Helena Almeida and Anvesha Dwivedi receive 2021 Outstanding Leader in the Faculty of Arts Award



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Helena Almeida and Anvesha Dwivedi, recipients of the 2021 Outstanding Leader in the Faculty of Arts award.

Helena Almeida and Anvesha Dwivedi have each received the 2021 Outstanding Leader in the Faculty of Arts award for their considerable dedication and achievement within the Faculty of Arts.


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Helena Almeida

Hometown: Brasilia, Brazil

Program of Study: Honours in English Literature, Major in Psychology

UBC Awards: Wesbrook Scholar, Martha C. Piper Arts Award in Global Citizenship, Margaret Lawrence Scholarship in Arts, Katherine Brearley Arts Scholarship, Wallace and Ethel Wilson Scholarship, William and Nona Heaslip Scholarship, Robert and Kazuko Barker Award, Trek Excellence Scholarship, International Leader of Tomorrow Award

UBC Affiliations: UBC English Students’ Association

How can we connect with you?
LinkedIn

Why did you choose your academic program of study?

I love literature. I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was seven, and as I grew up discovered how entrancing literary analysis is. I was drawn to the English Literature Honours program specifically because it allows for great depth and breadth of study, including multiple seminars and a thesis. I joined the program in my second year, and it has been wonderful to be a part of a cohort of such driven and inspiring people.

The psychology part of my degree was less of a longstanding plan. I took lots of different courses in my first year—everything from English and psychology to Latin (which I loved and ended up studying for two years), linguistics, creative writing, and Greco-Roman mythology. I was thrilled by the vastness of possibilities at university and wanted to explore as much as I could. Turned out I am fascinated by psychology, so I decided to take it as a second major, and I am glad I did because it has equipped me with knowledge valuable to both my life and my literary studies.

What are some of the meaningful experiences you’ve had at UBC?

I have had so many wonderful experiences at UBC! One of the most meaningful has been creating and directing the Writing Memories Society, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the stories and wisdom of seniors while fostering cross-generational connections and providing students with educational and artistic opportunities. When I first had the idea, I reached out to one of my best friends and we started the project in the beginning of our second year. Since then, Writing Memories has grown so far beyond what I could have imagined, allowing me to bring my education in English Literature and psychology to bear on my passion for community-building.

Being part of the English Students’ Association (ESA) has also been very important to me. The club has been a great way to get to know other students and feel part of the UBC English community. In my last year as an undergraduate, I joined the exec team as the ESA President, which has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my time at UBC. We have carried on ESA traditions in the online world and introduced many new initiatives, such as the virtual performance of a play written by a fellow English student, a grad school application advice session, and a careers panel. In these strange and isolating times, the ESA has given me a chance to connect with so many students, as well as with faculty and alumni. Working alongside such a dedicated and enthusiastic group of execs has been a great joy.


“To me being a leader, both in the UBC Arts community and in the world, means taking responsibility. There is the responsibility of taking initiative, reaching out to other people, turning ideas into actions, and daring to believe that, uncertain as it all may be, trying is worthwhile.”
2021 Outstanding Leader in the Faculty of Arts

What’s an important life lesson that your involvement activities have taught you?

All of my activities have, in different ways, pointed to the importance of relationships. Relationships are the heart of Writing Memories. It’s a project that only exists because people have come together to tell and write life stories, and the narratives themselves inspire and celebrate human connection. All of my ESA experiences have also been based on reaching out to different people—fellow students, professors, and alumni—and working collaboratively.

Maybe it is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I value relationships. There are few things I enjoy more than talking to people. But my engagement with these various activities played an important role in helping me realize how much I really care about connection and empathy, as well as how intrigued I am by these concepts. Such realizations, in turn, have shaped my academic development—empathy is the focus of my Honours thesis and I expect it will remain one of my main greatest interests in literature and life alike.

You recently received a 2021 Outstanding Leader Award. What does it mean to be a great Arts student leader?

To me being a leader, both in the UBC Arts community and in the world, means taking responsibility. There is the responsibility of taking initiative, reaching out to other people, turning ideas into actions, and daring to believe that, uncertain as it all may be, trying is worthwhile. And there is the responsibility of facing difficulties when they come, taking it upon ourselves to find solutions and upholding the commitments we make to others and to our own values.

I didn’t set out with these ideas in mind, but my volunteer and academic involvement over the past several years, particularly when I encountered challenges, prompted me to reflect about leadership and about how I want to act in a society with so many issues and so many possibilities. It is a tremendous honour to receive this award.

What are the top three things that every Arts student should try before they graduate?

  1. Apply for things you don’t think you’ll get. I wouldn’t advise blindly taking risks when the consequences may be severe, but if the only risk is to your pride, then I believe the chance of gaining extraordinary opportunities is absolutely worth the peril of rejection. I’ve long lost count of how many things I have applied for during my UBC years. Many of them, I didn’t get, but the disappointment passes quickly enough, and the ones I did get have shaped my experiences and stayed in my memory.
  1. Get involved in the UBC student life. From student societies to academic and research endeavours, to artistic, athletic, and philanthropic realms, to a myriad of other facets of life, there is so much you can be a part of here and such incredible friends you can find along the way. And if your imagination nudges you to want something that doesn’t yet exist, don’t be afraid to create it yourself.
  1. Talk to your professors. They may seem intimidating and it can feel difficult to know what to say in office hours, but in my experience most professors are not aliens from foreign planets. Really, they are usually open—and happy—to talk to students, would like to help us in our academic journey, and have fascinating knowledge to share. I owe so, so much to the support and encouragement I have received from my professors.

What’s next for you?

I’m starting an MA in English Literature in the fall! I would like to pursue a career in academia and to continue writing creatively. My community involvement is also incredibly important to me. I am fascinated by the power of stories to connect us and hope to bring my education to bear on my passion for community-building.


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Anvesha Dwivedi

Hometown: Noida, India

Program of Study: International Economics

UBC Awards: Faculty of Arts International Student Scholarship, Dean’s Honour Roll, Trek Excellence Scholarship

UBC Affiliations: UBC Orientations, UBC Peer Programs, Arts Undergraduate Society,Vancouver School of Economics, UBC Vancouver Summer Program, UBC SEEDS Program, UBC Strategy Initiative Club

How can we connect with you?
LinkedIn

Why did you choose your academic program of study?

Since childhood, I was always curious as to why some countries are poor and others rich. I wondered if individual efforts could bring about a significant change to make our societies more equitable. This motivated me to move across the world to pursue a Bachelor’s in International Economics (BIE).

The BIE program attracted me the most as it is a culmination of different branches of economics and business, offering numerous opportunities for experiential learning.

What are some of the meaningful experiences you’ve had at UBC?

Leadership and interpersonal skills are the two aspects of my personality that got enhanced manifold during my memorable years at UBC. Being involved with UBC Orientations and Peer Programs, participating in different clubs and giving back to the community through involvement in pro-bono projects gave me a chance to utilize my potential and in turn led to personal growth as a student and a leader. These were just a few invaluable experiences that I will cherish forever.


“Being an Arts student leader prepared me to embark a new journey into the professional world with enthusiasm and renewed confidence.”
2021 Outstanding Leader in the Faculty of Arts

What’s an important life lesson that your involvement activities have taught you?

To never give up and never get deterred by minor obstacles is the most important lesson I learned. Keeping an open mind towards changing circumstances and giving my best to all my activities kept me going with high spirits.

You recently received a 2021 Outstanding Leader Award. What does it mean to be a great Arts student leader?

Collaborating with others to produce an outcome that benefits the student community is the true essence of being an Arts student leader. Opening doors to wonderful experiences where you and your peers can grow simultaneously is something that I thoroughly valued. Being an Arts student leader prepared me to embark a new journey into the professional world with enthusiasm and renewed confidence.

What are the top three things that every Arts student should try before they graduate?

  1. Take part in one of the clubs or activities UBC has to offer. This helps you rejuvenate, relax and find new passions!
  1. Participate in the Arts Co-op program to acquire professional working experience while allowing yourself to apply concepts learned in the classroom to solve real world challenges.
  1. Explore the cultural and geographical diversity at the UBC campus and Vancouver as a whole.

What’s next for you?

After my graduation, I’ll be joining PwC Canada as an Associate within the firm’s Management Consulting practice. I’m thrilled to apply my learnings at UBC to my field of work and my life in totality.


 



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