The upcoming convocation ceremonies on November 22 will feature the presentation of two significant academic awards — the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal and Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal. Sabrina Sargent and Aidin Mehdipour share their experiences of academic success at Concordia. The ceremonies will also include the presentation of three honorary doctorates.
Finance student Sabrina Sargent will receive the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal, awarded to the undergraduate student who has the highest GPA. Sargent will graduate from the John Molson School of Business with a 4.28 GPA, the highest in the university.
Sargent attributes her exceptional grades to setting goals and staying motivated. “You have to always push yourself,” she says from her new job where she works in investment banking. “If you’re not motivated, you’re not going to strive to achieve goals.”
She says organization was also a key factor in her academic success. “I was very organized. I always set timetables for myself. If you always know where you want to be, or where you’ve got to be, you’ll know how much time you have left for other things.”
Sargent insists she didn’t learn how to achieve academic success over night, or from one specific source. “I think it’s a result of just being in school for so long. You learn what works for you, and what doesn’t. I know what’s best for me, what works for me, but there’s no specific way to do things.”
Her decision to attend Concordia was made after she heard about the Kenneth Woods Portfolio Management Program (KWPMP). Students in the program work with a real-life portfolio of $1.4 million, an experience Sargent says was invaluable in preparing her for the real world.
“The mixture of my personal work experience during internships, my classes, the Kenneth Woods portfolio management ... bringing all that together really helped prepare me for my job,” she says. “And of course, you learn on the job, but the transition wasn’t a big shock.”
Abraham Brodt, KWPMP Director, praised Sargent for her work ethic and dedication. “Sabrina was an excellent student, and an excellent team player. She performed all of her responsibilities in the program exceptionally well.” Brodt also said Sargent made a great impression on her employers during her various internships. “She’s off to a very promising career in investment banking.”
Sargent says a highlight of studying at Concordia was meeting and working with so many people from different backgrounds, not just through the finance program but in her other classes and activities. Her advice for other Concordia students is to get involved as much as possible, and make your undergraduate experience count. “It’s what you make of it,” she says. “You have to take your own initiative.”
Graduate student Aidin Mehdipour, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will receive the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal. He recently completed his PhD thesis entitled, Advanced Carbon-Fiber Composite Materials for Shielding and Antenna Applications, under the supervision of C.W. Trueman and A.R. Sebak.
The Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal recognizes Mehdipour’s significant research accomplishments. Gold medals are awarded to graduate students in two key areas outlined in the university’s Strategic Research Plan: The Person and Society (awarded during spring convocation); and Technology, Industry and the Environment (awarded during fall convocation).
Mehdipour’s thesis “is one of the most significant and comprehensive research works ever done on electromagnetic characteristics of composite materials, which is very important for avionic and spacecraft industries,” says Suong Van Hoa, director of the Concordia Centre for Composites.
Mehdipour began his research investigating the electromagnetic properties of carbon composite compared to aluminum as a shield against electromagnetic radiation on modern aircraft. Carbon composite is used instead of aluminum because it is lighter and stronger. His research was part of a joint project between Concordia, École Polytechnique de Montréal and Bell Helicopter, and funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
“After doing this project, I decided to try using composite materials for antenna microwave applications, because I saw there was potential there,” says Mehdipour. “It was a very new area, untouched.”
Antennas made with composite materials can function in climates where metal is unsuitable. “The composite material shows very good corrosion resistance,” he says. “Many people call them green antennas. Because of their resistance to corrosion and fantastic mechanical characteristics, it could be used in harsh environments, for military applications or any application outdoors.”
Mehdipour praises Concordia and his professors for supporting his research. “My supervisors supported me very well,” he says. “They spent a lot of time reviewing my work, and whenever I needed some components we didn’t have, they purchased them. In microwave research, the components are expensive!”
Although Mehdipour has now graduated from Concordia, he continues to work on several projects, and recently submitted a patent application. “I still have many projects that I’m working on in my free time, specifically the patent issue, it’s not a short-term project,” he says.
Three honorary doctorates will also be awarded at fall convocation:
Robert Courteau, BComm
President of the North American division of the multinational corporation SAP, the global leader in enterprise application software, Courteau will receive an honorary doctorate in recognition of his significant contributions to the advancement of information technology in Canada and his involvement in community organizations.
Xavier-Henri Hervé, BSc (Mech. Eng.)
President of one of the fastest growing producers of flight simulation systems, Mechtronix World Corp. and president and COO of Mechtronix Systems Inc., Hervé is being honoured for his commitment to thinking outside traditional boundaries in order to lead the way in the production of innovations in the aeronautical industry.
Kathy Reichs, PhD, DABFA
Forensic anthropologist, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and co-producer of the television series Bones, Reichs is being recognized for her groundbreaking work in demystifying and popularizing the process of criminal investigation. One of only 88 forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Reichs divides her times between Montreal and Charlotte, N.C.
What: Fall convocation 2011
When: Tuesday, November 22 (Arts and Science: 10 a.m., Engineering and Computer Science / Fine Arts: 3 p.m., John Molson School of Business: 7:30 p.m.)
Where: Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Place des Arts (175 Ste-Catherine St. W.)
• Governor General’s Academic Medals
• Honorary doctorates
• “Three honorary doctorates announced for fall” — NOW, October 12, 2011