Many students say that the people they met and the experiences they had by getting actively involved in campus life are as important to their university experience and future career as the courses on their transcripts. Collaboration, problem-solving and communication are just a few of the desirable soft skills that can be acquired though extracurricular activities.
York University and the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) provide many opportunities to gain this sort of experience on campus, from student leadership councils and mentorships to clubs for virtually every interest, collaborative events and more.
Winters College, the University community dedicated to AMPD and Communications Studies students, held an informal ceremony preceding Spring Convocation on June 20 to recognize some of current students and members of the graduating class of 2016 who stood out as leaders and made a real impact on the student experience.
Interim Master, Professor Peter McKinnon welcomed the students and their family and friends. “It is my honour to be surrounded by such bright and determined young people as this community of students in AMPD and Winters College,” he said. “Thank you so much for being active and involved. The connections and contributions you’ve made here have made everyone’s university experience better.”
The Winters Fellows Scholarship, a cash award funded by the college fellows and presented to students with high academic standing and strong ties to the college community, was presented to Cheryll Fortades, Danielle Leigh Taylor and Clara Ziane.
Taylor, who will be graduating from Theatre Studies this fall, has worked in the Winters College Master’s Office for the last three years. “It’s been such a cool job for me to get experience planning events and developing an audience. It helped me make a lot of connections outside of my program,” she said.
Another cash prize, the Outstanding Contribution to College Life Award, was presented to Queenie (Kwan Yee) Chu, Amber Ghosh and Sebastien Lalonde.
Chu, who has just graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts, served as volunteer curator of the Eleanor Winters Art Gallery and co-president of the Visual Arts Student Association over the past year, and worked closely with the Master’s office.
“These experiences made me so much more confident,” she said. “When I started university I thought I would become an art teacher, but now I feel more like a business person than an educator. I want to pursue a career in real estate where I can apply my artistic eye and my new-found communication skills. I feel my university experience has been the perfect preparation for my next steps in life.”
Seven more students were recognized: Marlie Amanda Keresturi received the Outstanding Contribution to Residence Life Award, Crystal Finn-Dunn won the Winters College 50th Anniversary Award, and Citizenship Awards were presented to Jeffrey Collins, William Cook, Joanne Funnell, Lindsay Keenan and Jill Mogado.
Funnell, who is going into her fifth year of studies pursuing concurrent degrees in education and visual arts, was happy to share the ceremony with her parents, who took a break from work to attend.
When asked what volunteer roles she’s taken on that really stood out for her, Frosh Week immediately came to mind. “I really enjoy helping new students transition to York,” Funnell said. “I’m also a member of the Winters Community Art Club, which brings high school and elementary school students to campus for various art workshops. I love working with youth. It’s direct preparation for the career track I’m on, and great volunteer experience for my resume.”
Winters College Council President Angelica Grospe, a communications student in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, assisted McKinnon in the ceremony.
“The recipients represent the college so well, and I’m very proud to have been a part of the awards presentation,” Grospe said.