Student Medals & Honours
Governor General’s Academic Medal
The Governor General’s Academic Medal to reward scholastic merit was established in 1873 by the Earl of Dufferin who served as Governor General of Canada from 1872 to 1878. The Silver Medal is awarded to the Honours student with the highest academic standing on graduation in the Bachelor’s degree program. The Gold Medal is awarded to the student with the highest academic standing on graduation in the Master’s and Doctoral degree programs.
Deborah (Debbie) Jenkins
Ph.D. Environmental & Life Sciences
Governor-General's Gold Medal
“Through my research and community initiatives, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Inuit in the Canadian Arctic as well as local First Nation Elders and leaders – it has been an immense privilege.”
A global student, Debbie Jenkins has traveled throughout the Arctic and across the Atlantic to hone her research and analytical skills in wildlife ecology and conservation biology – Arctic island-dwelling caribou and muskoxen her focus.
Debbie’s experiences at Trent are indicative of the robust mentorship opportunities that exist in the Environmental and Life Sciences graduate programs. She chose to complete her Ph.D. under the co-supervision of Dr. James Schaefer, a respected research scientist and leader in conservation biology and science communication, and Dr. Nicolas Lecomte, an authority in Arctic ecology and Canadian research chair in Polar and Boreal Studies at Moncton University. “Their expertise in ungulate biology and Arctic ecosystems was a great match,” shares Debbie.
Debbie also had opportunities to take the lead, teaching Conservation Biology, working as a teaching assistant, and co-leading Bio Blitz events across campus. She engaged broadly with Peterborough’s community of “forward thinkers and doers,” and advanced ideas and action on biodiversity conservation through multiple community initiatives (including the student-led Biodiversity Monitoring Program at Trent and Imagine-the-Marsh conservation initiatives in her adopted home of Lakefield, ON).
Among her extensive list of awards and scholarships, Debbie was the recipient of the 3M National Student Fellowship, ESRI Canada Fellowship and the Peterborough-Kawartha Women’s Leadership Award, as well as scholarships from both the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology.
What’s Next: Having now completed her Ph.D., Debbie is planning some well-earned paddling adventures in the north. ‘There’s no better place to consider postdoctoral positions and an exciting future in research,’ she shares.
Jennifer Marie Ego ’18
B.Sc. Honours Psychology
Governor-General's Silver Medal
“I enjoyed every aspect of my time at Trent,” states Ms. Ego, whose favourite Trent experiences were completing a research practicum and an honours thesis. “My incredible supervisor mentored, challenged, and supported me at every stage of the process. These hands-on experiences galvanized my interest in emotion research, clarified my career goals, and fostered unprecedented personal and academic growth.”
Modeling a lifelong love of learning for her children, Jennifer is living the dream of earning an undergraduate degree. Learning to think critically and master foundation concepts, the mature student enjoyed an inclusive environment at Trent University that encouraged autonomy, collaboration, lively discussion, and creativity.
While at Trent, she volunteered with a local hospice and was honoured to offer palliative and bereavement support. Her academic success is recognized through many awards and scholarships, including several scientific prizes from Lady Eaton College, the Reginald R. Faryon Scholarship, the Winnifred Elizabeth Burton Scholarship, and the Psychology Third Year Prize.
What’s Next: Jennifer will continue volunteering with the hospice and will disseminate her undergraduate thesis research at a national psychology conference this summer. She is excited to begin a master's degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto (OISE).
The President’s Medal was established in 2009 to reward academic excellence and achievement at the graduate studies level. The winners are selected from four categories: Master of Arts (social sciences and humanities), Doctor of Philosophy (social sciences and humanities), Master of Science (sciences), and Doctor of Philosophy (sciences). The medal presented to these students was designed by local artist Jimson Bowler.
Cassandra Johannessen ’17
M.Sc. Environmental & Life Sciences
“Trent facilitated access to world-class instrumentation and renowned researchers that allowed me to establish myself as an early career scientist. Not only are the professors incredibly knowledgeable, but they are also very caring and friendly.”
Cassandra thinks big.
After transferring to Trent University to complete a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry, she pursued a master’s degree in Environmental & Life Sciences at an accelerated pace.
She was excited to access the most comprehensive mass spectrometry instrumentation in Canada at the Trent Water Quality Centre, and at the suggestion of Dr. Shegufa Shetranjiwalla-Merchant, transformed academic assignments into a peer-reviewed paper on a grand scale. She was an executive member of the Ontario Tech-Trent Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry group and the Trent Graduate Student Symposium.
Cassandra has received many prizes in Chemistry, scholarships, bursaries and undergraduate NSERC research awards, including the Edwin William Curtin & Irene Elizabeth Curtin Graduate Scholarship, the Canadian Society for Chemistry Silver Medal, R & R Laboratories Prize in Analytical Chemistry, Society of Chemistry Industry Student Merit Award and the Eileen Allemang Bursary.
What’s Next: Cassandra will pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Concordia University, supported by the NSERC’s Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral program and the Miriam Aaron Roland Graduate Fellowship. Her work on tire-derived air pollution will include a focus on identifying various exposure routes of the associated chemicals to humans in the urban environment.
Katherine Heigh-Roper ’15
English M.A. (Public Texts)
“As I decided to enter Public Texts, I was certain that Trent would continue to provide a learning environment where I felt supported, cared for and part of an academic community.”
Katherine has always loved the Trent University campus in her hometown. As a part-time student in the M.A. Public Texts program, she found compassionate faculty and a literature classmate who would ultimately become her wife.
Associate Professor Rob Winger provided encouragement that led her to discover the perfect found poetry muse for her M.A. project: highways signs along the Trans-Canada Highway. She won the P.K. Page-Irwin Poetry Prize in 2016, which confirmed her ability as a poet and boosted her confidence to submit work for publications and share it with audiences.
A fan of local trivia nights at Traill College, she also honed her poetry reading skills at various events supportive of local talent.
What’s Next: Employed as a civil servant in Eastern Ontario, the avid visual artist continues to write poetry. She intends to publish Our Lady of the Highways, a poetry collection that she completed for her M.A. degree. As a published author of poetry, she intends to keep writing.
The Symons Medal was established in 1972 in honour of T.H.B. Symons, the founding president of Trent University. This medal is awarded to students in the Honours program who achieve high overall standing on graduation. The medal was created by Dora de Pédery-Hunt.
Izadora Marques Seraphim ’18
B.B.A. Honours Business Administration
“I chose Trent because I felt connected to its culture and values. When I saw that Trent was committed to environmental, Indigenous, and social change causes, I knew it was the right fit for me.”
Izadora, winner of the prestigious Symons Medal, chose to pursue a business degree because it is recognized throughout the world. However, Trent University’s focus on personal development through a supportive and collaborative community inspired her to enrol in the Trent School of Business.
At Trent Durham Greater Toronto Area, she discovered key resources and a welcoming, challenging academic environment that enables students to develop critical thinking and reach their best potential. During her final semester, she gained valuable hands-on skills, knowledge, and experience at a marketing business boutique consulting firm operated by her professor.
Proving that she could achieve anything she set her mind to, she was awarded the Trent University National Renewable Entrance Scholarship, the William Bligh Shaw Scholarship, and a Trent Durham Academic Award.
What’s Next: Izadora plans to secure a job as a marketer. Her dream is to work for a non-profit organization with humanitarian and/or environmental causes. She hopes to build a career in Europe and travel to developing countries to work as a volunteer.
Sophia Frances Williams ’18
B.Sc. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
“It was very fulfilling and rewarding to act as a teaching assistant and provide this help to younger students when I was in my final year of my degree."
A member of the Trent University band and the Future Vet Club, Sophia found a personal, community experience on Trent’s beautiful Peterborough campus. There, she greatly benefited from small group settings and ample access to inspiring professors in both Chemistry and Biology.
Awarded an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award to conduct research in Dr. Janet Yee’s lab, she gained significant hands-on experience in the field of molecular biology lab work, a deeper understanding of molecular biology theory and lab techniques, and life-long organizational and analytical skills.
From Trent, she received the Biology Conservation Prize and the Robert Annett Scholarship. She was also awarded the Graham Hartley Prize and the Canadian Society for Chemistry Silver Medal.
What’s Next: Sophia will be an intern at Queen’s Park as a part of the Ontario Legislative Internship Programme in 2022-2023. She feels that Trent prepared her for this experience due to the valuable critical thinking, writing, time management and analytical skills she gained throughout her degree.
The Bagnani Medal was established in 1986 to honour the late Professor Gilbert Bagnani, one of the founding faculty members of Trent University. This medal is awarded to students in the General program who achieve high overall standing on graduation. The medal was created by Dora de Pédery-Hunt.
President's Honour Roll
The President's Honour Roll was established in 2000 to recognize students who have achieved a minimum cumulative average of 80% or better overall. Postgraduate program students do not qualify for the President’s Honour Roll (including those in certificate programs and the BEd professional years).
Dean's Honour Roll
All students who have completed a minimum of three full-course equivalents for which grades have been assigned and achieve an average of 80% or higher in their most recent session and have an overall cumulative average of 75% or higher will have their names placed on the Dean’s Honour Roll.