Zoe Goodwin-Sutton

Zoe receiving an award
Zoe Goodwin-Sutton was the recipient of the Student-Athlete Community Service Award at the 2019 All-Canadian Gala for her outstanding contributions on and off the pitch. (Photo: Greg Kolz)

Creating powerful bonds on and off the field

After a long journey from Ottawa, Zoe Goodwin-Sutton spent her first night at the University of Victoria completely alone.

“It was sort of eerie. I was literally the only student staying in that residence,” says Zoe, who later discovered she had been placed there by mistake. She woke early the next morning and set off for rugby practice, nervous to see if she would be good enough to make the Varsity team. A voice called her name from across the Cadboro Commons courtyard and Zoe looked over to see a student dressed for rugby waving to her. Immediately, Zoe’s breathing got a little easier. It wasn’t just the glimmer of a new friendship, it was the start of her finding her family away from home.

Being the team lock

Zoe is now a fourth-year software engineering student and vice-captain of the Vikes team. As “lock”, her role on the field is to provide power and balance by creating a strong bond with other players. Off the field, her role is to promote friendliness, inclusivity and volunteerism on the team. It was her dedication to this that earned Zoe the Bit Quill Technologies Scholarship for Women in Computer Science & Software Engineering, which is awarded to women students in these programs who volunteer in the community and demonstrate leadership in or outside of the classroom.

A team that volunteers together…

In addition to a full engineering course load and Varsity sports schedule, Zoe coaches a local high school rugby team and volunteers at community events. At every opportunity, she encourages members of her team to volunteer with her.

Last year, Zoe organized the Vikes Blood Drive, where more than 20 student-athletes donated blood together. Other Varsity teams have since followed their lead and organized their own drives. She also volunteered at Operation Trackshoes, a three-day track meet for people with developmental disabilities. Zoe’s been involved in organized sports all her life, so she says it was fun and fulfilling to help others experience that, some for the first time. She has decided to organize a group of Vikes athletes to volunteer for the next Trackshoes event.

Scholarship supports whole team

Receiving financial support through the scholarship has allowed Zoe to focus more time on the three things that are so important to her: academics, sports and volunteering. But Zoe believes the scholarship does more than that. It provides encouragement and motivation to put team and community at the top of the priority list. By default, she includes her whole team in her thank you.

"I’m so thankful for the donors’ support, because it can be so tough to do everything. It really helps not just me, but the whole team to do well on the field and in school."- Zoe Goodwin-Sutton