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Faculties of Education and Science graduate recognized with ACAA Outstanding Young Alumni Award

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: February 3, 2021 9:00 a.m.

Christine Selinger recipient of Alumni Crowning Achievement Award’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Christine Selinger recipient of Alumni Crowning Achievement Award’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Photo: U of R Photography

Christine Selinger is a dedicated advocate, athlete and volunteer. While a student, she served as president of several student societies and received the President’s Medal for her academic achievements and extracurricular involvement. Selinger is an educator and emerging leader in the field of sex and disability. She is a two-time world champion in Paracanoe and, in 2010, she became the first paraplegic to traverse the rugged Nootka Trail off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

“After my injury, I was willing to try every sport I could, mostly because I wanted more social time with other people who have disabilities,” Selinger says. “I learned so much from my peers and I was eager to learn more. When I discovered paddling, I really fell in love with it. I loved being on the water and that kept me coming back each day. It didn’t feel like a chore to go to practice and I was eager to get faster and to keep up with my peers.”

Selinger sustained her spinal cord injury in a climbing accident at the age of 19. Subsequently, she completed two concurrent bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and education in 2011.

“My time at the U of R was transformative,” she says. “I feel that university in general is a time for discovery and I definitely felt that in my time with the U of R through both my studies and extracurricular activities. It gave me a view into the wider world that I was craving and chased after graduation. It gave me a view into the wider world that I was craving and chased after graduation. My university experience gave me a clearer idea of who I am and what I want to and can contribute to help my community thrive.”

Selinger worked as a peer support coordinator and instructional designer for the Canadian Paraplegic Association and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. Through her openness and candor, she has had a tremendous impact on the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

Selinger was a Canadian national Paracanoe athlete from 2008 to 2013, a two-time world champion, and Saskatchewan Athlete of the Month in August 2010. She was also shortlisted as International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Month in August 2011.

In her professional and personal life, Selinger bravely faces challenges to help improve the lives of people with disabilities. Her contributions to promoting women in sport and her advocacy for the community of persons with disabilities, particularly related to issues of sex and intimacy, make her an extraordinary member of the University of Regina alumni community.

“I’m thrilled to receive an Alumni Crowning Achievement Award,” Selinger states. “Being recognized by peers and other alumni for my work means that the work is noticed. As someone who works in advocacy and awareness, that means a lot. It means I’m reaching people.”

When she’s not working, Selinger enjoys reading, playing games and crafting. She and her husband, Jerrod Smith, whom she met in a U of R modern algebra class, recently moved to Calgary after spending six years in Toronto and a year in Bangor, Maine. The couple have one dog named River, a mixed-breed rescue pup.

This story originally appeared in the 2020 Fall/Winter issue of the University of Regina magazine, Degrees. You can read about more interesting alumni and others associated with the University by visiting the current issue of Degrees.