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Alumni spotlight

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment. 

Marzena Czarnecka BA'96, MA'00 (Anthropology)

Marzena Czarnecka BA'96, MA'00 (Anthropology)


Marzena Czarnecka was born in Poland, spent most of her childhood in Libya and Italy, and became Canadian in the late 1980s. She was always fascinated by “the Other” and new places, people and cultures. Her interest in martial arts and in Korean and Japanese cultures drew her to study anthropology at the U of C, teach English in Korea between her bachelor and master’s degrees, and to write her thesis on the cultural transformation the Korean martial art of Taekwon-do went through once it arrived in Canada.

Her real passion, always, was storytelling and writing. She was heavily involved with The Gauntlet throughout her time at the U of C, and she’s been earning a living writing ever since. Her left-brain self has written on business, legal affairs and the stranger-than-fiction proclivities of entrepreneurs for, among others, The Globe and Mail’s Law Page and Report on Business, The National Post and The Financial Post, Canadian Business, Alberta Venture, Alberta Oil, Enterprise, WestWorld, Avenue, as well as Lexpert and various other ThomsonReuters’ legal and financial publications.

Her right-brain alter-ego, under the name M. Jane Colette, is the author of the novels Tell Me, Consequences (of defensive adultery), and Cherry Pie Cure. She has just released the novella Messy Christmas, and, in collaboration with YYC Queer Writers, the anthology Queer Christmas in Cowtown.

She’s left Calgary several times in the last two decades, but she seems to keep on coming back. She currently lives on the flood plain of Sunnyside with her creative and unruly family, and stores all of her surviving manuscripts and diaries in the attic, not the basement.

You can visit out her slightly out of date business writing portfolio at, explore her creative non-fiction playground at, and get to know the novelist at