Checking in with Mount Royal alumni: Chris Jurewicz and Alison McArthur
|Chris and Alison with son Mason (age 5)|
Program & year of graduation at MRU?
Alison: Bachelor of Applied Communication — Journalism ‘03
Chris: Bachelor of Applied Communication — Journalism ‘02
Your career path in 140 character or less...
Chris: From MRU graduate to journalist to PR professional. I have worked in sports, agriculture and government. Communications is definitely a passion. Currently working at the City of Calgary and also have freelance writing gig on the side.
Alison: TV reporter turned banker! After a brief stint at RDTV in Red Deer, I have been employed at Canadian Western Bank since 2005.
Alison, how did you and Chris meet?
Alison: We met in our first year at Mount Royal. We always had at least a couple of courses together, even when we started to branch out and focus more on our preferred directions: print for Chris and broadcast for me. We also had the same group of friends, so we would meet up after class sometimes. We really connected when we both ended up in Kamloops in the summer of 2001 for our work terms. Chris was working at the weekly newspaper, and I was at the TV station.
Alison's first job after grad was in TV. What was yours Chris?
Chris: My first job was in 2002 at the Airdrie City View as a reporter/photographer.
What was it like both studying Journalism?
Alison: It was fun to be in the same classes, and we definitely shared ideas with each other and gave honest feedback. We were (and still are) very competitive with each other. I remember one class we took together in particular, stylistics, where we would eagerly wait to see the marks on our assignments and find out who did the best (and it was usually me!). We did have different interests, and Chris took extra print courses while I focused on broadcast.
Chris: Alison beat me way too often! We were competitive in a fun way. Our interests were somewhat different as Alison focused on TV reporting and I liked print journalism.
What do you miss most about being a student Chris?
Chris: Visiting with friends at Wyckham House! The cheap Grasshopper at the Liberty Lounge.
Alison, what three words describe your student experience at MRU?
Alison: Fun, insightful, memorable
What was the most important course you took at MRU & why?
Chris: That's a tough question. I learned so much from guys like Ron McDonald and Terry Field about the world of journalism, current events, making a mark as a writer etc. There were too many important courses to single out one.
Alison: It is hard to pick just one. The broadcast courses that I took with Murray Cunningham and Terry Field were probably most important to me. I found I was most passionate about broadcast journalism, so those were some of my favourite classes, that also helped prepare me for my work terms at TV stations. I also remember being challenged and pushed to do my very best.
How have you invested in your community after MRU?
Alison: After moving away from Calgary upon graduation, Chris and I returned to the city in 2006. We have remained here and love the community. I regularly volunteer at my son’s preschool, and we’ve participated in several of the SportChek Mother’s Day walks as a family. I also participate in Canadian Western Bank’s United Way campaign and Calgary Corporate Challenge.
Chris: I'm a proud Calgarian and have made my home in this great city. Alison and I live here with our 5-year-old son. We support the community in a number of ways. Along with the SportChek Mother’s Day walk, other specific initiatives that we support are the United Way (I was an Employee Campaign Coordinator in 2014 for the City of Calgary's United Way committee) and Canadian Blood Services. We also try to make a difference in our community of Acadia by simply being good neighbours.
What is the best piece of advice you received at MRU that helped prepare you for your career?
Chris: I don't remember who gave me this advice but I remember someone telling me to always seek out help/advice professionally. This person told me that most successful business professionals are only too happy to hear from those just starting their careers and are willing to offer time and advice. I have found that to be true and have leaned on many great business professionals to help me along the way. Now, I try to return the favour whenever I can with colleagues or young professionals seeking my advice.
Alison: I learned from many great instructors during my time at Mount Royal. Robert Bragg had a saying that always stood out to me: “What have you done for me lately?” I think it was great advice to prepare us for the transition to the “real world.” No one is going to remember the good work you did last week if you’re not giving it your best this week. It’s a reminder to work hard and continually challenge yourself.
What is your claim to fame?
Alison: I met (and got a picture with!) Ben Affleck at a fundraising event he attended in Calgary in 2008!
Chris: I walked in the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver as a staff member on the women's hockey team. I was the communications manager for the team. I also helped put out the media fire when the women's players drank beer and smoked cigars during that legendary celebration.