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‘My experiences equipped me with the skills and confidence to succeed’

Concordia great grads share what they’ve learned during their time at the university
May 23, 2024

Students from Concordia’s four faculties and the School of Graduate Studies will soon cross the stage at the spring 2024 convocation ceremonies. More than 6,000 are eligible to receive their diplomas on June 4, 5 and 6 in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Montreal’s Place des Arts.

Nine new honorands, including an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, a NASA engineer turned lawyer and a leading climate change scientist, will address the graduating class.

Leading up to the long-awaited celebration, nine graduates from the 2024 class have shared some of their memorable moments at Concordia. Read their stories below.

Smiling young woman with long, dark hair, wearing a striped blazer

Tharushi Rathnayaka

Bachelor of Engineering, Aerospace

Throughout the past four years, I’ve been involved with the Engineering and Computer Science Association and got the opportunity to represent engineering students. It’s been an honour to collaborate with a remarkable group of driven student leaders to advocate for our peers. I served as the vice-president of academic affairs for two years. I have been privileged to help bridge the gap between faculty and students, and I got to organize impactful events such as the Iron Ring Ceremony.

As an active member of the Women in Engineering society, I have dedicated myself to empowering and supporting aspiring female engineers, striving to pave the way for future generations and foster inclusivity within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community. This past year, I got to organize conferences to invite young women to experience student life at our university.

These opportunities have not only enriched my academic journey but have also given me a sense of fulfillment from giving back to the engineering student community. They serve as a constant reminder of the importance of seeking out volunteer opportunities to make a positive impact on others. I encourage all students to embrace extracurricular activities — it’s truly where the most rewarding experiences lie! I am filled with gratitude for the enriching experiences and invaluable opportunities given to me by Concordia.

Smiling young man with short, blond hair and a beard, wearing a checkered shirt

Nicolas Bergeron

Bachelor of Commerce, Accountancy (Co-op) and Management

After five years of an undergraduate degree, it’s hard to share just one memorable moment. That said, there’s one event that comes to mind where I really developed both personally and professionally.

In February 2024, I organized the Pride Games with the Concordia Stingers hockey teams. In collaboration with Queer Concordia and a range of community organizations, I achieved my goal: promoting inclusion in the sport. It’s hard to even describe how I felt after this beautiful weekend. It was simply magical to see the community gather to encourage our student athletes while showing that everyone has a place in our society and on our sports teams.

To close with a word of wisdom: be yourself and make a difference by getting involved in your community.

Smiling young woman with long, dark blonde hair, wearing a grey t-shirt

Catherine Starr-Prénovost

Concordia Council on Student Life Award recipient
Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

So much of the incredible community here at Concordia has shaped me to be the person I am today. I gained critical thinking and interpersonal insights from my psychology professors and I had emotionally rewarding and experiential-learning experiences volunteering with the Centre for the Arts in Human Development and Concordia Students’ Nightline.

My most formative experiences at Concordia have been working as a Welcome Crew mentor and Homeroom student facilitator. Both were meaningful opportunities to give back to the very community that has given me so much. Getting to know new students and having the chance to guide them in becoming a part of this community themselves has not only been rewarding, it has been truly fun.

Even more than that, the supervisors I’ve had the privilege of working with have been pillars in supporting my growth, both through the hard work they put into providing professional development for student employees and through the personal relationships they have taken the time to foster with me and my fellow student staff.

Smiling young man with curly blond hair, wearing a blue dress shirt, a blue tie and a blue blazer.

Joey Vézina

Bachelor of Engineering, Aerospace Engineering

During my time at Concordia, I had the privilege of being part of the SAE Aero Design team, a student society that designs planes for engineering competitions. When I joined the team, I never would have dreamed that the journey I was embarking on would turn out to be so remarkable. What started off as a bunch of clueless but eager aspiring engineers struggling to piece things together became a tightly knit family striving to innovate and excel on the international stage.

We were driven by our shared passion for making things fly. We spent countless hours and sleepless nights brainstorming, designing, manufacturing and looking for new ways to push the boundaries of our designs and overcome challenging obstacles. The thrill of seeing our planes soar through the sky was surpassed only by the lifelong friendships that were formed along the way. Both of our Aero Design teams placing on the podium was the cherry on top.

Smiling young man with short, black hair, a beard, and wearing a blue shirt, red tie and a dark blue blazer.

Derrick Attipoe

Delegate of the Year, John Molson Competition Committee
Bachelor of Commerce, Finance

Throughout my time at Concordia, competing in regional and international business case competitions was one of my most enriching experiences. Representing the school on these stages was a challenging yet rewarding opportunity that enabled me to showcase my ability to compete against renowned universities and even achieve podium positions around the world. The John Molson Competition Committee helped me hone my strategic thinking, in-depth research and communication skills while also allowing me to form lasting friendships.

My involvement with Management Consulting Concordia was equally impactful. This student-led association enabled me to engage in consulting projects, gaining practical experience and valuable connections. It was also an opportunity to contribute to student life by helping organize events that supported other students in advancing their professional careers.

These experiences, among others, prepared me for the workforce and equipped me with the skills and confidence needed to succeed. I am grateful for the amazing opportunities that I have been able to explore at Concordia!

Smiling woman with long strawberry blonde hair, wearing a dark blazer.

Stacey Dakin

Volunteer Recognition Award recipient
Master of Arts, Human Systems Intervention (HSI)

As I prepare for this culmination of my academic journey, I find myself reflecting on the diverse experiences that have shaped my time at Concordia. From a Bachelor of Arts in Human Relations in 2009 to this significant milestone, one aspect stands out as particularly transformative: the cohort model embraced by the HSI program.

The opportunity to learn, evolve and face uncertainty alongside a diverse group of peers has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. The program’s emphasis on practical application and real-world testing of theoretical concepts has provided me with a dynamic and enriching educational experience.

Concordia’s unwavering dedication to fostering collaborative and experiential learning environments has undeniably played a pivotal role in shaping me into the professional I am today. I’m equipped with both theoretical expertise and practical wisdom to navigate the complexities of my field with confidence.

Smiling young woman with shoulder-length dark hair, glasses, and a black dress with small white polka dots.

Christina Lee

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Film Studies and Professional Writing

I have acquired numerous insights during my time as a Concordia student, but one of the most transformative learning experiences was my role as a research assistant. Encouraged by one of my instructors, I applied for the Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Award (CUSRA) and was honoured to join an exceptional research team led by Rosanna Maule. The project focused on feminist and women’s film organizations established between the 1970s and the early 1980s in Western Europe and North America.

This opportunity not only enhanced my research skills but also facilitated my growth as a team player, allowing me to collaborate with highly skilled academics. I particularly felt a sense of gratification and fulfillment when participating in the CUSRA poster presentation and ACFAS congress. This is one of the highlights of my academic journey since I had the chance to meet passionate scholars and further develop my capabilities as a researcher.

Smiling man with short, dark hair, a beard, and wearing a yellow button-down shirt. Photo: Snap Photo Studio Montreal

Joshua Castillo

Bachelor of Engineering, Computer Engineering

The mark of a leader is having the heart of a servant.

My time at Concordia was enriched by my experience with InterVarsity, a faith-based student club where I found peers committed to cultivating a sense of home and community. Activities ranged from distributing small, encouraging care packages at the Library during finals season to hosting weekly English- and French-language conversation groups for inspiring confidence in international students.

InterVarsity has urban partnerships with local shelters and organizations like Innovation Jeunes, promoting solidarity markets, urban agriculture and community development. Through this experience, I came to understand that leadership requires a profound attentiveness to the needs of my surroundings, demonstrated through active listening, empathy and selflessness.

I look forward to how my experience at Concordia will inform the way I continue to seek the welfare of the city and open new depths in my understanding of the engineer’s mandate to protect the public.

Smiling young woman with shoulder-length curly hair, dark-rimmed glasses, and wearing a pale patterned shirt.

Sydnie Baynes

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Film Animation

During my enriching studies at Concordia, I immersed myself in collaborative endeavours with multiple non-profit organizations. These partnerships provided a platform to extend the enchantment of animation to diverse community cohorts. Among the highlights of this journey was organizing bespoke animation workshops tailored for elementary school students, a memory etched with the sheer joy of igniting youthful imaginations.

This served as a poignant reminder of animation’s transformative power in narrative expression, reigniting the flames of my passion for this medium. Guided by the expertise of luminaries such as Luigi Allemano, Shira Avni and Jean Théberge, my journey as an animator gained invaluable direction and depth. Their mentorship not only refined my technical prowess but also cultivated a profound appreciation for the intricate nuances of animation as an art form.

For more information, visit
Concordia’s Graduation and Convocation website.


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