Recognizing Graduating Student Leaders in the Faculty of Arts



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Meet the inspiring students who are building communities in Arts, at the university and beyond. This year, we celebrate 95 students who have enthusiastically seized the diverse opportunities that UBC has to offer and demonstrated the amazing capacity our students have to improve their communities and the world.

Our student leaders represent 22 different fields of study within the field of Arts, ranging from speech sciences to film studies. They held senior positions in student associations like the UBC Alma Mater Society, the Arts Undergraduate Society and departmental student associations. They organized festivals like the UBC Pride Festival and Awoken Word, and have demonstrated service leadership through volunteering with programs like the Equity Ambassadors, the Global Ambassadors, the Arts Peer Academic Coaching Program and more.


Award Winners

Katja Sluga – International Relations
Receives Outstanding Leader in the Faculty of Arts award for her considerable dedication to creating development opportunities for students.

Daniela Gallegos – Political Science (Honours)
Receives Outstanding Leader in the UBC Community and Beyond award for her considerable dedication to enacting community change and creating momentum beyond our campus.

George Radner – Economics (Honours)
Receives Outstanding Leader in the UBC Community and Beyond award for his considerable dedication to enacting community change and creating momentum beyond our campus.

Ilerioluwa Okusi – Sociology
Receives Outstanding Leader in the UBC Community award for her dedication to building community and shaping positive, healthy campus cultures at UBC.


Award Nominees

We asked award nominees to share advice for incoming students, messages for their graduating peers, and any memorable moments from their UBC experience.

Katherine Ann Aquino – Cognitive Systems

What advice would you give to incoming UBC Arts students?

Make the most out of every opportunity you have in front of you! I regret not being able to Storm the Wall or go to Wreck Beach one last time. Don’t be afraid of failure or rejections. Your years at university will go by quicker than you think. Enjoy the opportunity to study abroad, join a club, and relish the knowledge of everyone around you.

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC?

Joining the Arts Undergraduate Society had the most impact on me during my time at UBC. I started off as a volunteer for one day but I ended up spending four years with the group, and I don’t regret a single second of it. It wasn’t just a way to become a better leader, but it also gave me a community where I felt I belonged.


Racheal Ayugi – International Relations

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC? 

Premiering the Afrocentrism Conference was the most significant involvement of my undergraduate years. The aim of the conference was to decolonize academia through the celebration of black scholarship. The conference was also a statement to our local community that much still needs to be done to holistically represent and critically engage with the histories and experiences of black people globally.


Dominique Bowden – Anthropology & Linguistics (Honours)

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC? 

Participating in undergraduate research was an opportunity that, to me, felt like the culmination of all my UBC accomplishments. In my thesis on midwifery and obstetric violence in rural Mexico, I was able to effectively and passionately use my academic knowledge to identify crucial gaps in anthropological theory. I am thankful for the collaboration, support and mentorship this project gave me! 

What message do you have for your graduating peers? 

It has been an incredible past five years. I am so thankful for the time I have been able to spend with all of you! It’s not a clear path ahead for most of us, including myself, but I am confident we will all find ways to contribute to our communities and continue learning through and beyond this pandemic. 


Akhil Dattani-Jobanputra – Geography (Human)

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC? 

My time at the Arts Undergraduate Society during my first two years of my undergrad had the biggest impact on me. Being included in such a diverse group led to me being challenged outside my comfort zone. This experience helped me become a better friend, leader and colleague throughout my time at UBC. 

What message do you have for your graduating peers? 

The only advice I could give to my graduating peers is advice I would give to myself. Don’t get caught up pursuing a lifestyle that takes away the joy of life. Pursue something that honours the essence of who you are. 


Suyesha Dutta – History and Modern European Studies

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC? 

In the past four years, I had the opportunity to conduct my own Student Directed Seminar, which was an immensely rewarding experience. My purpose as a co-facilitator was to encourage participation and listen in a meaningful and respectful way, allowing collaboration and creating space for other students to take charge. It taught me to be a more conscious and considerate human being. 


Paris Gappmayr – Speech Sciences (Honours)

What did you learn about yourself during your time at UBC? 

Too much to summarize in 400 characters! I learned to think critically; to form a hypothesis and test it, then analyze the data; to recognize patterns and reflect on them. I also learned to be a supportive friend; to build a life in a new city; to care for myself. But mostly I learned the value of education — to recognize my privilege and help share knowledge openly to encourage access for all. 

What message do you have for your graduating peers? 

During this time, it’s easy to lament about what was lost during the last few months of our semester. But we can also reflect on what we have learned about ourselves, our values and our habits during this time. We will come out of this stronger — sharing resources openly and supporting those who need it. We will carry this experience always, and we will work towards necessary change. 


Joanne Goldgewicht Nissyn – Psychology

What did you learn about yourself during your time at UBC? 

Opportunities will always be there! Push yourself to look for them and it will be rewarding. Find clubs you are interested in, look for opportunities to volunteer, or simply become friends with the person that sits next to you in class. I learned that pushing myself to seek new experiences would always teach me something new and would allow me to become a better version of myself. 

What message do you have for your graduating peers? 

We are going through crazy times. Don’t give up on yourself, don’t let rejection get to you. We are all unique and amazing and when it’s meant to be, your time will come. Remember that you can learn something from every experience, whether good or bad! Keep your head high and good luck to all! 


Tanya Griffiths – Spanish

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC?

One of the best ways to be a leader, I feel, is to show how you are similar to everyone else. Storytelling whilst being a Go Global Ambassador helped me to see how important connection is in the midst of leading others, and how beautifully diverse our community is. Even when it seems like students are alone in their struggles, relatability can alleviate the distress of disconnection.

What message do you have for your graduating peers?

Looking forward, I hope you do not fret because—as life has shown you and how life will continue to show you—you are capable of success. I know it feels daunting; but as I write this on my front porch, unemployed, feeling the sun bathe me with golden silk—I am at peace. Discomfort comes from uncertainty, and if you cannot believe in yourself right now, let me, a fellow graduate, believe in you.


Gabriela Llanos – International Relations & Spanish

What advice would you give to incoming UBC Arts students? 

My advice would be to take advantage of all the amazing academic and professional programs, clubs and extracurricular activities UBC has to offer. I highly recommend Arts Co-op, especially in this new economic climate. When it is safe to do so, I also urge students to study abroad, join clubs on-campus and participate in residence life/recreational sports events and programs! 

What did you learn about yourself during your time at UBC? 

Expectations can be the biggest burden you carry in university. Expectations motivated me to achieve but also led to many mental health issues that hindered my ability to be happy. In my final year, I finally learned to let go of these outlandish expectations, realizing I was my biggest critic, not my professors, friends or family. It was liberating! 


Kim-Sa Ngo – International Relations & Anthropology

What advice would you give to incoming UBC Arts students? 

Unexpected changes will happen, just embrace it! I came into UBC with a plan and graduated 5 years later with new goals and perspectives, but most importantly, zero regrets. UBC has so many opportunities and activities that you have never even heard of before. Take chances — it could lead to magical things! Being open to new opportunities led me to some of my greatest memories.


Roshni Pendse – International Economics

What advice would you give to incoming UBC Arts students? 

Say yes to everything. There is no better time to learn new things, go new places and meet new people. New opportunities usually pop up when you least expect them to, and they can lead to some of your favourite experiences — so go to that event, talk to that prof and join that club! 


Angelica Poversky – Media Studies

What advice would you give to incoming UBC Arts students? 

This is an amazing time of discovery and growth. From inside the classroom, to the whole world outside the classroom — stay open and resilient. 

What message do you have for your graduating peers? 

I hope we can take the knowledge and strength we have acquired during our time at UBC to show up with care and nurturance for our community. We all specialize now in understanding the deficits of knowledge — the work that needs to be done. Let’s keep our hearts raw, our fists up and our eyes glittering. With our skills and radical hope, nothing is impossible. 


Bailey Saguin – Psychology

What advice would you give to incoming UBC Arts students? 

Don’t walk onto campus with a predetermined major. Make sure you take the opportunity to take a variety of classes before making a decision of what you will dedicate the rest of your degree towards. You may have already decided on a major in Psychology before realizing that the Sociology 101 course you took may have sparked your interest. There is no rush, so take your time.

What did you learn about yourself during your time at UBC? 

I learned that I truly love working in a group environment. Through various employment and volunteer opportunities provided by UBC, I was able to work with a variety of students who came from different faculties, backgrounds and experiences. These experiences allowed me to gain further perspective while working with amazing people as we strove towards a common goal.


Natascha Schoepl – Political Science & International Relations (Honours)

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC? 

Directing a new digital marketing team for UBC Recreation Intramurals was a highlight of my undergrad. I got to lead a group of amazing people, develop valuable skills beyond my degree and create innovative content on a weekly basis to feature our 3000 league participants. The unconditional support from the REC community encouraged me to push boundaries and establish my own legacy in the program. 

What advice would you give to incoming UBC Arts students? 

GET INVOLVED! Although it may seem intimidating, joining clubs will build your community and enrich your university experience. The best thing about UBC is that there are so many diverse opportunities for every student, make sure to seize those moments and to create a unique path for yourself. TLDR; don’t be afraid to try out new things. Even if it’s not for you, it’ll be a great story to tell. 


John Segui – Social Work

 

What did you learn about yourself during your time at UBC? 

UBC has taught me to be critical about the world. To critically think is to be able to see the imperfections and inequalities in society that you have the opportunity to change. UBC was the time I learned my passion for researching and working towards the equity of LGBTQ2S+ communities. There is so much more work that needs to be done, and I can’t wait to be a positive force in that movement. 

What student leadership opportunity had the most impact on you during your time at UBC? 

Being a Wellness Peer has had the most impact during my time at UBC. It was a humbling experience to be able to sit down with a student and listen to their struggles in academics, mental health, relationships and life in general. Being a Wellness Peer has also taught me that it’s okay not to know every answer to people’s problems. It’s just as powerful to just simply let them know they are heard. 


Recognized Leaders Within the Arts Community

The below graduating students were recognized by their peers, advisors, mentors and professors for their extraordinary leadership within the Faculty of Arts.

Nushrat Anjum – BA Political Science

Shem Arce – Film Studies BFA

Casandra Avanzado – Cognitive Systems

Tamara Baunsgaard – Bachelor of International Economics

Julia Burnham – CDST/English

Craig Campbell – Spanish

Ian Carpick – Linguistics (Honours)

Patrisse Chan – Bachelor of International Economics

Ashley Chand – Speech Sciences

Laura Chen – Economics

Alex Chow – Sociology

Jessica Dai – Economics

Pam Denchev – Economics

Sabrina Dhalla – Bachelor of International Economics

Conor Doherty – Political Science

Catherine Douglas – International Relations

Alexandra Emery – Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice

Isaac Fairbairn – English

Emily Fuchs – Media Studies

Kat Garvin – Political Science & German

Rishabh Gunvante – History & International Relations

Alyssa Han – Sociology

Hannah Harris – MEST & History

Emily Henderson – Anthropology

Ariana Hernandez – Speech Sciences

Kristine Ho – English Literature & Psychology

Rosemary Hu – Speech Sciences

Feyannie Wei-Ting Hung – Film Production

Hiro Ito – Psychology

Ragini Jain – Bachelor of International Economics

Syad Khan – Bachelor of International Economics

Junsoo Kim – International Relations

Mahtab Laghaei – Gender, Race, Sexuality, & Social Justice

Juliana Lee – Linguistics

Sanghyun Lee – Bachelor of International Economics

Emily Leung – Human Geography (Honours)

Angelina Lloy – Linguistics (Honours)

Elisha Lucero – Cognitive Systems Program

Aidan Lunny – Political Science & Philosophy

Francesco Luraschi  Bachelor of International Economics

Ogulsheker Mammetgurbanova – Asian Area Studies & History

Hali McLennan – Social Work

Angela Nguyen – Political Science (Law & Society Minor)

Lisa Nguyen – Speech Sciences

Lihua Nie – Bachelor of International Economics

Thomas O’Donnell – Political Science

Gautier Parthon de Von – International Relations & Political Science

Isabelle Rabideau – Bachelor of International Economics

Kyoungmin Roh – International Relations

Darian Russo – Political Science

Vinu Samarasekera – Bachelor of International Economics

Ashley Samsone – Classical, Near Eastern & Religious Studies

Gaurav Sandhar – Political Science

Christina Sen – Speech Sciences

Will Shelling – Political Science

Li Xin Shi – Asian Language and Culture

Gavina Sian – Speech Sciences

Mina Sidhu – Economics

Alexandra (Aly) Slobodov – International Relations (Russian Minor)

Alexandra Son – Political Science

Sugyeong Son – Asian Studies (Chinese Language & Culture)

Brandon Southern – Bachelor of International Economics

Dani Stancer – Sociology & Human Geography

Neha Sree Tadepalli – Political Science

Ashley Tanaka – Political Science & Economics

Felicia Tong – Speech Sciences

Milica Vancic – Political Science & International Relations

Shrey Verma – Bachelor of International Economics

Ziyu Wang – Linguistics

Erin Clarke Woodell – Bachelor of International Economics

Christine Xiong – English Language and Literatures (Honours)

Kaan Yolsever – Bachelor of International Economics

Arian Zand