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Over and above

Convocation awards recognize exceptional new Memorial graduates

Campus and Community

By Memorial University

During convocation week, graduating Memorial University students who exemplify leadership and academic excellence are recognized with some very special awards.

The Chancellor’s Awards are given to students who demonstrated the greatest leadership contribution to student life and other areas of the community during their university years.

Chancellor Earl Ludlow addressed the nominees at the ceremony last month.

“I have nothing but pride and a sense of privilege to be here,” said Chancellor Ludlow. “We’re in really, really good hands. As I look forward to the leadership and the hard work to create these marks, it’s awesome. We’re here to celebrate the future leaders of this country and the world.”

Chancellor’s Undergraduate Award and Fry Family Undergraduate Leadership Award

The Fry Family Foundation Leadership Awards are presented to students who have received a Chancellor’s Award and who have been selected as Memorial University’s most outstanding student leaders, contributing significantly to student life.

Smiling woman stands with child on either side with a window in the background. A man stands on the left holding a certificate and a woman on the right, also holding a certificate
Courtney Loveless with her children during the ceremony.
Photo: Submitted

The students also assume a variety of leadership responsibilities in various positions and make a significant contribution to the betterment of their community.

Courtney Loveless has been a voice and advocate, taking on roles as the student parents’ representative with MUNSU, executive treasurer at the MUNSU Student Parent Assistance and Resource Centre and student representative on the Childcare Centre’s board of directors.

Ms. Loveless’ lived experience has guided her in supporting her communities.

She volunteers at Planned Parenthood, the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis Prevention Centre, the 2SLGBTQIA+ warmline and with Thrive CYN, distributing necessities to at-risk, vulnerable individuals.

She has served on eight boards/committees and held two volunteer roles supporting fellow students’ well-being and success as a peer network success mentor and peer supporter with Memorial Minds.

During spring 2023 convocation ceremonies, Ms. Loveless graduated with a bachelor of arts (hons.) degree with a double major in psychology and gender studies.

Leslie Thoms Convocation Award

As elected class president and MUNSU representative, Bethany Jacobs assisted their peers through the transition to online learning and co-led a university-wide sexual violence awareness and prevention campaign.

Smiling person stands in front of window
Bethany Jacobs
Photo: Submitted

Ms. Jacobs has promoted and supported the Indigenous student body at Memorial as guest Indigenous artisan instructor at the Juniper House art program and led traditional Indigenous beading sessions during National Truth and Reconciliation Week.

She is the national community’s organizer for the circle of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, serving as the circle’s Two-spirit, Non-Binary, Women’s and Trans Representative.

Ms. Jacobs graduated this spring with a bachelor of social work degree, bachelor of arts (gender studies/sociology) degree and a certificate in Aboriginal and Indigenous studies.

The Leslie Thoms Convocation Award is awarded to an undergraduate student who has shown positive, outstanding leadership in student affairs and activities during their university career while carrying a full-time course load for the majority of their undergraduate studies and maintaining good academic standing.

Chancellor’s Graduate Award and Fry Family Graduate Leadership Award

While living in a foreign culture and learning a new language, Khatereh Bahmanpour volunteered with the Association for New Canadians as an interpreter/translator helping Afghani refugees.

Four people in front of a window. Once is accepting an award and one is holding a certificate
Khatereh Bahmanpour accepts her award from Chancellor Ludlow and President Bose.
Photo: Submitted

Today, she is working as a full-time English as a second language instructor with the association, applying the lessons she learned as a newcomer.

Last month, Ms. Bahmanpour graduated with a master of education degree in the area of curriculum teaching and learning with an overall average of 90.8 per cent.

Governor General’s Academic Medal (Gold/Graduate)

There are three Governor General’s Medals awarded at convocation: two gold medals to the graduate students who achieve the highest academic standing in their graduate degree program; and a silver medal to the undergraduate student obtaining a first degree who stands highest in the graduating class and has an average of first-class standing.

Man seen on screen behind two men in front
Dr. Sylvester Aboagye is pictured on screen, with President Bose and Chancellor Ludlow pictured in front.
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Sylvester Aboagye, who graduated with a PhD in electrical engineering in May, obtained an A in all courses, with a GPA of 4.0 for his doctoral program.

He received the Graduate Students’ Union Award for Academic Excellence for the 2021–22 scholarship year and was nominated by Memorial University for the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies-Pro-Quest Distinguished Dissertation Award 2023 in Engineering/Medical Sciences/Natural Sciences.

The focus of his doctoral dissertation and his contributions to his field are likely to have an enormous practical impact on advancing green communications in 5G and beyond wireless networks.

Dr. Aboagye’s work has been published in highly reputed journals and he’s presented at major, international conferences.

Dr. Aboagye was also a teaching assistant in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and was a tutor at the Cahill Engineering One Success Centre.

Smiling woman stands with a window in the background. She's holding a certificate. A man stands on the left.
Stephanie Blandford accepts her award from President Bose and Chancellor Ludlow.
Photo: Submitted

Spring 2023 graduate Stephanie Blandford’s PhD research focused on identifying and validating novel biomarkers in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, which may help in better diagnosing and treating the highly debilitating neurological disease.

Dr. Blandford excelled in academics and research, contributing to original articles and summary reviews in the field of MS during her doctoral program, along with presenting nationally and internationally.

She was recognized with awards from the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS and the Americas Committee for the Treatment and Research in MS.

She was awarded the prestigious Dr. William J. McIlroy MS Society of Canada Doctoral Studentship Award and received a gold medal at the Canadian Student Health Research Forum, a national poster competition and networking event with Gairdner Foundation laureates geared to the top five per cent of medical graduate students in Canada.

Governor General’s Academic Medal (Silver/Undergraduate)

Man accepts certificate from another man. They are standing in front of a window
President Bose presents Matthew Roome with his award.
Photo: Submitted

Matthew Roome is a spring 2023 bachelor of music (hons.) degree graduate with a major in saxophone performance and a minor in jazz studies, finishing top of his class.

Mr. Roome, who also received the University Medal for Academic Excellence in Music, has performed with the Jazz East Big Band, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and Opera on the Avalon.

He has also performed at many university-related events, including private events for both Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon and Lieut.-Gov. Judy May Foote, several Memorial Café Concert Series showcases and 15 Memorial University convocation ceremonies at both the St. John’s and Grenfell campuses.

Congratulations to all!


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