‘Shy’ student takes home top honour from York

Despite being involved through her University’s student union, senate and various communities and clubs, York University’s Murray G. Ross Award winner Jaclyn Volkhammer [BA Hons. ’11] considers herself a shy individual, wrote YorkRegion.com July 7.

"I’m shy by nature. I’ve never been scared to get involved in things, but I’m shy about sharing my accomplishments or personal stuff, it makes me feel awkward," said Volkhammer.

Having just completed a double major in political science and environmental and health studies, Volkhammer was presented with what is considered a top honour for graduating, undergraduate students.

The award recognizes academic distinction and notable contributions to campus life; Volkhammer spent the past four school years living in residence at York University’s bilingual Glendon campus.

Along with all of her school commitments outside of the classroom, inside the lecture hall, the former Langstaff Secondary School French immersion student was able to maintain marks of As and A-pluses. "It can feel non-stop at times, but I find participation like this brings a lot more to student life, it’s much more fun," she added, stating by no means was she out to win the prestigious honour.

"The four years of experiences and education I have had here mean the most to me," she added.

Volkhammer will spend the next two years on a master’s degree and is spending her summer working as a camp supervisor at a town heritage camp. Following her education, the Richmond Hill student said she hopes to enter the world of public service and possibly establish a career in government or diplomacy. "I think studying qualities like leadership and the environment will still be very useful in the future. I think I will be able to help," she said.

Parkdale inspires Fringe Festival play by resident

Luis Fernandes‘ Fringe Festival production P-Dale is a heist comedy with humour and absurdity in its scenes, but beyond that, the writer said it does present a social commentary on the area he calls home, wrote InsideToronto.com July 7.

Fernandes [BFA Spec. Hons. ’05] studied theatre ensemble at York University [Faculty of Fine Arts] and has a background in making new works. After finishing school he was in a comedy group called Stag Nation, which presented comedic plays. After Stag Nation he worked with Column 13 Actors on more hard-hitting plays.

"What is interesting about this play is it is an amalgamation of my two backgrounds," he explained. "It is a comedy, but it is definitely a hardcore comedy: the language is strong, the situations are strong and the characters, although comedic, are not playing for laughs."

The play is presented by Unit 102 Collective, a Parkdale-based theatre group, which Fernandes founded in 2009 and operates out of a space on Noble Street.  P-Dale is showing at Theatre Passe Muraille during the annual Toronto Fringe Festival.

My job could be your life: Christopher Bird of Wise Law Office

Osgoode grad Christopher Bird [JD ’10], an articling student at Wise Law Office, was interviewed about his job by TheGridTO.com July 7.

Q: What are some important qualities or characteristics for someone in law to have?

A: You have to like to read, because you will read a lot. When I first thought about law school, I was 29 and thinking about changing careers [from the film industry]. I said to myself, “What can I do? Well, I can read, I can write and I can argue.” So I decided to take the LSATs. You should also be interested in how legal systems work, have some facility with writing and be able to research for a long period of time. You should be willing to work long hours – I’ve had weeks of working 12 hour days – but it’s not as bad if you aren’t at a big firm.

Q: What’s a big misconception about lawyers that you’ve discovered?

A: That lawyers just don’t care or are ethically amoral. The business is very focused on what the client wants and it’s based on the recognition that everyone deserves representation – the justice system doesn’t work otherwise. The job is about not judging the client and instead meeting their demands and representing them to the best of your ability.

Comedy of Errors uses the Bard’s best tricks

Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s most Three’s Company-esque play, says Scott Stephenson [MFA ’07], wrote Halifax’s Chronicle Herald July 8. "It’s like Jack Tripper with Mr. Roper always entering," the actor says of the play.

Stephenson plays Dromio of Ephesus, a servant with a twin who is also a servant named Dromio (of Syracuse) in the Shakespeare by the Sea production opening Friday at the Cambridge Battery in Point Pleasant Park.

Stephenson says he played Antipholus in the first Shakespeare play he ever did, while at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth. "I was amazed at how funny it was. There were a lot of puns. I couldn’t believe Shakespeare was that accessible to someone that young. Shakespeare is an amazing writer and he’s still relevant."

Stephenson, who holds an undergraduate degree in theatre from Dalhousie University and a master’s degree from York University [Faculty of Fine Arts], has been living in Toronto for the last six years. He’s happy to be back with Shakespeare by the Sea where he starred in Twelfth Night in 2001 and in Tempest, As You Like It and Alice in the HRM in 2002.

Fine arts grad is new curator at Art Gallery of Windsor

After a nationwide search, Art Gallery of Windsor has a new curator of contemporary art, wrote the Windsor Star July 8. She is Srimoyee Mitra [BA Hons. ’04, MA ’08], and holds a master’s degree in art history from Toronto’s York University [Faculty of Fine Arts].

Mitra has worked as a private art curator and recently held the position of program coordinator at Toronto’s South Asian Visual Arts Centre.