What’s the key to scholarly success?

Catching up with some of the 2017 Faculty of Arts and Science Scholar Award winners
By Elisabeth Faure


Each year, the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS) honours it’s highest academic achievers with the Dean’s Scholar Awards.

Students who earn a place on the Scholar’s list score grades in the top percentile of each of FAS’ 27 programs. Out of over 19,000 students, 151 were named Scholars for the 2016 – 2017 academic year.

90 per cent of this year’s Scholars had a GPA of 4.0 or higher, and 5 scored perfect GPAs of 4.3.

What’s the key to scholarly success? We caught up with some of this year’s honorees to hear more about their studies, being named a Scholar, and why they chose Concordia.


Laszlo Varju, department of economics

To me being a scholar is not just an award that highlights my academic success, it is mostly motivational. It makes me realize that with dedication and hard work you can achieve amazing results in anything you do. It motivates me to continue working hard, and to never feel limited in any way. If you enjoy doing something, try your best and keep doing it and you will succeed. 

I have always liked mathematics, and it has been my favourite subject in school throughout my entire academic career. After graduating CEGEP, I wanted to pursue a field of study that was mathematical but at the same time had applications in the real world. After doing some research, I realized economics was the best match for me. I wanted to learn more about how economists build mathematical models to represent the real world and how they use them to make predictions and/or explain certain empirical facts. 

I decided to go to Concordia because I really liked the curriculum of the Honours Program. It seemed to be the perfect program to choose in order to prepare me for graduate studies in economics. The reason being is that it has 60 credits (20 classes) in Econ which gives you exposure to a variety of classes and teachers. And it contains a great balance of math, economic theory, and stats overall whereas other programs only focus on economic theory. 


Marie-Pier Labbé, département d’études françaises

Quel honneur et quelle belle surprise de recevoir cet hommage! Ce prix constitue pour moi une reconnaissance de mon engagement envers mes études ainsi qu’un encouragement à poursuivre mes études et ma carrière de traductrice. Ce prix confirme que j’ai fait le bon choix de réorientation professionnelle.

A tout d’abord obtenu un baccalauréat en études théâtrales de l’Université Laval en 2005, ainsi qu’un D.E.S.S. en éducation somatique de l’UQAM en 2009. Elle a ensuite travaillé dans le domaine des arts de la scène auprès de personnes vivant avec une déficience intellectuelle, notamment au sein de l’organisme les Muses, ainsi qu’avec la compagnie de théâtre Joe Jack et John. C’est en 2015 qu’elle a choisi de réorienter sa carrière en s’inscrivant au baccalauréat en traduction à l’Université Concordia, afin de pousser plus loin son amour de la langue.

J’ai choisi l’Université Concordia parce que j’aime l’espace vibrant où elle est située, j’aime l’ambiance de vie étudiante qui y règne. C’est également une université où l’engagement social est bien présent et cela m’inspirait. Je ne connaissais pas nécessairement la réputation de son département en Études françaises, mais après quatre trimestres de classes, je peux attester de la grande qualité de l’enseignement qui y est prodigué, et ce dans une approche des plus humaines. Je considère comme un grand privilège d’avoir accès aux stages en entreprise qu’offre le programme co-op.


Brent Rosenstein, department of exercise science

Being named a Scholar means a lot to me as it is an indication of all the hard work and energy I have given throughout the years. In addition, it encourages me to continue working hard, and I really appreciate the university for recognizing me. Getting positive feedback is very motivating. I think it’s important because there are times in our lives we are discouraged and are quick to point out weaknesses, so getting any form of inspiration enhances your educational journey.

As a child, I struggled in the classroom. My parents, my biggest ambassadors, simply wouldn’t believe that this was because I couldn’t grasp the material. They worked diligently with the school until they made a stunning discovery: I was partially deaf. Even after my hearing was corrected surgically, I continued to feel academically disadvantaged due to my language deficit. Thankfully, my strong support system (my parents and devoted teachers) helped me overcome this barrier. In retrospect, now that I’ve risen above this and have excelled at the undergraduate level, I’m able to empathize so strongly with those who face challenges that are beyond their control. Accordingly, one of my passions is being a positive influence for those who are at a disadvantage in life.

Following this same vein, I have been a note-taker for students with disabilities for 5 undergraduate semesters at Concordia University.

I applied to Concordia because I heard great things about the science programs. Interestingly, I originally applied to the Biology program and accepted my offer. It was one of my good friends who told me about the Exercise Science program and encouraged me to join. I quickly did my research, requested to switch programs and I couldn’t be happier. When looking at the curriculum and the description of the courses, I was immediately interested and knew that Exercise Science had a lot to offer. In addition, I liked how there are many paths you can take within the program such as, Clinical Exercise Physiology, Athletic Therapy, Honors and Major.

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