Costa Rica beckons to York alumna

Left: York alumna Anne-Marie Gagnon (right) with VP Students & Alumni Bonnie Neuman, during a congratulatory reception at York

Despite the wintry weather these days, Anne-Marie Gagnon (BA ’01) is happy and smiling. So would you be, if you’d won a trip to Costa Rica.

A business development coordinator with Export Development Canada, Gagnon entered York’s online market-research project contest and hit the jackpot. She was declared the grand prize winner of a two-week trip for two to the Central American country of Costa Rica, and is making plans to travel there in December 2004.

Gagnon, whose York degree is in international studies, said one of her most “valued experiences” at the University was the 1999 international student exchange program which gave her the opportunity to study for one year in Australia. “This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support I had received from several staff members and professors.”

Now York is once again giving Gagnon the chance to travel. “I was so excited about the win that I couldn’t sleep,” she said.

“Anne-Marie is just thrilled to be the winner of the grand prize in this fall’s market research project, offered with the support of York’s alumni travel partner, Odyssey Learning,” said VP Students & Alumni Bonnie Neuman, who talked to the winner at a reception in Gagnon’s honour. “She told me how much she appreciated her York experience.”

Right: Some of the sights Gagnon might see in Costa Rica

Gagnon was among nearly 2,000 young alumni who entered the contest and answered a lengthy questionnaire about their priorities for services, programs and events. York’s new director of alumni, Naguib Gouda, said, “This information will help York’s Alumni Office determine how best to connect York alumni with their alma mater.”

Neuman said that, from a range of 13 choices, alumni told York, via the survey, what the four priorities for alumni services at the University should be. Here is what they said, in their order of priority:

  • Regular updates and news about York (especially the programs and faculty members they knew)
  • Career development opportunities and networking for alumni
  • Information and access to York non-credit courses and workshops
  • Discounts and special offers (affinity services via partners)