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Date: June 07, 2012

Spring Convocation: Meet the class of 2012

The UVic Alumni Association will welcome its newest members next week when 3,358 graduates receive degrees, diplomas and certificates at the University of Victoria’s spring convocation. There will be nine ceremonies in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium, beginning at 2:30 p.m. June 11 and followed by daily ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from June 12 through June 15.

A list of the medalists for top academic achievement this year is available here:  http://ring.uvic.ca/news/convocation-2012.

Here are brief biographies of some of the members of the Class of 2012:

Frances Backhouse, Master of Fine Arts (Writing), defends the status of the Canadian beaver as a national symbol in her thesis. “I see the beaver as something where biology and history intersect,” she says. “So I’m looking at the beaver as a history maker, a landscape shaper and a national symbol.” Backhouse is a past winner of the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for Children of the Klondike.

David Bartle, Master of Science (Computer Science), has developed video games to assist therapeutic interventions for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. “The data have so far shown small but statistically significant improvements,” he says. “The number one focus is just getting the kids engaged. It’s hard work and it’s not just playing, they have to really focus.”

Ann Brydle, Bachelor of Arts (English/Professional Writing), is a key member of UVic’s Uni 101 program of free, non-credit courses in the humanities and social sciences for learners who face economic or social barriers to post‐secondary education. “Education is not a privilege,” she says. “It is a right we all have.”

Assem Dandashly, Doctor of Philosophy (Political Science), developed his interest in politics growing up in Lebanon. “Being raised in such an environment and having all the political activities going on, you get interested in the political situation, and in public administration,” he says. His doctoral research examined the transition that Poland and other countries in Central Europe took towards joining the European Union, with a focus on the euro.

Laura Mitic, Bachelor of Arts (History/Environmental Studies), managed to balance her studies, five seasons with the Vikes track and cross-country team, and performances with the emerging Victoria band Carmanah. “There would be days when I would get up early to go to class, go straight to practice and then I would have a gig at night and not get home till 3 a.m.,” she remembers.

Jolly Nyeko, Doctor of Philosophy (Child and Youth Care), founded Action for Children, a non-profit group in Uganda that cares for more than 20,000 children and families vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and poverty. Even after a 30-year career, she’s found her PhD studies have helped her in her work with young people. “I think faster, find solutions faster and I’ve been able to work quickly in discussions to find alternatives,” she says.

Mila Shah, Juris Doctor (Law), is graduating at the top of her class and in 2013-14 will be clerking for Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin at the Supreme Court of Canada. Prof. Gerry Ferguson, who supported Shah’s application to the Supreme Court placement, says she “is the type of exceptional student who only comes along once every few years.”

Certificate in Aboriginal Language Revitalization. The first nine of a group of learners from the Northwest Territories is graduating, after taking the certificate program over the past two years in Yellowknife as part of an innovative partnership between UVic’s Department of Linguistics, Division of Continuing Studies, En'owkin Centre and Government of the Northwest Territories. At least two students will be in attendance at convocation. Since 2005, the certificate program itself has been offered through week-long intensive sessions in Penticton, UVic and in community settings.

Five honorary degrees, previously announced on May 29 (http://bit.ly/KaRQ2W), will also be presented.

Note: Members of the media are welcome to attend all UVic Convocation Ceremonies. An audio feed is available. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony. The ceremonies are also webcast at www.uvic.ca/resources/convocation/.

Media contacts:

Mike McNeney (Alumni Communications) at 250-721-7642 or mmcneney@uvic.ca

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