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Great grads

Armel Jolin

BA, Honours in Linguistics - 2020
Recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal

Jolin was awarded scholarships from the Association of Alumni of Sir George Williams University Inc. (2019, 2020) as well as ASFA (2020). He had the opportunity of working three terms as a teaching assistant and receiving the financial support of a Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Award for his summer 2019 research term. From 2018 to 2020, he maintained a continuous involvement with the Concordia Linguistics Student Association, acting as vice-president for internal affairs (2018-19) and vice-president for academic affairs (2019-20).

3 keys to a good education

  • Education has to engage you beyond exams and grades.
  • Your field of study extends beyond the classroom: consider research or internship opportunities.
  • Attend lectures and other events in your department: your learning community will help fuel your motivation.

2 lessons learned at Concordia

  • Professors are more than just teachers, they are mentors. Ask them for guidance and heed their advice.
  • You will largely benefit from building a supportive community around you.

1 piece of advice for future grads

  • Always challenge yourself and stay curious.

Next great goal

  • I will be starting my master’s in linguistics in the fall.
Marguerite Rolland

BA, Honours in Linguistics and History - 2020
Recipient of the Malone Medal

Rolland has served as both a teaching assistant and a research assistant in the Department of Linguistics, alongside involvement in student groups such as the Concordia Linguistics Student Association and ASFA. Rolland also worked as a student advocate at the Concordia Student Union Advocacy Centre for more than two and a half years. She received the Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics Scholarship in 2018, won a Concordia Council on Student Life Outstanding Contribution Award in 2019 and was awarded the Quebec Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Medal in 2020.

3 keys to a good education

  • Get involved in the university community. When you find places, groups and people that make school feel like home, it will change the experience for the better.
  • Talk to your profs. They genuinely want to see you learn and pique your interest. Attend office hours, go to lectures and academic talks and participate in class.
  • Go to bed early. Unless you need to submit an assignment by 11:59 p.m., stop studying after 10 p.m.

2 lessons learned at Concordia

  • I learned how important it is to question and be critical of the sources and information that are presented to you. This of course applies academically, but also to everything else in life.
  • As students, it’s essential to engage with our institution. We represent the majority of the university community and our experience matters. If you see a problem that needs to be addressed, flag it, find the person who’s in charge of it and try to change it.

1 piece of advice for future grads

  • Use the resources that are available to you. Concordia has an incredible fee-levy community that can (read: will) enrich your education 10 times over. Go to the People’s Potato, The Hive and Le Frigo Vert, use the Concordia Co-op Bookstore, attend Cinema Politica screenings and get involved in the student organizations that represent you.

Next great goal

  • To survive law school!
Anaële Cuerrier

BA Honours Linguistics – 2017

3 keys to a good education

  • First off, it requires professors that not only teach what they love, but who teach you how to think critically and nurture high-quality ignorance. In other words, they teach you how to express your curiosity in meaningful and practical ways.
  • A good education is one that helps you develop skills that will serve you throughout your entire life.
  • Finally, it involves a network of people that constantly encourage and motivate you to thrive.

2 lessons learned at the Faculty of Arts & Science

  • There are many resources in place to help us succeed at Concordia. We are fortunate to have advisors, committees and activities for everyone.
  • I also learned to take classes from different departments. FAS has hundreds of different courses offered. This allows us to view the world from multiple perspectives.

1 piece of advice to fellow students

  • Be resilient and passionate — the rest will follow!
Jing Fu

BA Major Linguistics – 2017
Governor General’s Silver Medal

Jing Fu’s professional interests lie in theoretical linguistics, developmental psychology, and neuroscience. She is currently enrolled in a graduate program in speech language pathology at McGill University.

3 keys to a good education

  • Knowledgeable and helpful professors. They always give me great guidance to help me achieve my academic goals.
  • Critical thinking and critical reasoning. Just as Confucius once put it: To learn without thinking is blindness, to think without learning is idleness.
  • Good education should ignite genuine passion for the study itself — education is not about filling buckets, it is about lighting fires.

2 lessons learned at Concordia

  • Always be organized and don’t snowball the work and cram at the last minute.
  • Learning is more active and efficient if you can take even 10 minutes to preview the materials before the class.

1 piece of advice for graduates

  • I have a feeling that most of us, including myself, make the mistakes of thinking and wondering too much without taking any action. The more important thing is to go out into the real world and learn from your own experience, not those of others.

    I was made aware of the profession of speech therapist through my work in a children’s hospital and my part-time job as a daycare educator. Then I started my second bachelor’s degree at Concordia, and it was only through study that I realized linguistics is my “true love.”
Augusto Gutiérrez

MA Hispanic Studies - 2013; BA Honours Spanish (Literature & Society) - 2011

Augusto was born in Managua, Nicaragua and moved to Montréal in 1985. After completing a BA and MA in Hispanic Studies in the department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics at Concordia, he is currently pursuing PhD studies in Hispanic Studies at McGill University. His research interests include Writing, Orality and Translation, Latin American Cultural and Literary Studies, Discourse Analysis, Latin American Short Narrative, and Colonial discourse.

Mary Yaneth Oviedo

MA Hispanic Studies - 2013; BA Honours Spanish (Literature & Society) - 2010

Prior to entering her BA in Spanish - Literature & Society (Honours with Great Distinction) in 2007, Mary worked as an advertising copywriter and editor for more than ten years after graduating as a publicist from Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Bogotá, Colombia. During her undergraduate studies she worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Catherine Vallejo and Professor Roberto Viereck Salinas. Her program of studies in the department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics has provided her with opportunities to be involved in the academic world of Hispanic Studies and to achieve her dream of becoming a Spanish teacher in the future. She was on the Dean's List from 2007 to 2010 and was also the recipient of the George Hanna and Norman Hébert Jr. Concordia Golf Classic Bursary during the 2009 - 2010 academic year. After graduating with Great Distinction from Concordia University in 2010, Mary completed a MA in Hispanic Studies also at Concordia University. She is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Studies at McGill University.

Vanessa Di Francesco

BA Major Classics (Classical Civilization), Minor Art History - 2012

Read Vanessa's testimonial:"Nietzsche writes that 'a young man cannot possibly know what the Greeks and Romans are [and] does not know whether he is fitted to investigate into them.' His frank declaration of the hermeneutic problem, together with the 19th century implication that only men are fitted to even wonder if they are fitted to study the ancients read to me like a challenge, first prompting my decision to pursue a Classics major in the CMLL Department, where I am lucky to have both studied and TA'd, earning a BA with Great Distinction in Classics (Classical Civilization), while retaining a minor in Art History. My success at Concordia is owed as much to the strength of the University's undergraduate programs and the support and guidance of the CMLL's faculty and staff as to my own efforts. The support of fellow CMLL students, many of whom I was lucky enough to get to know well in my role as VP Communications and President of the Concordia Classics Student Association, cannot be discounted. I am now pursuing an MA in Art History with a joint option in Gender and Women's Studies at McGill University, where my research is being funded by the SSHRC and FRQSC. Whether Nietzsche was entirely right or wrong is still impossible for me to decide, as it may always remain. But I know, at the very least, that my studies at Concordia have in fact made me fitted to investigate into history."

Yuliya Manyakina

BA Honours Linguistics, Minor Political Science - 2012

Read Yuliya's testimonial: "Being an active student in the CMLL department has helped me grow very much within my years at Concordia. Through close interactions with the staff, professors, and students, I was able to emerge from my introvert persona and become comfortable asking questions. The encouragement I received has since pushed me forward and will continue to help me down the road of academia. During my time at Concordia I received the International Student Bursary, the New Millennium Student Contribution Bursary, and was on the Dean's List. In addition, I was President of the Linguistics Student Association (the LSA), a Tutorial Leader, and a Student Success Mentor (Counselling & Development)." Yuliya graduated from McGill University in 2015 with a MA in linguistics. She is currently the Project Director for Lakȟól’iyapi Wahóȟpi/Wičhákini Owáyawa Lakota Immersion Nest at Sitting Bull College (Fort Yates, ND).

Laurence B. Violette

BA Honours Linguistics – 2012

Laurence has completed her BA in Linguistics (Honours with Great Distinction) in 2012. She was presented with the Modern Languages and Linguistics Plaque at the Spring 2012 graduation convocation. She was also one of up to three Canadian students chosen annually to receive the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship to pursue graduate studies at Harvard University. Read Laurence's testimonial: "My most enriching experiences at Concordia University have been my volunteer engagement as well as my work at the CMLL Department. I started volunteering in the fall of 2010, when the Concordia LIVE Centre opened. The Centre promotes volunteerism among students and strives to guide them in finding volunteer opportunities related to their interests. To serve this goal, I developed lists of specific volunteer opportunities related to various majors, starting with Linguistics. After two years of contribution, I was nominated by my co-workers and selected to receive the CCSL Outstanding Contribution Award in April 2012. I also dedicated a great part of my time to Linguistics and had the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant several times for Professor Madelyn Kissock and Professor Charles Reiss. Moreover, the completion of my Honours Thesis, the study of Historical Linguistics and the research done with Professor Mark Hale were very formative. These experiences have undoubtedly been influential in my pursuing my PhD at Harvard in Historical Linguistics in the Fall 2012."

Dustin Fabian Zuk

BA Honours Linguistics, Minor History - 2012

Fabian completed his BA in Linguistics (Honours with Great Distinction) in 2012. He was awarded the Arts and Science Scholar Award for maintaining a GPA in the top one percent of Concordia Undergraduates. Read his testimonial: "A vagabond scholar of sorts, I was a veteran of several universities before finding within the walls of the CMLL what I had so long sought. I found an intimate environment that allowed real contact with professors and opportunities for research while providing oh-so-valuable teaching experience. In my last semester I led a conference for Introduction to Linguistics. My program allowed for a fluid pursuit of Theoretical Linguistics, Indo-European Studies, and a dash of modern and classical languages. My Linguistics training to-date has made me a better language instructor, a more critical thinker, and has provided me with the skills to pursue my Master's of History at Université de Montréal and to face many of language's mysteries. I was very fortunate to have become involved in the Linguistics Student Association (the LSA) and to have had the opportunity to participate in conferences, such as that of the North East Linguistic Society in Toronto and the biennial North American Phonology Conference organized by the CMLL Department. Thank you to everyone in the Department, LSA members, administrative staff, and especially thank you to my professors for the incredible experience. The lesson of these years has been to pursue what one does with passion and the rest falls into place.

Christina Vani

BA Major Italian, Minor Spanish, Minor Professional Writing - 2010

Christina graduated with great distinction from Concordia University in 2009, where she majored in Italian and minored in Spanish and Professional Writing. Her studies included courses in Translation (in Spanish and Italian); History of the Italian Language; Linguistics; and Italian Civilisation. While at Concordia, she co-led an Italian conversation group and volunteered with the Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA) and Sustainable Concordia. She achieved a GPA of 4.04 (out of 4.3); was on the Dean's List for three consecutive years; received a yearly tuition remission for good academic standing; was awarded the Carmine Di Michele Scholarship; and was granted the Italian Book Award from the Ambassador to Switzerland in Ottawa. She was also a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society. Christina was the youth representative for the Giovani Laziali in Montréal, who sponsored her and 40 other children of Italian immigrants from Lazio to spend three weeks in Cassino, Lazio, in 2008. Following graduation, Christina worked for one year in the field of medical publishing as a copyeditor in Montréal, and she has continued to do freelance proofreading, copyediting, and writing ever since. In 2011, she spent two months volunteering with the Art Monastery Project, an American arts non-profit, in Labro, Italy. Upon her return, she began her MA at U of T, where she focussed on courses on the Italian language, such as Italian Dialectology and the Questione della Lingua; Registers and Subcodes; Italian Language after Unity; and Lexicography. When she completed the MA, Christina was offered a six-month contract to re-join the Art Monastery Project in the capacity of Assistant to the Executive Director, a position that she occupied from June to December 2012. Invigorated from her sojourn in Italy, Christina initiated the PhD programme at U of T in January 2013 and continued to focus on the Italian language. She has yet to solidify her thesis topic; nevertheless, her research interests include Dialectology, Translation, Philology, Linguistics, and Pedagogy. She is a Jackman Junior Fellow and has received the Senator Peter Bosa Graduate Fellowship. Christina speaks English, French, and Spanish in addition to Italian and is passionate about writing, vegan cooking, live music, slam poetry, and meditation.

Allison Williams

BA Honours Classics (Classical Civilization) - 2010

Allison has completed her BA in Classics - Classical Civilization (Honours with Distinction) in 2010. She was also a 2010 recipient of the Classics Book Prize awarded by the Faculty of Arts & Science in recognition of her outstanding performance during her undergraduate studies in Classics. Read Allison's testimonial: "Being a part of the CMLL department has been an invaluable experience. Not only was I able to complete my BA in Classics but I was able to work as a Teaching Assistant for two consecutive semesters and a Research Assistant for a duration of eight months. Working as a TA and RA gave me clear understanding of what kind of information my professors were trying to deliver and how they expected a student of my own caliber to maintain and use such information. I learnt new research methods and how I would be able to apply them in the future. The environment in the CMLL department was something that I appreciated very much. Being such a small group meant that you quickly got to know your peers and were able to communicate on a more personal level with your professors. To me, that was a fundamental aspect in my growth as a student. I thoroughly enjoyed working as the Social Affair VP on the Concordia Classics Student Association for my last year. I was able to co-organize and coordinate three wonderful social events with my other fellow members that allowed other students to find out what the program was about. CMLL has given me the opportunity to explore my ultimate dream. Without the wonderful mentors, program fundamental and always supportive department, I would not be where I am today." After previous studies in Egyptology at Cambridge University, England, Allison recently completed her PhD at the University of Liverpool where her research focused on the artistic design on 25th and 26th Dynasty coffins (747-525 BC).

Ximena Griscti

BA Honours Spanish (Literature & Society) - 2009

After completing her BA in Spanish - Literature & Society (Honours with Distinction), Ximena finished an MA in Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and has begun her PhD in Communication and Culture at York University in September 2010. She has received Master's scholarships from SSHRC, FQRSC, and OGS, and Doctoral scholarships from SSHRC and OGS. Read Ximena's testimonial: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Goretti Ramírez from the Concordia's Spanish program", she says. "I am very fortunate to have had her as my professor and Honours thesis supervisor. Her classes prepared me well for my graduate work, and her one-on-one supervision has helped me develop a research project which I am passionate about, and continue to pursue in my graduate studies."

Megan Millward

BA Honours Western Society and Culture, Minor Modern Chinese Language (Mandarin) - 2008

Read Megan’s testimonial: “Many Chinese believe in yuanfen (“destiny”). I started at Concordia the same year the CMLL Mandarin program did, and have been connected to the department ever since. I first visited China with Professor Lian Duan and classmates in the summer of 2007 as a part of Summer in China Concordia Program. Reading essays by Lin Yutang in the Modern Chinese Literature course prompted me to study the author in-depth for an MA in Comparative Literature at Fudan University in Shanghai, on a full Québec-China scholarship. Since then I have returned to the CMLL Department to teach Mandarin and share my interest in the language and culture with current students.

Jacqueline Peters

BA Honours Linguistics - 2008

Read Jacqueline’s testimonial: “I received my BA in Linguistics (Honours with Great Distinction) and I teach the Introduction to Sociolinguistics class at Concordia, so I feel I have come full circle. The support and guidance I received while at Concordia enabled me to leave the program with the Campaign for the New Millennium Student Contribution Scholarship and The Modern Languages and Linguistics Plaque. I also won an MA SSHRC and FQRSC. I went on to receive a PhD SSHRC, and have presented at numerous international conferences which culminated in my first publication. I credit the professors in CMLL for providing me with the skills and work ethic necessary to succeed and my fellow-students for the incredible support they gave me during my time at Concordia. The fact that both professors and students from my time at Concordia are still a vital part of my life speaks to Concordia’s strong community spirit.

Michael Barkey

BA Honours Linguistics – 2007

Michael has completed his BA in Linguistics (Honours with Distinction) in 2007. Read Michael's testimonial: "A healthy spirit of inquiry is the most acquisition from my years at Concordia. All of the professors in the Linguistics department promoted the importance of the investigation itself and I found mentors in them all. There was a quality to my education that I don't think is widely available. Working with Professor Charles Reiss and other students on the Concordia Linguistics Outreach project in my final years was formative. Together we employed Linguistics to ease the minds of worried parents, fight racism, and help communicate mathematical principles to maximum-security prisoners who were trying to complete high school. Another project that occupied my time was the People's Potato, which is a not-for-profit food service organization preparing and distributing daily vegan meals to approximately 400 students at Concordia University. This was an initiative that attempted to address the very serious issues of student poverty and the lack of healthy food in general. We saw a problem and we worked towards a solution. My ability to problem-solve in my daily life was strengthened by my education in Linguistics."

Enrique González

BA Honours Spanish - 2003

Enrique has completed his BA in Spanish (Honours with Great Distinction) in 2003. Read Enrique's testimonial here: "Since I remember, languages and literature were my passion. This explains why, once I have established myself in Canada, I decided to pursue studies in Spanish. Happily, I chose Concordia University to get my BA. My Concordia education was a challenging and very positive experience. The Spanish faculty members supported and encouraged me in all my academic pursuits. The constant flow of ideas, the deep commitment of both students and professors to learning and research, and the friendly atmosphere were some of the many positive aspects I found at the CMLL Department. Furthermore, the excellent formation I received at Concordia University allowed me to pursue graduate studies, being able to obtain a MA degree in Spanish Linguistics in the United States. Nowadays, things have come full circle and I am proudly a member of the Part Time Faculty of the Spanish program at Concordia.

Nathalie Lachance

BA Honours German - 2003

Nathalie has completed her BA in German (Honours with Great Distinction) in 2003. She was awarded the Birks Medal as the highest ranking student graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree and the Modern Languages and Linguistics Plaque as the most outstanding graduating student of all Modern Languages and Linguistics programs. Read Nathalie's testimonial: "I had worked all day. I was a sales rep in the food business, selling dead fish in a can. That evening, I sat in a classroom of the Hall Building. An angel could have told me at that precise moment: « You are about to be born again. » I was about to meet Professor Helmut Famira. I shed my sales rep skin. I wanted to be a teacher, just like him. I finished my BA then went to McGill for a Master's and a PhD. I never forgot Concordia. And once in a while, in my own classroom at Bishop's, where I now teach German, its language and literature, I quote Professor Helmut Famira and smile."

Hratch Papazian

BA Honours Classics - 1994

After completing his Concordia Classics degree (Honours with Great Distinction), he went to the University of Chicago, where he gained his PhD in Egyptology. Since September 2013 he has a permanent endowed position at Cambridge University in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, where he is Herbert Thompson lecturer in Ancient Egyptian language. Previously, he was Associate Professor of Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen. He also works with the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago on significant projects. He has begun a field mission of his own on an old kingdom non-funerary pyramid in Abydos (southern Egypt). He has 2 books to his credit on administration in Ancient Egypt (Brill and Gerstenberg publishers).

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