Natasha Donahue

Natasha Donahue
VP External and Student Affairs

My name is Natasha, and I’m a mother to an eight-year-old boy with quite a personality (and sometimes attitude!). I have a wonderful partner, and our family lives together in Barrhead, AB. I’m a full time AU student working toward my bachelor of science degree. Once I graduate I want to pursue graduate studies in theoretical physics. One of my biggest goals is to work at CERN, and the Perimeter Institute! Science is one of my biggest passions in life, and it has led me to some wonderful opportunities in my community. As a result of my enrolment in AU, I was able to begin volunteer work for Let’s Talk Science. I started with classroom science outreach, and eventually became a part of the coordinator team that oversees the University of Alberta site. My passion for science doesn’t begin to encompass my goals in life, however, and my need to uplift and support communities and individuals with less opportunities led me to grow the site’s rural and Indigenous outreach programming.

I have spent hundreds of hours volunteering in this capacity, and I have travelled across Alberta and into the Northwest Territories, engaging youth of all ages with science and connecting with them — trying to help them find the confidence they need to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While doing so I also worked with a strong team of coordinators in a leadership role in order to oversee the site’s operations and to help it grow. One of my favourite experiences with Let’s Talk Science was organizing an Astronomy event called Science After Dark, where Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen Skyped in to answer questions from youth in attendance. We also listened to a wonderful talk from Dr. Ross Lockwood, a participant in the Mars HI-SEAS experiment in Hawaii, and visited the University of Alberta observatory.

Later on in my time with Let’s Talk Science I became involved with a program called Moving the Mountain, which served high-risk Indigenous youth in Edmonton. The program was facilitated at the University of Alberta, and I was invited in as a volunteer. I engaged the youth there one-on-one and in small groups with science and math, and grew relationships that persist today. My role grew from volunteer to math and science facilitator with a paid position, but I was not merely a teacher. Often I adapted and fulfilled many different roles: mentor, big sister, or a teacher of any skill that was needed that particular day. I loved the program and was part of the steerage committee, helping to shape the future of the youth-directed venture in an organized way. It broke my heart when our little family was disbanded, following the discontinuation of the program in December 2016.

In March of 2018 I joined AUSU council and was elected as VPFA in April. I have had such unique opportunities working on executive on council, including internal advocacy, learning more about the AU governance structure, external advocacy at the federal level, and finding ways to better refine the governance at AUSU in order to better serve students. I am so excited to continue on as a councillor for the remainder of my term into 2020, and I can’t wait to see where we go and how we grow.

Outside of AUSU I have many other hobbies. I love to sew and cosplay, and I frequent the Calgary and Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expos (usually in costume). I love getting out there and having fun — I’m a big kid at heart! I have serious goals in life, but I think it’s important to enjoy the little things in life too.

That’s a little bit about me! I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Athabasca University Student Council representing all of you. I am always here and always open, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line!