Please enable Java in your browser's "Options" (or "Preferance") menu to view this page Concordia's Thursday Report____________June 10, 1999

Great Grads - 1999

I can’t express how pleased I am to have come here."

Patterson won the Ann Duncan Internship award this past year, and a fellowship so she can continue with an MA in Art History here at Concordia. The Ann Duncan internship, named after a Gazette arts reporter, allowed her to work at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery for much of the year, giving her access to their collection and library and letting her see what is involved in putting together a show.

"It was an incredibly valuable experience," she said. "It was very practical, and brought things together for me in a way that simply can’t be achieved in the classroom."

Usually, Patterson goes home to her mother’s farm near Lake Erie every summer, but this year, having received a grant from the Northern Science Training Program, Patterson will be visiting Igloolik to study an all-Inuit video company, Isuma Productions. She hopes to look at the role of video in contemporary Canadian art for her MA.

"Since the 1960s, the medium has become part of the visual arts, but because it’s relatively new, it’s not as entrenched in colonial and patriarchal discourses as other media. Also, equipment is accessible and video allows for an engagement with notions concerning the formation of the self and identity, which I find interesting," she said.

Eventually, she hopes to teach Art History herself, or to work in art galleries and curate shows.

- Eugenia Xenos


John Faithful Hamer: His turn to help


John Faithful Hamer says he’s the perfect example of why Concordia’s easy access to education works. After struggling through high school, dropping out of CEGEP and briefly settling for work he disliked, he figured his prospects for higher education were over.

"Concordia gave me a second chance as a mature student," said the grateful 24-year-old, "because the University was willing to overlook my past."

Now Hamer has a bright future to contemplate. After graduating with a BA in Honours History, with a minor in Political Science, he’s off to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University to complete a PhD in History on a five-year scholarship.

"I would never have had this opportunity without Concordia," he said. His professors, one of whom calls him "brilliant," contributed to his success by helping sharpen his initially weak study and writing skills. "My teachers were extraordinary, taking hours of their time to teach me how to write a proper essay."

Hamer knows only too well how important a helping hand can be. Over the past 10 years, he has routinely volunteered to various organizations that assist the elderly, single mothers and the intellectually disabled. "Volunteering isn’t a choice in a democracy," he explained. "It’s part of being a citizen and what it means to be human."

Hamer admits he’s fascinated by society and its history, which is why he intends to write his PhD thesis on the American civil rights movement or on slavery. As for the long academic path that awaits him, the challenge isn’t daunting. "School’s a lot of fun," he said. "I’ve been given a great break and I’m just going to take it."

-Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins


Laurent Jabre, Marcelle Tamal: Medals and job offers


The first time Laurent Jabre tinkered with machines was as a 15-year old in his native Lebanon. Frustrated with having to get out of bed to answer the door, he took apart his remote-control toy car and turned it into a device to open and close the door at the push of a button.

It wasn’t long before his love for machines, combined with his preference for math and physics in high school, translated into studies in engineering. Seven years later, the Concordia graduate will receive a medal as the top student in the Mechanical Engineering program.

Jabre arrived in Montreal only a day before his classes started, speaking fluent French and Arabic but limited English. Now he’s a Canadian citizen, already employed; he’s working on the flight controls component of CAE’s flight simulator division.

Balancing this job with a full course load in his final semester, Jabre met perhaps his biggest challenge when, two days before his final exam, his father passed away. "This is how you find out how strong you are," he said in retrospect.

He feels he got even more out of university than he expected. "It’s not about the grades, it’s about the learning," he said. "You can stop studying, but still learn, whether at work, or with friends, or travelling." He plans to pursue an MBA.

Marcelle Tamal also has a passion for learning. Wanting to combine a "knowledge of everything" with the tools to succeed in business, she chose engineering over medicine. At convocation, the native of Jounieh, Lebanon, has won the medal for being the top student in the Industrial Engineering program.

After completing two years of Concordia’s Industrial Engineering program, Tamal worked for a year at Bombardier under the co-op format. The job offered everything she was looking for – more exposure to the things she learned in school and a chance to apply her knowledge. "When I came back [to university], I had a new perspective, and wanted to learn, not just finish my degree."

Tamal finds herself with a rich palette of choices. She plans to complete a certificate in production and inventory management (CPIM) and do an MBA.

However, Bombardier has offered her a new position as a mechanical engineer for their recently approved contract with Long Island Railroad of New York. Future Electronics, a Montreal-based distributor in electronic components, has asked her to join a team in a new industrial engineering department. Finally, SNC Lavalin told her they might have a position for her at their branch in Vancouver.

- Luke Andrews


Jean-Phillippe Marcotte and Linnaea Stockall: Heading for the big time

Jean-Philippe Marcotte and Linnaea Stockall are super linguists heading for the best universities in the world to do their graduate degrees. Marcotte was accepted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell and UC Berkeley, but chose Stanford.

"The tale of how I got into this field is long and twisted," he messaged CTR by e-mail. "I first thought I’d do literature, but I felt stifled by the interpretations of works professors were forcing upon me.

"Next on the list was philology, which still deals with literature, but is more like the interpretation of old texts. Of course, that would have required that I learn a bunch of dead languages, and that turned me off, but during the short period of time that I pursued that interest, I was introduced to the field of theoretical linguistics.

"The languages of the world are incredibly varied, and any single mind has the ability to learn them all (i.e., a child of any origin will learn any language that it is sufficiently exposed to). Studying how this might be became a fascinating prospect.

Stockall is heading to MIT. She specialized in linguistics "partly by accident. I just happened to take the introductory course as an elective and discovered I really liked the discipline.

"My main focus is theoretical syntax. I’m also particularly interested in linguistics as it relates to the larger enterprise of cognitive science. I hope to do work on language acquisition and sentence processing. MIT has a great program in psycholinguistics."

How does she feel about going to MIT, academic home of Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker? "It’s really gratifying to know that hundreds of applicants from around the world were competing for the same eight spots, and that somehow I was chosen among them."

However, Stockall registered one disappointment. "Although Canada has really good grad schools as well, they are inadequately funded. Top students at U.S. schools not only get a full tuition waiver with paid health care, they get stipends, research assistantships and teaching assistantships that allow them to afford to go to school full time."

Marcotte wants to thank Professors Mark Hale and Charles Reiss. "They’ve been teaching at Concordia for about five years, so we’re among their first products. They work extremely hard to provide their students with a variety of courses and tutorials covering the breadth of the field, which is a considerable achievement given that they are basically alone."

- Barbara Black


Andrea Levy: Active historian


History graduate student Andrea Levy chose to trace the intellectual development of French existential Marxist and political ecologist André Gorz for her PhD dissertation because he tied together a number of her intellectual and political interests of the last 15 years.

She kept running into Gorz as she pursued studies in the history of the New Left, utopian social thought, ecology and finally, the problem of the end of work. "Gorz’s concerns as a thinker resonated at both the personal and political level," she said.

Levy, who completed her BA and MA here at Concordia, started her PhD in 1989. When her scholarship ran out four years later, she had to turn to full-time work as a freelance writer to support her academic "habit." Thus, she found herself an incarnation of one of Gorz’s more recent concepts: the "non-class of non-workers." This non-class is a relatively new phenomenon, comprising those who work to make a living, but who are not emotionally and socially involved in their work. In Gorz’s view, this group has a subversive potential.

"We have reached a point where we can produce more and more with fewer and fewer people, creating a two-tier society. We have run out of good jobs. To remedy this, Gorz argues that we must redistribute work within society by reducing working time," Levy said.

She is now trying to turn her 500-page thesis, which reconstructs Gorz’s intellectual development and takes a comprehensive look at his body of work, into a book. History Professor Rosemarie Schade said that her defence was one of the best she’d ever heard, and only one other full-length treatment exists of Gorz’s work and thought.

Levy sits on the editorial board of Canadian Dimension magazine, and is involved with a group promoting proportional representation in Montreal. She has been involved in municipal politics for many years, and helped found the local Green Party.

- Eugenia Xenos


Sudha Krishnan: TV reporter learns poise from dance

Don’t be surprised if Sudha Krishnan’s name sounds familiar. As a part-time researcher and reporter with CFCF’s Pulse News, the 31-year-old has been a regular part of Montreal’s most popular supper newscast since last June.

While she says obtaining the job before graduating from Concordia’s Journalism program was a matter of "being at the right place at the right time," her hard work certainly had something to do with it. Krishnan wrote for The Concordian, was CRSG Radio news director, freelanced for The Gazette, interned at CTV News and hosted a municipal affairs program on community TV.

"I felt I couldn’t obtain a job with just my BA," she explained. "I needed to practise the skills I was learning and gain experience."

Krishnan said classical Indian dancing, a fast-moving version of the classical ballet she has studied for more than 20 years, also prepared her for her career. "On TV, as in dancing, you have to perform," she said. "Being onstage developed a certain boldness. I learned how to handle myself under stress."

Although Krishnan hopes to stay on at Pulse, she would also like to work in another city. "For a journalist, change can be good," she said. "It allows you to grow."

- Sylvain-Jacques Desjardin


Here are the valedictorians who have been chosen to speak for their

classmates at their convocation ceremonies.

Arts and Science, morning ceremony: Susan Dinan, BA

Arts and Science, afternoon ceremony: Monika Conway, BSc

Commerce and Administration: Richard Bengian, BComm

Engineering and Computer Science: Rafaele Delogu, BEng

Fine Arts chooses not to have a valedictorian, but at their ceremony this year, Music Professor Andrew Homzy will direct the Andrew Homzy Jazz Orchestra in a tribute to Duke Ellington to salute the centenary of his birth. The orchestra was specially assembled for this occasion, and will feature many Concordia faculty and graduates, including Dave Turner and Dave Clark. They will play Ellington’s "Togo Brava" Suite, which he wrote in 1971.

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