The Senate Medals is awarded for Outstanding Academic Achievement to graduating students. The winners within the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies wanted to share their words with you:

Emily Frendo-Cumbo, 2020 Child Studies Grad

Was it your intention to receive this medal? If yes, what drove you to be so dedicated to this achievement?

I have always been academically driven by my own passion for learning and producing work that I feel proud of. A prominent motivator for my academic achievement over the past four years has been to maintain my scholarship and fulfill my own personal goals. Although It was not my intention to receive this medal, I feel honoured to be recognized for my work ethic and dedication to my academics at Carleton.

What advice would you give to future students who also want to receive this medal?

My main piece of advice to future students is to be confident in their abilities while always being open to and excited about growth. It is important to seek out and respond positively to constructive criticism by our professors and teaching assistants and to make conscious efforts to apply that feedback to future assignments. Further, building strong working relationships with our educators and having mentors is incredibly beneficial and personally contributed to my confidence and success as a student.

How did you balance your academic studies with the rest of your social and personal life?

Balancing my academic studies with my social and personal life while also working as a TA at Carleton certainly had its challenges. I found it helpful to make lists with manageable daily goals and prioritize my responsibilities depending on which tasks I felt motivated to accomplish. I believe that taking advantage of those bursts of motivation while being kind to ourselves when needing rest days is a helpful way to stay productive while taking care of our mental health. Further, surrounding myself with friends whose goals aligned with mine and who always made me feel encouraged and supported significantly contributed to my ability to balance my academic goals with my social life.

What are your future plans?

This fall I will be pursuing my Masters of Education with a concentration in Leadership, Evaluation, Curriculum and Policy studies at University of Ottawa. In my fourth year at Carleton I completed my undergraduate honours thesis on the topic of mental health education which focused on analyzing health curricula and policies for young people. I aim to continue learning about curriculum and policy and how this translates into practice. I am excited to see where this path leads me and I hope to be a part of social change through education.

Dayna Melissa Goldfarb, Child Studies Grad

Was it your intention to receive this medal? If yes, what drove you to be so dedicated to this achievement?

No, it was not my intention to receive this medal. I actually didn’t know that it existed until I was told that I’d received it! I think I received it because I’ve been dedicated to creating the best work I can throughout university.

What advice would you give to future students who also want to receive this medal?

I think a key part of high academic achievement is taking classes that you’re genuinely interested in. I took electives in a wide variety of subjects on topics that I was excited about, even if they didn’t seem relevant to my major. In doing so, I acquired a variety of skills and knowledge that I would’ve otherwise missed. I love the flexibility that the Child Studies program offered to tailor my core courses and electives to my interests.

How did you balance your academic studies with the rest of your social and personal life?

As cliche as it sounds, I joined clubs on campus that helped me make friends and balance my social and academic lives. Through these clubs, I met people who are similar to me and helped support me throughout university and after. As well, one of the most valuable things I learned in university was how to say no and ask for help when I needed to. I became extremely sick during my second year of university, which wreaked havoc on my personal, social, and academic pursuits. I was forced to turn down social events that I didn’t have the energy to go to and ask for help from my friends and professors.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently working as a teacher with students with autism and I hope to pursue higher education in the field. I wrote my Honours Research Project on neurotypical children’s perspectives on play and I would love to expand my research to children with autism

Brandon Tobin, 2020 Child Studies Grad

Was it your intention to receive this medal? If yes, what drove you to be so dedicated to this achievement?

Honestly, I had no intention on receiving this medal. I did however, set goals and strived to achieve them each and every semester. Thanks to the great community at Carleton University I was able to succeed with the help of my many classmates and professors that enabled me to achieve my goals. 

What advice would you give to future students who also want to receive this medal?

In order to receive this medal, I believe that it is essential to be organized, willing to communicate, and most importantly dedicated to the world of academia. By being organized one can set a plan on how they wish to achieve their overarching goals. One of the most critical ways I stayed organized was creating a detailed schedule that enabled me to start all assignments in advanced. Next, by being willing to communicate with classmates, professors, and resources available at Carleton University, one would quickly realize the amount of support and help they have available to them. Finally, dedication is crucial in order to set an end goal and truly achieve it through hard work and perseverance.

How did you balance your academic studies with the rest of your social and personal life?

I was able to balance my academic, social and personal life by creating a schedule and following it. I think it is important to prioritize all aspects of one’s life both inside and outside of school. Having a perfect balance may be difficult, however, it can be achieved through a high level of organization. By starting assignments early it enabled myself to have some flexibility with academics and my personal life which I found to be extremely useful.  

What are your future plans?

This upcoming fall I will be attending the University of Ottawa for my Bachelor of Education, then obtain my Masters degree. In the future I wish to play a vital role in creating a better educational environment for everyone.

Colleen Rosslyn Freda Putzig, Human Rights & Social Justice, and Women’s & Gender Studies

Was it your intention to receive this medal? If yes, what drove you to be so dedicated to this achievement?

While I was always hoping to do my best academically throughout my university career, I never intended to receive an award. My goal was to focus on my ability to learn, unlearn, and understand new material.

What advice would you give to future students who also want to receive this medal?

Winning this medal became possible for me by studying something about which I was passionate. It is easier to do well if you can pursue something that is meaningful and important to you. If it is possible, I advise students to try to take courses that excite them and try to find ways to connect with what they are learning.

Also, it has always been important to me to remember that university is not a one-person journey. I have learned so much from both giving and receiving help from my peers, professors, and university mentors. I advise students never to feel ashamed to ask for help and never hesitate to help someone else if you are in the position to do so.

How did you balance your academic studies with the rest of your social and personal life?

Being flexible with time when creating a schedule is always important. It’s hard to know exactly how long a task is going to take and it’s impossible to know what may pop up that changes your schedule. Making sure my schedule was never air-tight was really important for me.

Additionally, to find balance, it was always essential for me to ensure I was giving myself time for my own social and personal causes. I found I was in the best frame of mind to perform academically if I was keeping up with the other things I loved (for me, it’s my passion for dancing!).

What are your future plans?

What I have learned from the Human Rights and Social Justice program is that there are always events going on in this world that we are willingly and unwillingly unaware of that need attention and action. I hope to continue learning what needs attention and action before deciding where to go next.