in one’s studies and experiences stress, one can forget about self-care — such as exercising, eating healthily, and taking time to relax. Developing self-care habits will ultimately help with your academic success.”

Her favourite spot on campus is: The Babs Asper Lilac Garden, located at the back of the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film, “particularly in late-spring, when the lilacs are blossoming and the air is redolent with the perfume of their efflorescence.”

Favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “Usually I bring my own lunch, but on special occasions, I like to try restaurants that specialize in global cuisine — Japanese, Vietnamese, East Indian, Thai, etc.”

When she is not on campus you can find her: At home, reading, writing, creating in general, listening to music and maybe dancing; or outside, gardening, rambling and taking photographs, or jogging.

What you might not know about Smallwood is that she was part of the punk sub-culture in Winnipeg when she was a teenager. She also has been a part of the UWinnipeg community, in various capacities, since 1988!

She came first came to UWinnipeg in the late-1980s as an undergraduate student in the English Literature Department and graduated with a BA (Honours). She then headed west to pursue her MA at the University of Victoria.

She returned to UWinnipeg in 1990s as a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant for various UWinnipeg English Department professors. She became a contract academic staff member in the English Department in the early 2000s and in 2008, she landed where she is now, as a UWinnipeg staff member.

“UWinnipeg sincerely feels like my second home,” said Smallwood.

Favourite movie: “If I had to pick one film, it would be Amélie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain) because of its key themes of how small, random acts of kindness can have enormous, beautiful impacts, and how such actions lead to redemption, and sometimes, to love.”

Smallwood describes herself as an avid reader but if she had to choose one book, it would be the novel, Fugitive Pieces by Canadian writer, Anne Michaels.

“It is simultaneously lyrical, brutal, and exquisite,” explains Smallwood.

Favourite superhero: “My mother is my superhero.”

Favourite word: “I revere the word, Namaste.”

Sandy Tolman, ©UWinnipeg

Sandy Tolman, ©UWinnipeg

Sandy Tolman – History, Art History, German-Canadian Studies, Mennonite Studies and also supports the Oral History Centre and the Journal of Mennonite Studies

Tolman manages many departments and helps many professors and students. She likes her job for the people that she works with.

Her advice to students: “Never be afraid to ask questions, always know someone is here to help, that’s just how we roll here at the UWinnipeg.”

Her favourite spot on campus: The University of Winnipeg Club in Wesley Hall.

Favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “I like a latte from Starbucks.”

What might be surprising about Tolman is she is a crazy sports fan. When she is not on campus you can find her at a football or hockey game.

Although she doesn’t have a nickname per say, but “maybe just ‘trouble’, hahaha,” she said.

Favourite movie: “Pretty Woman.”

Favourite book” “Chances, by Jackie Collins.”

Favourite super hero: “Wonder Woman.”

Favourite word: “Okeedokee….”

Janet Turner, ©UWinnipeg

Janet Turner, ©UWinnipeg

Janet Turner – Criminal Justice Department

Turner’s favourite spot on campus is the Criminal Justice Department where she serves as the departmental assistant, and glue for the department. It is where she is “surrounded by great coworkers and a comfortable work environment near the student lounge so it is a very positive space for me.”

So, it is no surprise that the reason she likes her job is the people. “Our students bring a youthful energy and enthusiasm to the work day and UWinnipeg has an amazing, helpful and caring group of employees on campus, from support staff to administrators to professors,” said Turner. “The people on campus make it a pleasure to come to work.”

Her advice for students: “Remember that no longer attending a class is not the same as formally dropping the class.,” explains Turner. “If you no longer plan on attending, make sure that you drop it. The F you receive from the failure to drop will follow you for your academic career. The second piece of advice would be to make sure that you take the time to enjoy your time on campus — it will fly by.”

Her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus: “It is a toss-up between the chicken fingers in Riddell or the spicy chicken salad at Garbonzo’s.”

When she is not on campus you can find her: Camping during the summer, “My husband and I have our travel trailer on a permanent site at a campground nearby where my parents and my aunt and uncle camp, so we have lots of family and friends visit us throughout the summer. “

But during the winter you find her at home obsessively re-watching Game of Thrones.

What people might not know about Turner is that she is an introvert.“I may seem like an outgoing and extroverted person but in reality I enjoy my time to myself,” said Turner. “I like to eat lunch by myself and I have no problem staying home to read or watch Netflix as opposed to attending a party.”

As for movies Turner describes herself as a “sucker for 80’s teen movies, so John Hughes The Breakfast Club is still my #1 favourite, followed very closely by the original1984 Ghostbusters. I have lost count as to how many times I’ve watched them. Not very highbrow choices but they both hold great memories for me.”

Favourite book:“I love to read so this question is more difficult to answer because I’ve read so many great books. S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, though, is the only book that I’ve read cover to cover in one sitting and it is still in my top 10.

Turner doesn’t have a super hero but she likes Chris Hemsworth as Thor ;).

Andrea Rena Wiebe, ©UWinnipeg

Andrea Rena Wiebe, ©UWinnipeg

Andrea Wiebe – Physics

Wiebe loves the people on campus and being part of a University atmosphere. She particularly enjoys helping students, “being able to help our students and my coworkers is incredibly gratifying,” shares Wiebe.

Her advice for students: “Don’t wait to seek help if you need it. We have a number of faculty and staff on campus who are completely supportive and willing to help, but can’t if they don’t know you need it.”

Her favourite spot on campus: “I’ve only been up a couple times, but I do love the roof-top patio on the fourth floor of Centennial near the Buffeteria. It was a neat discovery this past summer.”

Favourite lunch on or around campus: “I have a diverse palate and am always on the hunt for delicious food whether it’s on campus, or in the neighbourhood. Pin-pointing my favourite place is virtually impossible, but a slice of pizza from Sorrento’s is never a disappointment!”

These days when she is not on campus you can find her: “Mostly at home cooking, baking, and chasing around my 3 year old son! We don’t get out as much after becoming parents — who knew? ;)”

What people might not realize about Wiebe is that she can belt out a tune and is an opera singer. She graduated with a performance degree in opera and has participated in many performances around Winnipeg and with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Her nickname after marriage is “Andy” on her husband’s side of the family. “My sister-in-law is also named… Andrea! Weird, I know,” shared Wiebe.

Favourite movie: “Where do I even begin??… Star Wars, Juno, Singing in the Rain, Pretty Woman, The Princess Bride, Avatar, Deadpool, just about anything by Wes Anderson!… Far too extensive of a list to pin point my absolute favourite!”

Favourite book: “I think I’ll have to say Harry Potter. I’ve read them all at least four times.”

Favourite superhero: “I might have to say Batman. He’s one of the only superhero’s who’s just a man without any special abilities, but man, can he kick some serious butt and has so many cool gadgets.”

Favourite word: “I couldn’t think of anything other than ‘bacon’ and ‘beer.’”

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E:


  • Barb Read said...

    This is awesome! So wonderful that the DA’s are being showcased on the UW website. All smart people know that the DA’s are the best resource in each department. Great photos!!

  • Esmat Elhami said...

    Thank you very much! This is great! We all rely on our Department Assistance and this is a wonderful way of celebrating their dedication and hard work. Well done!