Picture of engineering students Allison and Dylan
Allison Grajczyk-Jelinski and Dylan Bauman are the student emcees for this year's gala

Meet your 2023 CJ Mackenzie Gala emcees!

Get to know Allison Grajczyk-Jelinski and Dylan Bauman, who will emcee the 46th Annual C.J. Mackenzie Gala of Engineering Excellence.

One of the long-standing traditions of the C.J. Mackenzie Gala of Engineering Excellence is inviting two students from the host discipline to act as emcees. This year, Civil Engineering students Allison Grajczyk-Jelinski and Dylan Bauman will be leading us through the evening.

We asked them 10 quick questions to learn a little more about them before we see them at the podium on January 31, when the college honours June Verhelst (BE’83 Civil), Senior Vice-President, Mining and Energy at Graham Construction.

Why did you choose Civil Engineering?

AGJ: I chose civil engineering because I have always been interested what makes things stand and how they were built. As I learn more about the industry, my curiosity continues to grow as I learn how much there is to learn.

DB: I chose Civil Engineering because I really enjoyed my first year statics and geology classes. I also choose Civil Engineering for the opportunities to work both in the field and office.

What is your favourite class?

AGJ: I don’t exactly have a favourite course, however I did really enjoy the third-year fluid and soil mechanics courses.

DB: My favorite class has been Structural Systems and Materials, because of the design competition lab.

What’s your dream engineering job?

AGJ: My dream job is working somewhere in the mountains or somewhere exotic.

DB: My dream engineering job is working as a civil engineer on some of the largest bridge projects.

Your favourite activity/sport/hobby?

AGJ: My favourite  hobby is running.

DB: My favorite activities are going on canoe trips or other outdoor adventures.

What’s a movie or TV show that always makes you laugh?

AGJ: Friends

DB: The Office

Which song will you listen to on repeat?

AGJ: I will listen to anything country on repeat!

DB: Levels by Avicii

What’s the last TV show you binged (or finished a full season of)?

AGJ: Friends

DB: Superstore

Which food you could eat every day for the rest of your life?

AGJ: Oatmeal and fruit

DB: I could eat all the different types of pasta

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?

AGJ: Knife, flint and a slack line

DB: A multi-tool, a piece of flint and my best friend

Which famous person (living or dead) would you most like to have dinner with?

AGJ: Marie Curie (Editor's note: Remembered for her discovery of radium and polonium, and her huge contribution to finding treatments for cancer.)

DB: Steve Jobs

And the bonus question, ‘Why should students attend the C.J. Mackenzie Gala?’

Says Dylan: “Students should attend to practice networking with peers and industry professionals; it's a soft skill that goes a long way.”

Students, if you’re not exactly sure what the gala is all about, here are the basics.

What is the gala?

It’s one of the college’s biggest events of the year, where USask Engineering honours a graduate who’s achieved big things in their engineering career. (Departments take turns selecting the graduate to be recognized.)

The honoured graduate delivers a keynote address at the gala – and usually part of it is geared to the student audience, describing some of the key things they’ve learned over the course of their career. (The graduate is formally recognized as the evening’s Distinguished Lecturer.)

Visit the gala webpage for more information about this event, which is named after the college’s first dean, Chalmers Jack (C.J.) Mackenzie.

Who attends?

Engineers (particularly college alumni), industry professionals, and friends of the engineering profession attend. They join faculty, staff and students from the college to celebrate engineering excellence.

In some years, close to 700 people have been there – it’s a big deal!

As much as possible, students are seated with people from companies that are active in the students’ discipline, so you can learn more about what’s happening in industry and what opportunities could be available after you graduate.

Who is being honoured this year?

June Verhelst, who graduated from USask in 1983 with her Civil Engineering degree, is delivering this year’s keynote. She is Senior Vice President Mining & Energy with Graham Construction.

June has worked on and helped lead dozens of industrial projects in Saskatchewan and beyond – including major mining expansions, construction involving power plants and greenfield and brownfield mines, plus work in agriculture, oil and gas, and maintenance and shutdown projects.

Why you should go: 

  • Learn from and be inspired by a USask Engineering grad who has achieved great things.
  • You’ll have a chance to make industry contacts.
  • The college is hosting an Etiquette Night on January 25, to answer all your questions – from what to wear to what fork to use! Watch your email for more info.
  • Student tickets are only $20 – this is a great deal for a major formal event (and the menu looks amazing this year).
  • It’s a good way to practice your networking skills at a low-stress event.
  • Experience a USask Engineering tradition!

Where to get tickets:

  You can buy tickets at the SESS office or at the Engineering Student Centre, paying with cash. 

  Tickets are also available online by visiting the gala’s Eventbrite page.