A total of six valedictorians, representing top academic achievement and community commitment from Brandon University’s graduating students, will be lauded at BU’s Spring Convocation 2022 later this month.
Valedictorians have been selected from every faculty and the School of Music, with the Faculty of Education selecting two this year. They will address their fellow graduates during four ceremonies across two days at this year’s expanded Convocation.
“When I started at Brandon University, I did not realize that this community would provide me with so much more than a degree,” said Health Studies valedictorian Akech Mayuom, adding that BU faculty helped steer her career in a new direction. “I had the opportunity to work on anti-racism research with mentors who introduced me to the world of research, a career path I honestly never really considered. I love it. I also met strangers who turned into lifelong friends.”
Valedictorians, who are chosen for their academic excellence as well as their overall contributions to campus and community, bring greetings to their fellow graduates as well as a hopeful outlook at the future they will all share along with their brand-new knowledge and credentials.
“I am grateful to be valedictorian and thankful that our graduating class is actually able to celebrate together in person as a community,” said Science valedictorian Benjamin Lamont. “Our graduating class spent a substantial portion of our degree alone, sitting behind computer screens due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing a transition to online schooling. Undoubtedly this was not what we expected when we signed up for BU. However, I am a firm believer that you bloom where you are planted and I think that Covid-19 and online schooling have pushed our graduating class to grow and bloom in many unexpected ways. I hope our graduates can reflect on this and be proud of how far they have come and how they have persevered.”
This year’s Valedictorians are:
Arts — Amanda Hutchinson
In 2017, after completing high school at St. Andrew High School for Girls, Amanda Hutchinson traveled by herself over 4097 km from Kingston, Jamaica, to Manitoba to attend Brandon University.
From the very beginning, she involved herself in university life, becoming a Floor Representative for her dorm Flora Cowan. Her academic commitment has been recognized through placement on the Dean’s Honours List and the generous grant of academic scholarships.
Amanda has been a positive representation of the values of Brandon University through her published writing projects, in particular the UNESCO Sheroes Toolkit in 2021.
She has advocated for Black Representation on campus, Mental Health and Gender Equity and will continue to do so going forward.
Education — Kathy Rowan
Originally from Yorkton, Kathy Rowan relocated to Brandon where she laid her roots and began her family. Kathy is graduating today with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from the Integrated Education Program. Throughout her degree, Kathy has yearly been placed on the Dean’s Honour List and was inducted into the President’s Honour Society in 2021.
Kathy has always dreamed of becoming a teacher and after being an education assistant for almost a decade, she decided to make her dream a reality. Juggling her academics and family, including two children, was no easy task, but Kathy made it look effortless.
Kathy expresses a huge thanks to her husband, children, family, and friends for all their love and support during her education journey. She is grateful for the life that she has been blessed with and she is looking forward to her chosen career in education.
Education — Jenna Zamrykut
Jenna (Michaluk) Zamrykut, was born in the city of Dauphin. After completing her K-12 education, she left the community to continue her education at Red River College, graduating with a Diploma in Business Accounting.
Her personality and passion for education led her to pursue her undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Arts at Brandon University with the goal of obtaining her Bachelor of Education.
During her time at Brandon University, Jenna also worked as a Learning Coach and Retention Assistant: teaching and supporting university students in their learning.
Jenna will begin her career in the fall of 2022 as a homeroom teacher in her hometown of Dauphin.
Health Studies — Akech Mayuom
Akech Mayuom and her family immigrated to Canada from South Sudan. Before Brandon University, Akech obtained a Psychology degree at Canadian Mennonite University.
At Brandon University, Akech discovered a passion for research and has work on various projects focused on developing interactive anti-racism resources and creating safe spaces for BIPOC students.
Akech has served on BUHSSA as a faculty student representative and a student senator while maintaining a GPA that has landed her on the honors list. Akech is the recipient of the Status of Women Award and the Act Brandon Club Scholarship which recognize her service to Brandon University.
Music — Alyssa Alambra
Alyssa Alambra is graduating from the Brandon University School of Music with a degree from the Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education (After Degree) Concurrent program, specializing in instrumental music education, and minoring in physical education.
She is extremely grateful for her time spent at Brandon University connecting and making music with others, and for the high caliber mentorship and education she has received throughout the last five years.
Alyssa has accepted a full-time teaching position at Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute where she will be sharing her passions teaching band, jazz band, choir, general music, and dance beginning in September 2022.
Science — Benjamin Lamont
Benjamin Lamont started out at BU as a music student, studying classical guitar performance. He placed third place at the 2019 Federation of Canadian Music Festivals before transferring into the Faculty of Science.
Today, Ben is graduating with an honours degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. His honours thesis focused on the neuromicrobiology of learning and memory. He will be studying medicine in the fall.
Throughout his studies Ben has maintained a studio of guitar students, teaching privately and through BU’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Conservatory of Music. He has also worked at the Keystone COVID-19 Immunization Clinic, in a personal care home, for the City of Brandon’s Youth Activity Centre, and as an educational assistant.
Brandon University’s Spring Convocation 2022 will be held at the Healthy Living Centre on May 26 and 27. All ceremonies will be live-streamed. See BrandonU.ca/Convocation for more.
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