Student Profiles - 2020
Many of the 2020 graduates achieved great success and excelled academically during their time at Trent. A few of those outstanding students are profiled below. Students who won academic medals, or were on the President’s or Dean’s Honour Rolls have that significant accomplishment noted after their names in the list of 2020 graduates. The President’s Honour Roll was established in 2000 to recognize students who have achieved a minimum cumulative average of 80% or better overall. The Dean’s Honour Roll was established in 1986 to recognize students who have achieved 80% or better in their most recent session and have maintained a minimum cumulative average of 75% overall.
Demi Mathias ’17
M.A., Canadian & Indigenous Studies
Bear Island, Ontario
Governor General’s Gold Medal
Hailing from a small Northern community, Demi Mathias wanted to continue her studies with a strong Indigenous focus. At Trent, she enjoyed the freedom to pursue her own research while using Indigenous methodologies as well as ways of knowing and being. She also felt the trust and support for her Indigenous views. As a student learning how to research and decolonize that research, she had the opportunity to teach an Indigenous research course. Ms. Mathias recommends Indigenous content to students and considers her experiences with the Trent Graduate Students’ Association (TGSA) and the Trent University Native Association (TUNA) among her favourite at Trent.
“The Indigenous presence at Trent is thriving. It was amazing to make relationships with fellow colleagues and students.”
What’s Next: Ms. Mathias been teaching at Georgian College and Cambrian College, and is working full-time at Laurentian University. She feels that her Trent experience prepared her well to teach and is considering pursuing a Bachelor of Education. Looking ahead, Ms. Mathias would like to build a curriculum and teach in an Indigenous community.
Kara Fitze ’16
B.Sc. Honours, Mathematics with an Emphasis in Teacher Education and a Specialization in Statistics
Governor General’s Silver Medal
Within Trent’s Teacher Education Stream (TES), Kara Fitze designed her degree complete with practical and theoretical knowledge related to teaching. Volunteer work placements confirmed her love for the field and enabled her to build relationships in the educational community.
“I believe Trent’s focus on social justice and diversity helped to shape the kind of teacher I want to become.”
Passionate about math, Ms. Fitze worked as a teaching assistant and received many academic achievement awards. As an NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA) recipient, she conducted real-life data research alongside Trent faculty on multiple choice test discrimination. While the project introduced her to the world of academia, Ms. Fitze credits Trent’s Department of Mathematics for providing professional development, employment, and research experience.
What’s Next: Ms. Fitze is pursuing a Bachelor of Education. As an educator, she hopes to nurture a safe, inclusive and equitable learning community where student voice is valued and a love for learning is encouraged.
Emily Horsey ’16
B.Sc., Biomedical Science with a Minor in Psychology
Emily Horsey found many ways to learn, share knowledge and give back to the University during her time at Trent. In the lab, she conducted research on sleep and examined the effects of epilepsy and seizures on memory. She also has practicum, professional relationships and a coveted research grant to her credit. She was an academic assistant in Organic Chemistry, served as a coordinator and tutor within Trent’s Chemistry Undergraduate Society (CHUGS) and ensured student safety as a Trent Walkhome volunteer. Additionally she has received a long list of academic excellence prizes.
“Doing research at Trent taught me a lot of life skills as well as how to manage a professional setting. I was given so many academic and research opportunities. Trent definitely set me up to succeed in the next phase of my life.”
What’s Next: Under the supervision of the Canadian Chair of Developmental Neuroscience, Ms. Horsey will pursue an M.Sc. in Neuroscience at Carleton University. An advocate of equal access to healthcare, she plans to become a physician and practice in underserviced communities.
Khushbu Jayeshkumar Patel ’17
B.Sc. Honours, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Khushbu Jayeshkumar Patel transferred her passion and university education from Kenya and found a home-away-from-home at Trent. Enjoying every aspect of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, she found the labs in the program to be especially exciting. By learning new techniques and how to think like a scientist, Ms. Patel ultimately designed an enzyme purification scheme from scratch.
“All the knowledge and skills that I gained during my time at Trent provided a valuable and stable stepping stone toward my ultimate goal—a career in medical research.”
A recipient of a number of scholarships and awards, Ms. Patel shared the joy of post-secondary education while leading campus tours, served as VP and treasurer of the Trent French Club, and was a student ambassador with Trent’s Recruitment and Admissions team.
What’s Next: Ms. Patel hopes to begin graduate studies this fall with a research focus in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
Sarah Robinson ’16
B.Sc. Honours, Archaeology
As a Trent student, Sarah Robinson gained hands-on experience at the Ontario Archaeology Field School. Alongside her peers, she also developed a catalogue system to document thousands of Woodland period artifacts from the collection of the late avocational archaeologist W.E. Austin. As president of the Trent Anthropology Society, she cultivated passion for the discipline while organizing events and activities.
High academic standing, proven leadership and community involvement led to many accolades for the Symons Medal winner including: the Board of Governor’s Leadership Scholarship, the Department of Anthropology Faculty Prize, the Joyce Moonias Memorial Prize, the Dean’s Honour Roll and the President’s Honour Roll.
“Getting to know my professors and fellow students opened a number of volunteer and career opportunities. My honours thesis prepared me for graduate school research and fine-tuned my passion for archaeology.”
What’s Next: Ms. Robinson is working as a field technician in cultural resource management. A Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant will enable her to study oral history in an Indigenous context. She will continue her academic journey with graduate studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Amanda Roy ’16
B.A. Honours, Biology and History
Amanda Roy experienced the more practical side of History while working on an online museum exhibit project for the City of Peterborough. The project assigned in a third-year course about World War I also piqued her interest in possible careers in Museum Studies or Public History. Ms. Roy also served as a volunteer tutor with Trent Students for Literacy.
In addition to the Symons Medal, she received many awards in recognition of her academic achievement in both Biology and History. She earned the Trent National Renewable Entrance Scholarship, the Alan Wilson Prize, a Biology Department Book Prize, and several essay prizes.
“The entire Department of History feels like a supportive community. My professors have always treated students as serious historians.”
What’s Next: Ms. Roy will pursue a Bachelor of Education at Trent University in the fall.
Alyssa Merendino ’16
B.A., English Literature
Muldoon Medal, General
A progressive atmosphere, an interdisciplinary approach to the humanities, and a program rich in diverse content and experiences drew Alyssa Merendino to Trent University Durham GTA. In light of climate change, her capstone project work to evaluate and improve the regional food system in Durham Region within the Communications & Critical Thinking program made a real impact. Ms. Merendino also learned a great deal about writing and editing through Trent’s Writer’s Block Club and Chickenscratch, an annual anthology of student writing at Trent Durham.
For her academic excellence, the Muldoon Medal winner also received the John Pettigrew Prize, the Jane McLarty Memorial Prize and the Helen and Barney Sandwell Scholarship. She is also on the President’s Honour Roll.
“I feel that the range of skills I gained while studying at Trent, from analytical to interpersonal, will be a huge help in reaching my goals.”
What’s Next: Ms. Merendino is living in Florida and is staying open to new opportunities wherever they take her.
Hanan Hammoud ’17
According to Hanan Hammoud, asking questions is the key to understanding content. En route to a career in dentistry, she feels that Trent also enabled her to be a passionate mental health advocate. A Trent community research project to create a summer camp for youth battling mental health opened her eyes to the importance of giving back and advocating for youth who otherwise may not have a voice.
While at Trent, Ms. Hammoud enjoyed sharing the Middle-Eastern culture through a Dabke dance group. She received the Trent University National Renewable Entrance Scholarship.
“The rigorous academics at Trent have prepared me to balance the rigours of dental school.”
What’s Next: Ms. Hammoud will pursue a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree at the University of Toronto this fall.
“My favourite Trent experience has got to be spending my summers doing fieldwork on a remote island in the Arctic. Living in a small hut surrounded by wildlife on the tundra with three other people is a unique experience.”
Intrigued by Trent’s connection to the Arctic, Scott Flemming studied firsthand the impact of goose overpopulation on other bird species and the tundra ecosystem. Working alongside renowned experts, he gained invaluable knowledge, training, and academic and government experience. Alongside fellow researchers, his work was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. He also connected with other Arctic researchers as an organizer of the Trent Northern Studies Colloquium.
The winner of the President’s Medal for Ph.D. in Science received many awards for academic excellence and research including: the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postgraduate Scholarships-Doctoral program, the French American Charitable Trust Graduate Scholarship and the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research.
What’s Next: Dr. Flemming works as the regional shorebird biologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada in British Columbia.
Matthew Hayes '14
Ph.D. Canadian Studies
"My students have been great, and I loved being in the classroom with them. I’ll miss them."
The passion of Matthew Hayes for learning and teaching is strongly reflected in nominations from his students for the Symons Award for Teaching Excellence, as well as being shortlisted for the CUPE 3908-1 Award for Excellence in Teaching. Drawn to its interdisciplinary approach and inherent flexibility, Dr. Hayes, who also holds an B.A. in Anthropology at Trent, pursued his Ph.D. in the Canadian Studies program.
The winner of the President’s Medal for Ph.D. in Social Science & Humanities received several awards and acknowledgements for academic excellence including: SSHRC doctoral scholarship, OGS on two occasions, Mary Northway Award, Graves-Cummings and Frost Award, Quaker Oats Entrance Scholarship, and was twice nominated for the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.
What’s Next: Dr. Hayes will pursue an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship in History at the University of Western Ontario.
B.A. Honours, Child & Youth Studies
Rebecca Albion knew Trent University Durham was the right university for her because of the strong connections she was able to build with faculty and peers both within her program and outside of it as well.
During her time at Trent she received the Trent National Renewable Scholarship and was on the Dean’s Honour Roll for her outstanding academic achievements for all four years of her studies.
“Being able to receive this scholarship and honour meant so much for me because it helped me financially with completing my degree and it demonstrated that the hard work I was putting into getting these high marks was something that I could be very proud of.”
Ms. Albion participated in the weekly soccer scrimmages, represented Trent Durham as part of the official extramural soccer team and took part in the Pen Pals program. These clubs and experiences helped contribute to her time at Trent as they connected her with new people and experiences.
Speaking of her academic experiences, she said: “I enjoyed how we had so many different guest speakers come into our classes. Not only did they teach us about important issues but this also gave us the opportunity to discover and learn more about what we could potentially do with our degrees after we graduated.”
What’s Next: Ms. Albion has been accepted into Trent’s School of Education where she will continue her studies with the goal of becoming a primary school teacher.
Brooke DeGraaf ‘16
B.Sc. Honours, Psychology
“Never once in my four years did I take an uninteresting Psychology class. The professors were always understanding, and I was able to take a variety of classes – such as human sexuality, the lifespan from infancy to old age, and abnormal development – in order to explore the different facets of the field.”
Brooke DeGraaf made the decision to pursue a degree in Psychology after a lecture by Dr. Neil Fournier in the fall of her first year. Throughout her four years of study, another passion emerged for Ms. DeGraaf – working with older adults. She credits her psychology degree with providing her with a solid foundation of knowledge regarding various aspects of old age, and she was also able to earn credits in sociology and nursing that focused on aging studies.
Ms. DeGraaf worked hard to earn a place on the Dean’s and President’s Honour rolls, along with maintaining a full-tuition scholarship for three years. She also found getting involved outside of academics to be one of the best things she did while at Trent. She served as treasurer for the Psychology Undergraduate Society and was an active undergraduate associate member of the Trent Centre for Aging & Society. As a volunteer Ms. DeGraaf helped to welcome new students during Orientation Week, supported programs at the local Alzheimer Society, and joined Trent Students for Literacy.
What’s Next: This fall Ms. DeGraaf will enroll in Mohawk College’s Brain Disorders Management Graduate Certificate program, as she looks ahead to a career working with individuals with dementia.
B.A. Honours, Child & Youth Studies, Teacher Education Stream
At Trent University Durham GTA, Devni Gamage was the recipient of several academic honours including Dean’s Honour Roll, and graduated on the President’s Honour Roll. Being recognized for her hard work through these honours encouraged Ms. Gamage to strive for excellence.
Throughout her time at Trent Durham, Ms. Gamage was an active and involved student who participated in an acapella vocal group in second year, completed field placements in each year of study, and conducted a community-based group research project with the City of Oshawa.
“I knew that Trent Durham was the right university for me because the community is tight-knit. I was able to build meaningful connections with my peers, and I received one-on-one time with my professors which really helped me be successful.”
What’s Next: Ms. Gamage will be continuing her education for the next few years, looking ahead to teach internationally. Trent prepared Ms. Gamage for this goal because the CHYS program opened her eyes to the children who need help around the world. She wants to pursue opportunities in order to advocate for these children and help them develop their voice and power through education.
B.A. Child and Youth Studies
At Trent University Durham GTA, Holly Grassl was the recipient of numerous scholarships, including one from the Toronto Police. She was also on the Dean’s List for her high academic performance.
Here, Ms. Grassl had the opportunity to enhance her in-class knowledge with experiential learning opportunities that included working alongside classmates and the City of Oshawa through Teaching City to develop a plan later implemented at a local youth centre. This experience allowed her to develop personally by giving her the opportunity to work with peers and professionals in her field.
“This program has provided me with in depth knowledge about things that I had never even thought about before ﬁrst walking through the door. The interactive nature made it an amazing program to be a part of.”
What’s Next: Ms. Grassl has plans to pursue a Masters in Child and Youth Studies this September. She feels prepared for this next step through the knowledge gained in the Trent Durham CHYS program and the amazing professors and mentors.
Jordan Hamilton ‘16
B.Sc. (Hons.), Economics
During his time at Trent, student-athlete Jordan Hamilton had the amazing opportunity to write his fourth-year thesis under the supervision of Trent’s founding president, Professor T.H.B Symons, and describes it as “fascinating and inspiring…a truly Trent experience”.
Mr. Hamilton also sat as president and treasurer of Trent Rowing, and was vice-president of finance for the Trent Business Students’ Association. Through his time as a student, Mr. Hamilton was also the recipient of several awards including the All-OUA Academic (2016-2020), Maurice Boote Prize (2019), Michael Cullen Award (2019, 2020), Gary Wolff Leadership Award (2020), Jennifer Read Leadership Award (2020)
“Challenging academics, combined with an incredible sports and social environment, made Trent a great place to study. Faculty members provided incredible opportunities to conduct research, pursue advanced courses and were instrumental in the graduate school application process. The unique college system allows you to interact with awesome people from a variety of backgrounds and majors. To top that off, sports and other extracurricular activities are abundant. These have been the best four years of my life.”
Trent has made me ready to take on the world.”
What’s Next: Mr. Hamilton plans to attend the University of Cambridge this fall for his Masters in Politics and International Studies, before moving on to law school.
Leisha Lustic ’17
M.Sc. Psychology with a Specialization in Aging Studies
It was Trent’s environmental initiatives like the rooftop garden and the Seasoned Spoon café that drew Leisha Lustic to complete a Master’s degree at the University. She quickly became a café regular and a volunteer at the garden, and it didn’t take long for her to experience many other benefits to studying at Trent. Really getting to know her professors, and diving deeper into the research process – using theory and planning to grow an idea to a completed project – made Ms. Lustic’s experience all the more memorable.
“While at Trent I was able to hone the necessary academic skills to complete my degree as well as those applicable to life in general. I gained independence and confidence thanks to the support of my peers and professors.”
Ms. Lustic is among the first students to earn a Specialization in Aging Studies along with her degree. Through her work experiences, she got to know many older adults and learned about some of their struggles associated with aging. Her research focused on movement variability and the aging process and how this may affect an individual's ability to learn to adapt to external changes in their environment.
“Trent has prepared me in many ways to expand my horizons and take risks with confidence.”
What’s Next: Currently working full-time as a manager in a retail store, Ms. Lustic is looking gain volunteer experience at a nearby hospital before exploring the continuation of her education.
At Trent University Durham GTA, Raiyan Milki took full advantage of numerous experiences, including participating in student government and extracurricular activities such as clubs, and intramural sports.
Mr. Milki has been a strong and influential student at the Trent Durham campus, volunteering for many roles to help to contribute to the student experience on campus. He attended many leadership seminars, ran several events through the clubs he was a part of, and worked as a TDSA student staff member. Mr. Milki also worked as an orientation leader and encouraged many new students to take full advantage of student life at Trent Durham.
“Trent Durham offered a large variety of courses and conveniences that suited my academic goals. From a campus that was easy to access to the many benefits of not having to relocate, to even offering every course needed for my graduation at a campus that felt like home, it was the perfect place to start my post-secondary career.”
What’s Next: Mr. Milki hopes to be accepted into the Masters in Management program at Trent University Durham in order to further build his business repertoire.
B.A. Child & Youth Studies
While studying at Trent University Durham GTA, Sabrina Moreino participated in a placement which proved to be an incredible experience. This opportunity added to her university experience because it gave her hands on experience in the community.
“I absolutely loved the faculty in the Child & Youth program. They are truly incredible, knowledgeable, and kind. From first year until fourth year and beyond, they have always had my best interest, and the interest of my classmates in mind. Getting to know my professors on a more personal level helped to make the university experience less overwhelming.”
What’s Next: Ms. Moreino plans to take a short break from academics and instead take a look at workplace opportunities within the child and youth field. Eventually, she would like to go on to complete a graduate degree. She became motivated to do this after completing the Literature Review/Thesis fourth year class wherein she completed a large paper (24 pages) on the topic of Childhood Cancer and its effects. This paper will act as an aid to applying for graduate studies and future career paths.
B.Sc. Honours, Psychology
At Trent University Durham GTA, Michelle Ryken’s academic achievements as a Dean’s and President’s Honor Roll student were complemented by an impressive list of extracurricular activities. She was the vice-president of the Psychology Club, worked with the Academic Mentoring Program as both a mentor and coordinator, was an orientation leader, and participated in research practicums.
By actively engaging in campus life, Ms. Ryken formed life-long friendships and created a support network. These activities also helped push her to achieve her goals.
“In Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter’s Language and Cognition lab, I learned a lot of valuable skills and also met some fantastic people. I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience but also the ability to cultivate some life-long friendships.”
What’s Next: Ms. Ryken plans to attend a post-graduate diploma in Clinical Behavioural Sciences at McMaster prior to continuing on to complete graduate studies in Psychology.
Donna Ward ‘18
Bachelor of Education
A Trent Bachelor of Science (Hons.) graduate with a joint major in Forensic Science and Anthropology, Donna Ward returned to the University in 2018 to complete a Bachelor of Education. One of her favourite aspects of Trent life remains her six years as a member of the Excalibur women’s lacrosse team and taking home the OUA gold medal championship in 2019.
“I enjoyed being part of the kind of team where everyone gets along and pushes each other to be the best version of themselves.”
A recipient of a Trent Excalibur Green and White Scholarship and the Sherratt Bursary for Athletics, she says both prizes were huge in alleviating financial stress, allowing her better focus on academics and athletics.
“During my second degree, the class sizes were small, so I really got to know the people in my program as well as develop professional connections with a lot of my peers and teachers. Each student benefited from the fact that they aren’t just a number. More focus and attention can be given to students. I couldn’t imagine my life at a different university. I have met so many great friends, professors and staff at Trent that have all made my experience one I will never forget.”
What’s Next: With an eye to travelling to see the world in the future, Ms. Ward will enter the teaching profession locally first as a supply teacher with the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board.