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Convocation preview: 6 great Concordia grads

Fall 2018 valedictorians and Governor General’s Academic Medal winners share their parting insights
November 9, 2018
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By Ashley Fortier

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More than 1,840 students from all four faculties and the School of Graduate Studies are eligible to take the stage to receive their diplomas on November 19, in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Montreal’s Place des Arts.

Five new honorands — a pioneering artist, a philanthropist and three nationally recognized business leaders — will address the fall 2018 graduating class.

Four university valedictorians and two winners of the Governor General’s Academic Medals will join them onstage.

We asked these standout students for the secrets to their success.


Samie Li Shang Ly

Samie Li Shang Ly

Valedictorian
PhD
Business Administration

Samie Li Shang Ly completed a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate at Concordia. She has also been a business statistics lecturer at the university for eight years. She is the recipient of a President’s Excellence in Teaching Award and a Stanley G. French Medal. Ly enjoys bringing people together from different programs and places and believes this is her biggest accomplishment.

Three keys to a good education

  • Awesome teachers change your path and influence your life forever — you are your teacher’s mimic.
  • Build character by questioning rather than being obedient and following.
  • Teamwork, friends and family are golden. They stay by your side through stress, cry with you, laugh with you and always want the best for you.

Two lessons learned at Concordia University

  • Diversity and inclusion are normal. Concordia is a rare place where people from multiple nations speak different languages and put their minds together.
  • Concordia is a growing community. When every person pulls their weight, we bring this university one step further together. 

Next great goal

  • To create a social impact in education by bridging theory and practice for all innovators in the world.

Advice for future grads

  • Where you are today doesn't define where you'll be in one, five or 10 years. Taking steps toward respect, kindness and love will always lead you to somewhere beautiful. It's better to take one step at a time than to not move forward at all.

Andrew Collins McRae

Andrew Collins McRae

Valedictorian
PhD
Physics

In September 2018, Andrew Collins McRae completed his PhD on tuning the quantum states and the flow of electrons in ultra-short, atomically thin transistors, combining electronics and mechanics. His work, partially funded by the prestigious NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, has been published in world-class peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences.

Three keys to a good education

  • Determine your learning style to be a more efficient and effective learner.
  • Ask lots of questions to build your understanding of the big picture.
  • Work hard, but not too hard!

Two lessons learned at Concordia University

  • Taking the time to organize yourself and put everything in place initially seems to slow down your work flow, but it can save you twice as much time down the road.
  • Do as much as you can by yourself, but do not hesitate to ask for help if you get stuck. Relying on experts can save you a lot of time.

Next great goal

  • To use my problem-solving skills and make my way into industry to help make the world a better place.

Advice for future grads

  • Keep working hard to achieve your goals, and don’t give up. You are capable of so much more than you know!

Antoine Damiens

Antoine Damiens

Valedictorian
PhD
Film and Moving Image Studies

In examining minor, ephemeral LGBTQ film festivals, Antoine Damiens’ research theorizes the precarious labour of festival organizers and community builders. At Concordia, Damiens completed a PhD in Film and Moving Image Studies in 2018. In addition to publishing several articles, Damiens leads two research workgroups within international conferences.

Three keys to a good education

  • Understanding that failing is a major part of any learning experience.
  • Finding a community that can support you in times of doubt.
  • Connecting academic knowledge to the real world: theoretical concepts are never removed from your daily life.

Two lessons learned at Concordia University

  • Listen to your friends, mentors and colleagues: learning is a collaborative experience.
  • Be patient with yourself and don’t give up: it might be painful at times, but learning is a process. Also, meditation is great.

Next great goal

  • Hopefully, finding a job! I want to teach again.

Advice for future grads

  • Learning doesn’t stop at graduation: read about the struggles faced by your classmates and get involved. Use your position of power for the greater good.

Véronique Hamel

Véronique Hamel

Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal
BA
Honours Anthropology

Véronique Hamel studied anthropology at Concordia from 2014 to 2018. She received the Faculty of Arts and Science Scholar Award for the academic years of 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. When she learned she was the recipient of the Governor General’s Silver Medal, awarded to the highest-ranking undergraduate student graduating from Concordia, she couldn’t believe it.

Three keys to a good education

  • Motivation: this is what will keep you going in your schooling and make you want to push further.
  • Support: your family, friends and surroundings will allow you to pass through difficult moments and will make you feel accomplished and valorized in your studies.
  • Time investment: there is no secret here — in order to achieve success, you have to allow enough time for your studies.

Two lessons learned at Concordia University

  • We learn as much — if not more — from conducting research as we do from going to our classes.
  • What takes the most time and is the most difficult is often also what is the most rewarding. We learn and grow so much through those experiences!

Next great goal

  • My ultimate goal is to teach my discipline, anthropology, at the college level. My goal in the meantime is to do a master’s degree in anthropology.

Advice for future grads

  • Make the most out of your classes — every reading, lecture, team project, paper and research assignment is an opportunity to learn and to become better in your field of study and beyond.

Suvendu Samanta

Suvendu Samanta

Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal
PhD
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Suvendu Samanta received the prestigious ENCS Entrance Scholarship (2016-18) and Concordia Merit Scholarship (2017) during his doctoral studies. His thesis was on the analysis and design of current-fed wireless inductive power transfer systems. He has studied and proposed several power converter topologies in this research area, specifically for electric vehicle application. This research work is published in seven Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) transactions and 10 conference papers. One of his transactions received a Best Paper Award from IEEE.

Three keys to a good education

  • Having an inspiring supervisor or teacher.
  • Pursue higher studies which could improve the welfare of humanity. 
  • Focus on goals that you can achieve within your lifestyle, while keeping faith in the Almighty.

Two lessons learned at Concordia University

  • I learned the importance of excellent cooperation among faculty members and students in my research group.
  • Hard work with a focused mind leads to success, sooner or later.

Next great goal

  • To become a professor in an institute where research and teaching are equally strong and valued.

Advice for future grads

  • Study and work for benevolent causes and lead a balanced life. Success will come gradually.

Omar Abdul Wahab

Omar Abdul Wahab

Valedictorian
PhD
Information and Systems Engineering

Omar Abdul Wahab defended his PhD thesis in November 2017 in information and systems engineering. In it, he designed and implemented several artificial intelligence techniques to improve the security and performance of cloud computing systems. As of January 2019, he will be joining the Université du Québec en Outaouais as a new faculty member.

Three keys to a good education

  • Be passionate about everything you do.
  • Have faith in yourself and don’t let others set your limits.
  • Don’t stay in the laboratory! Go out, participate in various events and diversify your experience.

Two lessons learned at Concordia University

  • Building a good reputation among your colleagues is as important as building a good CV.
  • Making connections pays off.

Next great goal

  • To be a good supervisor! I will be a faculty member very soon.

Advice for future grads

  • Making time for leisure activities is essential to academic success.


Find out about
Concordia’s fall 2018 convocation ceremonies.

 



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