By Shannon Boklaschuk
Michelle Harrison may be a gold medal-winning athlete, but the University of Saskatchewan (USask) student also shines in another area: baking.
Harrison, a member of the Huskies women’s track and field team, is a custom cake designer who owns and operates a home-based business called Miche’s Niche. She started the business in the fall of 2017, and now bakes from-scratch cakes, cookies and cupcakes for weddings and other events, decorating the items based on her customers’ requirements.
Harrison, a national-level hurdler, previously moved to Ontario to train with Athletics Canada. When injuries kept her from running, she landed a position with a high-end wedding cake designer in Toronto. It was there that she fell in love with cake decorating, and she now uses the profits from her business to fund her athletic journey and Olympic dreams.
“I started it because I had people interested in my products,” said Harrison.
“I thought it would be a good idea to start a business because it is something I enjoy doing, and working for myself fits with my lifestyle as I am busy and away competing a lot.”
She also enjoys the creativity involved with baking.
“I enjoy experimenting with new flavours and designing edible pieces of art,” she said.
Harrison, who is originally from Saskatoon, is currently in her fourth and final year of studies in USask’s College of Arts and Science, majoring in health studies. It’s also her fourth year on the Huskies women’s track and field team. Her athletic achievements have included becoming a Canada West gold medallist in the 60m hurdles and 4x200m relay in 2018-19 and a U SPORTS gold medallist in the 60m hurdles in the same year.
In this question-answer feature, Harrison talks about majoring in health studies, her time in the College of Arts and Science and about balancing her athletic and academic commitments.
Arts and Science: Why did you choose that area of study?
Harrison: I chose health studies as a major as I am interested in a career in the health field.
Arts and Science: Why did you want to join the Huskies?
Harrison: I wanted to join the Huskies to continue my career in track close to home.
Arts and Science: What do you enjoy the most about track and field?
Harrison: I like the fact that it is an individual and team sport. I can work hard to (achieve) the goals I set for myself, while having team members to train with and make each other better.
Arts and Science: What track and field accomplishments are you most proud of?
Harrison: I am most proud of my two U SPORTS gold medals and Huskie records in the 60m hurdles and 60m. Representing USask at the World University Games in Korea was also a very memorable moment.
Arts and Science: How do you balance your athletic and academic commitments?
Harrison: Time management is my key to success, both on the track and in the classroom. Being organized keeps my stress levels down and allows me to focus on the task at hand.
Arts and Science: What is the best part of studying in the College of Arts and Science?
Harrison: I like the flexibility of my (Arts and Science) degree. Within the health studies degree there are multiple different concentrations to choose from and a large variety of classes offered within each concentration.
Arts and Science: What would you like to do after your degree?
Harrison: I am still trying to figure things out, but I am currently thinking of pursing an MBA after I graduate with my Arts and Science degree.
(This article is part of an ongoing series featuring Huskies student-athletes who are studying in the College of Arts and Science.)