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Great Grads

Part 4

Liliane Gondo

GG-GondoLiliane Gondo is trading in her burgundy Garnet Key blazer for the scarlet tunic of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, now that she has her degree in psychology.

The Ivory-Coast-born Montrealer has big plans, but then, anyone who knows her would not expect any less. While studying psychology, Gondo has been involved in every facet of Concordia and community life.

As a member of the Garnet Key, she acted as a student ambassador at university events. With her ultimate goal to join the RCMP in mind, she has been involved with the Concordia Safety Patrol since 1997, first as assistant coordinator, and for the last two years as coordinator.

The Safety Patrol works to raise awareness about safety issues on campus, including providing security for students and offering self-defence courses. "It's reaching out to the community outside of Concordia as well as to the community inside Concordia," Gondo said.

Her extracurricular activities also include coaching girls' basketball at the YMCA and tutoring at the downtown Y and Walkley Family Centre. She plans to combine her academic training with the skills she has honed in security and serving her community to launch her career as a police officer with Canada's most prestigious force.

"I think definitely I will be applying my psychology degree," she said. "As a police officer, you are dealing with people. You need to understand their background and psychology, for example, to interact with a battered woman or children in a crisis situation."

While she is eager to set off for the RCMP training camp in Regina so she can join the labour force, Gondo has not closed the door on further education. The RCMP encourages its officers to engage in lifelong learning, and considering Gondo's gusto for challenge, she may well pursue a Master's or even a PhD.

- Frank Kuin

Wayne Kennedy: Exploring Khmer culture

GG-Kennedy For the last two years, Wayne Kennedy has been a frequent visitor to the Khmer Pagoda of Canada, a Buddhist temple in Côte-des-Neiges that serves Montreal's Cambodian community. In the course of research for his Master's thesis in Art Education, Kennedy tried to uncover what significance the temple's colourful paintings and golden statuettes had for its worshippers.

The religion tends to define the culture, said Kennedy, who is seen above with a mural depicting the stages from birth to death. For his thesis, Kennedy interviewed six members of the temple, many of whom had stories of tragedy and courage to tell about their lives under the Khmer Rouge, the Communist regime accused of executing an estimated two million Cambodians.

In the last four years, Kennedy has been involved with various Buddhist communities -- Thai, Burmese and Bangladeshi -- picking up some Pâli, an ancient regional language, along the way. Kennedy has been accepted to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, a division of the University of Toronto, where he will be pursuing a doctoral degree. He hopes one day to be able to travel to Southeast Asia and visit the countries whose cultures he has been studying.

More great grads....

Part 1      Part 2      Part 3      Part 4

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