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Spring Convocation 2021 Student Awards

Kimberley Knighton

BC Adult Graduation Diploma

Dean's Medal, Faculty of Academic and Career Preparation

Kimberley Knighton knows what it means to be determined. Beginning her journey at KPU in 2018, Kimberley returned to school with the goal of obtaining her high school diploma and going on to become an education assistant. Despite having a non-traditional journey, she overcame each challenge she faced with unwavering determination and tenacity. An active participant in class, Kimberley regularly posed intelligent, thoughtful questions, supporting her own learning, and benefitting fellow classmates, too.

Jesse Pottinger

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism

Dean's Medal, Faculty of Arts

An avid fan of reading, writing, and storytelling, Jesse Pottinger's passion in journalism speaks for itself. Described as one of the strongest students to go through the program, Jesse's excelled throughout, consistently submitting professional quality work. His attention to detail and focus come through in all projects he undertakes including working as a research assistant alongside faculty, exploring topics like LGBTQ rights in Poland, police killings of unarmed Black and Indigenous people in Canada, and violence against Black transgender people. Reflecting on his time at KPU, Jesse says he's grown personally and professionally entering post-secondary with a sense of purpose and putting his whole heart into the experience. Now he hopes to work internationally in media, continuing to travel and explore the world.

Vanessa (Andrea) Mora

BBA in Marketing Management

Dean's Medal, School of Business

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Vanessa Mora came to KPU in 2013, completing a Diploma in Public Relations, and later a Bachelor of Business Administration. Described as an articulate, hardworking, and determined individual, Vanessa's contributions to KPU and the field of public relations are evident. She's served on the Public Relations program's Professional Advisory Committee, making invaluable contributions to the recent redesign of the program and her class projects have been presented at various conferences and summits. Following her work experience practicum, Vanessa continued working with the same company, kick-starting her career, gaining experience, and growing both personally and professionally. Moving forward, Vanessa hopes to work towards a professional role that allows her to face challenges and grow, while maintaining a sustainable work-life balance.

Danielle Nelson

Bachelor of Interior Design

Dean's Medal, Wilson School of Design

Danielle Nelson wants to make the world a better place and she's using interior design to do it. Praised for her passion, dedication, and leadership, Danielle is an out-of-the-box thinker bringing her ideas forth as a member of multiple committees like the Wilson School of Design Student Experience Committee and volunteering with professional organizations such as the Interior Designers Institute of BC (IDIBC) Emerging Professionals. Danielle has also seized opportunities to expand her worldview, participating in KPU's Amazon Field School and having an instrumental role in helping establish an exchange partnership between KPU and New Design University in Vienna, Austria, where she studied for two semesters abroad. With a commitment to being a lifelong learner, Danielle has her sights set on graduate school, representing KPU and the Wilson School of Design as a proud alumna and continuing to inspire positive change.

Emma Shanks

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Advanced Entry

Dean's Medal, Faculty of Health

A professional, insightful student and natural leader, Emma Shanks was working as a psychiatric nurse when she enrolled at KPU in the nursing program in pursuit of new opportunities. Throughout the program, she's shown immense compassion, care, and respect towards her patients and her knowledge and skills have allowed her to continue building on her strengths in both classroom and clinical settings. With the goal of continuing her education at the master's level, Emma hopes to share her extensive knowledge with the next generation of healthcare professionals, working as a university nursing instructor in future.

Michael Ke

Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Health Science

Dean's Medal, Faculty of Science and Horticulture

Michael Ke has always strived to exceed expectations. With a genuine desire to support those around him, he's made significant contributions to KPU's Applied Genomics Centre, applying advanced computer skills in bioinformatics to both human and equine health studies and has presented his research at conferences on multiple occasions. Moving forward, Michael wants to continue his education and research with the goal of gaining insights on treating diseases and bettering human health.

Nadine Turner

Certificate in Welding Foundation

Dean's Medal, Faculty of Trades and Technology

The choice to get into the trades wasn't easy for Nadine Turner. But after careful consideration, she chose to pursue welding and metal work—a field she had always liked. Throughout the program, Nadine quickly realized her natural aptitude for welding and dedicated herself to developing her skills and letting her work speak for itself. Looking ahead, Nadine wants to continue working in welding and plans to pursue her Red Seal designation.

Sadaf Fahim

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

President's Outstanding Graduate Award Degree Program

Sadaf Fahim knew at a young age she wanted to work in healthcare. Coming to KPU as a Health Foundations student, she continued her education in nursing with plans to go on to pursue a master's or apply for medical school. She credits KPU's program and faculty for helping her grow and succeed as not only a student, but a nurse and an individual, too. Having encountered various obstacles and barriers first-hand, Sadaf is an outspoken, compassionate advocate for marginalized individuals, always ready to support those around her and lend a hand to anyone in need.

Wajeeha Rahman

BBA in Accounting

President's Outstanding Graduate Award Bachelor's Degree Program

Discovering her passion for accounting in high school, Wajeeha Rahman came to KPU in pursuit of her accounting degree, with plans to complete her master's and obtain her CPA designation. Taking on numerous roles during her time at KPU, she was not only a dedicated and high-achieving student, but also an active volunteer in the community and held full-time employment throughout her education. The value of education, she says, was instilled by her family and is something she credits with giving her the strength to persevere and give back when she could. Now, Wajeeha's eager to teach and mentor others, sharing the knowledge she's gained while remaining focused on her ultimate goal of continuing to become a better version of herself.

Anna Westhaver

Bachelor in Horticultural Science, Plant Health

Governor General's Silver Academic Medal

Since childhood, Anna Westhaver has always been fascinated plants—from the way they sprout and flower to their eventual harvesting and decay. Wanting to understand this process better and explore ways to support ecological health, Anna began studying horticulture focusing specifically on plant health. Her goals and aspirations are admirable as she wants to leverage her skills and experience to develop and support a thriving and sustainable regional food system that yields healthy produce for the community. Anna believes that the sustainability of our food system truly lies in the sustainability and resilience of our seed system and hopes that by providing education and mentorship to new growers, especially those not typically represented in agriculture, we can improve food security and create a more diverse agricultural sector.

Ainsley Pincombe

Diploma in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

Governor General's Collegiate Bronze Academic Medal

Ainsley Pincombe had her first university experience while she was still in high school, participating in the CADD CTC program. The experience left a huge impression and her choice to enroll in KPU's Computer-Aided Drafting and Design program years later was an easy one. While returning to her education as a mature student brought unique challenges, Ainsley's persistence, patience, and determination were evident and her excellence in academics speaks for itself. The only way to succeed, she says, is to just keep working at it—something she's definitely done, with positive results.

Damanpreet Garcha

BBA Marketing Management & Certificate in NGO and Non-profit Studies

George C. Wooton Award

Damanpreet Garcha has always been creative, with a passion for giving back and helping others. First introduced to business studies in high school, it was marketing in particular she says that she connected with, recognizing the wealth of opportunities in the industry to both achieve and create. Upon coming to KPU, she chose not only to pursue a degree in marketing management, but also a certificate in nongovernmental and non-profit studies with the ultimate goal of working for a community organization and eventually starting her own business. A volunteer, leader, and mentor, Damanpreet has been active in the university community and beyond, getting involved with the local food bank, City Centre Community Association, KPU Marketing Association, campus orientation, and more. Always able to remain positive, Damanpreet acknowledges the challenges came along with completing her education in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, but jokes that her commute was eliminated, and she was given a new opportunity to suddenly spend more time with family.