Nil Nisi Optimum

Nil Nisi Optimum

Nil Nisi Optimum (NNO) Alumni are selected from a multitude of decades and professions, and have brought great honour and pride to their alma mater. This year, three more alumni who have demonstrated notable accomplishments in leadership, service and dedication to their professions and community joined this prestigious group. 

This year's notable alumni are all health care professionals, and by acknowledging their leadership, service and dedication, we extend our sincere gratitude to all those in the medical field providing hope and security during a global pandemic unlike anything our generation has experienced. 

Alex AspinallDr. Alex Aspinall '86, Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist, Clinical Assistant Professor 

Like so many of our graduates, Dr. Alex Aspinall's years at STS were a springboard to the rest of his life: chasing dreams, achieving career goals, and being a leader in his field. When looking back at his journey, the foundational building blocks have STS written all over them — from his first backcountry experience that bred a 35-year love of the outdoors; to the determination needed to 'run the three fields twice'; to the dedication required to complete his first doctoral degree, a Ph.D. in Immunology. Subsequently completing his medical school training at the University of Calgary with an Internal Medicine Residency and Gastroenterology Fellowship, he continued with a subspecialty in Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at the University of Birmingham, UK. 

While my STS experience provided me with an exceptional education, it was much more than a purely academic experience. 

Alex is a Clinic Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary and has co-authored more than 30 research papers with a particular interest in viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver diseases, and quality assurance in clinical outcomes. Recently, his medical expertise and training brought him into the front lines of the COVID-19 wards in Calgary. He was proud to be a part of the courageous team navigating unknown waters. He cites the bravery of the patients as an inspiration to him. "Some are fighting for their very lives," he recalls, "I will never forget their eyes — the simple non-verbal communication conveys equal parts fear and gratitude."

Beyond grateful to his parents for the sacrifices made to send him and his sister to STS, Alex knows he has been afforded extraordinary opportunities. Hard work, leadership training, quality mentorship, guided risk-taking and understanding the importance  of perspective are some of the key pieces of STS infrastructure. They set up Alex for success and in turn, will also prepare the next generation of Aspinalls that attend our School. 

Jaspreet Khangura 03 for NNO POSTER9
Dr. Jaspreet Khangura '03, Emergency Physician 

A hard worker doesn't begin to describe Jaspreet Khangura '03. She completed her undergraduate degree and medical school education at the University of British Columbia, then studied as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, completing a Master of Science in Evidence-Based Health Care and a Master of Science in Neuroscience.

After an opportunity to travel to India as a child, Jaspreet quickly realized the social inequalities of the world. This awareness led to a career of fervency to advocate for the marginalized and vulnerable. As a medical student, she volunteered in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and witnessed the complex challenges faced by the low-income and homeless community. Subsequently, as a member of UBC's Global Health Initiative, she spent time volunteering in Nicaragua and Spiti Valley in the Indian Himalayas. 

"STS taught me to think critically and creatively, how to lead and follow, the value of hard work, and the joy of giving back to the community"

As a fellow with the Jeane Sauvé Scholars Foundation, she led workshops and lectures, and in addition, she researched immigration and refugee policy from the perspective of a healthcare professional. She has served on a task force appointed by the Mayor of Edmonton on poverty elimination and currently participates with the National Expert Committee on Countering Radicalization with the National non-government voice in advising the Canada Centre on policy, programming and research priorities. 

Jaspreet is an emergency physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Northeast Community Health Centre in Edmonton. Determined to be a voice for the vulnerable, she uses her position to speak up for those who are not being heard, most recently, the voice of the homeless population facing the COVID-19 pandemic without being able to isolate. Jaspreet is a compassionate and tireless advocate, a woman of integrity, and STS is proud to call her an alumna. 

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Dr. Sarah (Shaikh) Hall '95, Hospital Pediatrician, Clinical Assistant Professor 

Sarah Hall '95 has never been one to shy away from a challenge. During her time as an STS student she learned to push herself, establish self-discipline, and embrace adventure — always with a warm smile and caring word. 

Academically, Sarah completed her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia, then continued on to her medical school a the University of Toronto, and completed her pediatric residency at McMaster University. 

Her medical career began in Nepal, volunteering for the Himalayan Rescue Association practicing high-altitude medicine. Eventually returning to Calgary after time working in a number of locations including Peru and the Canadian Arctic, Sarah opened her pediatric practice caring for a variety of populations across Calgary including supporting inner-city children. 

Sarah has also delivered medical expertise on camera, providing TV segments on pediatric health and wellness. 

We had a well-rounded education ranging from a love for the outdoors, a respect for nature, drive for academic excellence, and a determination to make a difference. 

Culmulating experiences led her to become a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Calgary and part of the leadership team within the Department of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine. An award-winning education leader, Sarah is also an attending physician at the Alberta Children's Hospital, sitting as Deputy Head, Professional Affairs, of the Department of Pediatrics. Sitting on various committees of the Alberta Medical Association, she was elected in 2018 to the Executive Committee, Board of Directors for a three-year term. 

The opportunities granted at STS opened doors to a career of helping children and families, educating young minds, and leading teams of experts in healthcare. As one of three sisters who attended the school, Sarah has deep appreciation for the experience, "We had a well-rounded education ranging from a love for the outdoors, a respect for nature, a drive for academic excellence, and a determination to make a difference." 

Sarah and her husband, Dr. Chris Hall, desire to instill those same fundamental values in their three children, Jonathan '27, Matthew '29, and Clara '31, who will also be STS graduates one day, and have a world of dreams to experience. 

Watch a recording of our 2020 Nil Nisi Optimum Celebration from October 15, 2020: