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‘I’m still learning, and I don’t think that will ever change’

Spring 2021 Concordia non-academic medal recipients and a Governor General’s Academic Medal winner look back on their most important moments at the university.
June 10, 2021
By Tom Peacock

Young, smiling woman with long dark-blonde hair, red lipstick and a black short-sleeved top. Lori Mitchell: "I am excited to take what I have learned at Concordia and apply it in my future studies and career."

Concordians are coming together virtually to recognize the Class of 2021 during a special virtual experience called CU Celebrate.

Graduates can’t gather in-person for a convocation ceremony just yet, so the university is continuing to use an online format to commemorate the achievements of its graduates.

Leading up to the virtual celebration, award-winning students agreed to share their formative learning experiences from their time at Concordia.

Read on to find out what they learned, and what they wish to share with future grads.

Lori Mitchell

BA Honours, Psychology, Minor in Linguistics
Governor General's Academic Silver Medal
Rytsa Tobias Memorial Medal

In my four years at Concordia, I met many people along the way who supported me in the pursuit of my goals. I am grateful for all of my peers, professors, courses, and networking events that have inspired me and helped me grow.

Most importantly, joining the Concordia Infant Research Laboratory has been one of the most enriching experiences of my undergraduate degree. For over two years, this lab has taught me so much about psychology, infant research and bilingualism, while also showing me the true meaning of collaboration. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this team. I am excited to take what I have learned at Concordia and apply it in my future graduate studies and career.

Divya Aery Photo: Kai Washer Productions

Divya Aery

BComm, Finance
Dean of Students Medal

I’m incredibly honoured to be receiving the Dean of Students Medal at Concordia. I will never forget the last three years at Concordia, filled with memories that allowed me to grow into the person I am today.

From organizing a citywide food drive with CASA Cares to competing in case competitions, every experience was an opportunity to challenge myself and learn.

The most formative learning experience I had was when I was the project director of Project Vive, a project that aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health at Concordia. I had to conduct interviews create my team, delegate tasks, manage the team and host the Don’t Bottle it Up fundraising event.

The event allowed me to open up about my mental health and create a safe and open space for Concordians to do the same. It taught me the importance of teamwork, communication, event planning and, most importantly, mental health. I’m forever grateful to Concordia and my professors, friends and family who supported me endlessly.

Adewunmi Ajike Photo: Voltaic

Adewunmi Ajike

BA Honours, Economics, Business and French
Malone Medal 

Two words truly summarize what I learned through my active involvement in Concordia’s student life: commitment and responsibility.

I was committed to having the value propositions and needs of Concordians at heart and that was reflective in my service to them. Also, fully taking on the responsibility that comes along with holding elected student positions. Specifically, ensuring that the trust Concordians have in me as a campus leader was not taken for granted, but used as the driving force to provide opportunities for the betterment and enhancement of their student life experience at Concordia, pre- and post-COVID-19.

Four years later, I can truly say that those lessons stemmed from being a Concordian at heart and I am excited to carry these lessons with me into the professional world!

Antonia Macris

Antonia Macris

MEnv, Environmental Assessment
Stanley G. French Medal

As a proud alumna (BA 17) and Concordian, I am honoured to be joining my spring 2021 graduating class with a Master of Environment.

Since 2014, Concordia has continuously allowed me to grow and learn from an inspiring and diverse community, providing me with experiences that have enriched all aspects of my academic, professional and personal life.

Having the privilege to have worked and volunteered with multiple on-campus departments and student associations has given me with the most formative learning experience. I am committed to giving back in support of Concordia’s mission and excited to take with me this sense of belonging as I proudly continue on to complete my third degree as a Concordian, an MA in Educational Technology.

Thank you, Concordia, for allowing me to explore my interests and motivating me to embark on a path of lifelong learning. To my fellow graduates of the Class of 2021: keep on learning, be curious, explore all your interests and remember that the most rewarding learning journey cannot be linear. Dare to be bold, follow your passions and keep on growing.

Akshay Grover Photo: Ginata Pagul

Akshay Grover

BA, Communication Studies
O’Brien Medal

Something I’ve learned with my projects over the many years is that when they all end, the ending is never as gratifying as actually being a part of it — the day-to-day work that goes into realizing your project.

I’m learning to fall in love with that process rather than focusing on the end goal because it’s in the “process” where we actually spend most of our time. I’ve learned a lot over the years from running across the country with my friends, to my documentary work, and everything in-between — but I’m still learning, and I don’t think that will ever change!

Isaiah Joyner Photo: Heather Tyrrell @h.a.t photography

Isaiah Joyner

BComm, Finance
Member of the Institute for Co-operative Education
Concordia Medal recipient

 Having done five great years at Concordia, with things like Co-op, CASAJMSB, CSU and so many classes under my belt, it is ironic that my greatest memory comes from before I was a Concordia student.

Back in 2015, I was a youth animator for a community centre called Tyndale St-Georges. While there, one of my mentors, Dave McKenzie, ran the Young CEO program through the John Molson School of Business.

For three days, the 15 kids, my fellow animator and I were shown the various opportunities that Concordia had to offer. It was at this very workshop on the sixth floor of the John Molson Building (MB), where I knew for certain that I wanted to go to Concordia to study business, join the Co-op Program, and get involved in the Concordia community. Today, looking back, I have accomplished all those things and have no regrets!

Samantha Leger

Samantha Leger

BFA, Studio Arts, Psychology
Provost's Medal for Outstanding Achievement

During my years at Concordia, I’ve learned that dedication, kindness and hard work can unlock opportunities you’d never even considered.

In my second year I enrolled in a special topics drawing class taught by François Morelli and Cynthia Hammond. The conceptual approach to drawing explored in the class was outside my comfort zone but my commitment to learning and trying new things did not go unnoticed.

It led to the development of a valuable professional and personal relationship with Cynthia, who has helped me discover a variety of pursuits I didn’t know I was interested in.

I’ve learned that saying yes to things that scare you and staying open to new possibilities that aren’t “part of the plan” can lead to the most meaningful experiences.

Emanuelle Dufour Photo: © Lisa Graves/Concordia University

Emanuelle Dufour

PhD, Art Education
Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal

Ma rencontre avec le Département d’éducation artistique de l’Université Concordia s’est avérée décisive dans mon parcours. Non seulement mon projet doctoral de bande dessinée décoloniale fut-il accueilli avec grand enthousiasme, mais je pus bénéficier de l’expertise et de l’audace de l’établissement et du Centre d’histoire orale et de récits numérisés en matière de recherche-création.

Plus de six années plus tard, je ne peux que me féliciter d’avoir déposé mon projet au sein de cette communauté d’apprentissage qui m’a permis d’approfondir une approche interdisciplinaire, réflexive et relationnelle, tout en occasionnant des rencontres marquantes avec d’autres issu.e.s de différents univers culturels et investi.e.s dans des projets aussi novateurs qu’inspirants. Je pus ainsi faire la rencontre de nouvelles postures théoriques, méthodologiques et pédagogiques aussi diversifiées que décloisonnées qui eurent une incidence importante sur ma propre réflexion.

Je tiens en terminant à souligner l’inestimable apport de l’Institution Kiuna ainsi que des contributeurs et contributrices autochtones et allochtones de la bande dessinée dont la confiance, l’amitié et la générosité constituent le véritable cœur du projet.

Read more Concordia stories from the Class of 2021. Join Concordians to honour the graduates virtually at
CU Celebrate on June 17, starting at 12 p.m. ET.



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