Braeden Willis

The University of Victoria Vikes enjoyed strong team performances, multiple podium finishes and once again fifth-year Vike Taylor Snowden-Richardson and was honoured with the Student-Athlete Community Service Award for a second-straight year at 2018 Canada West Swimming Championships on Nov. 23-25 in Calgary, Alta.

Snowden-Richardson earned the award in 2017 after starting Tay’s Team, an initiative that sees Taylor personally knit hats with different superhero, Disney and Pixar characters on them for kids who are in hospital.  The science major was inspired to start this support program after a member of her family was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of six. Instead of buying him a present, Taylor decided to make something more personal and crochet him a hat he could wear once he began losing hair from the chemo treatments.

Taylor continued this program into 2018 and now has donated more than 160 hats to kids in hospital in Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary and San Diego.

In conjunction with the Tay’s Team initiative, Snowden-Richardson also began volunteering at the University of Victoria Brain and Concussion Research Lab in 2018. Working along side Dr. Brian Christie, the lab is working towards finding a method to help athletes understand when it is safe to return to their regular activity. After receiving the Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award-Department of Medical Studies, Taylor plans to continue her research in the investigation of weather or not NeuroTracker, a 3D-Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) program can improve off-the-block reaction time in University of Victoria athletes on the varsity swim team.

Taylor’s busy year continued into the summer of 2018 where she volunteered 60 hours of her time with another professor at the University of Victoria researching the psychosocial adjustment in the siblings of young homicide victims.

“While many services are available for parents and spouses of homicide victims but there are noticeably fewer specialized services for siblings,” commented Snowden-Richardson. “The goal of this research was to gain a deeper understanding of how siblings of young murder victims differ socially and emotionally than parents and spouses.  We plan to provide this information to the Canadian Criminal Justice System as well as Canadian Victim Services to aid in development of new programs”

Despite all of her volunteer work, Snowden-Richardson still was named to the Factulty of Science Dean’s List in 2017-18, posting a GPA of 8.5 (out of 9) and maintained a consistent level of performance as a student-athlete, training for and competing at the U SPORTS National Championships from 2015-2018.

The Vikes finished in fourth place the 2018 Canada West Swimming Championships and now will begin to turn their focus to the 2019 U SPORTS national Championships hosted by UBC in Vancouver Feb.21-23.