The Ring

Far from her comfort zone, grad grows and shines

Wed, 2014-06-04 17:16


As recipient of the Jubilee Medal for the Faculty of Science, Liyuan (Leslie) Ren is finishing top of her faculty. Despite earning a near-perfect 9.0 grade average, for Ren, the university experience was about more than just academics.

“It was a pretty challenging last five years,” she admits with a smile. “I wasn’t even aware there was an award, so I’m actually pleasantly surprised!”

After completing high school in her native China, Ren was determined to move to Canada, learn English and get a university education. She chose UVic for the climate, beauty and size, and because it was a research-based university. “It was the best decision I ever made,” she says confidently.

Theatre grad already in good company

Wed, 2014-06-04 17:13

Johnson in the Theatre SKAM office.
Johnson in the Theatre SKAM office. Behind him are interns Colette Habel and Chase Hiebert—also UVic theatre students.

Few students would be proud of being called a scam artist, but theatre grad Max Johnson is—just note the alternate spelling. Johnson, who has been working for local professional theatrical company Theatre SKAM since 2011 (associates are charmingly dubbed “SKAM artists”), is graduating this June with a double major in writing and theatre. And the practical experience he learned at Phoenix Theatre has made him a valued member of SKAM’s team.

Noted children's advocate seeks wider impacts

Wed, 2014-06-04 17:09


Carolyn Peacock has always been an advocate for children, even when she was one herself.

In grade three, she often went home with bloodied hands after getting the strap at the Edmonton school she attended. Her crime? Defending other children who were being bullied. Those children were usually immigrants and were picked on, as she too had been at school.

Congratulations, Spring 2014 grads!

Wed, 2014-06-04 16:45

Thousands of UVic students and their families and friends will gather on campus this month to celebrate the achievement of an academic milestone. During Spring Convocation, from June 9–13, nine ceremonies will be held to confer degrees, diplomas or certificates upon 3,554 graduating students.

This spring marks the 50th anniversary of UVic’s first convocation ceremony. Members of the class of 1964 will attend the 10 a.m., June 13 ceremony to commemorate their part of university history.

Convocation medals and awards, Spring 2014

Wed, 2014-06-04 16:36

Congratulations and best wishes to all convocating students. Read more about Spring Convocation 2014.


Governor-General's Gold Medal (best Doctoral thesis)
Dr. Andrew Pon
PhD, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Engineering grad casts new light on nanoscale interactions

Wed, 2014-06-04 16:19

Zehtabi-Oskuie. Credit: UVic Photo Services
Zehtabi-Oskuie. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Researchers all over the world dream of making new discoveries in well-established fields, but engineering grad Ana Zehtabi-Oskuie’s path has gone straight to the edge of an emerging field. While studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Tehran, Zehtabi-Oskuie became intrigued by optical trapping, a method pioneered in 2009 by electrical engineering professor Dr. Reuven Gordon, a team of UVic grad students and Dr. Romain Quidant at the Europe-based Institute of Photonic Sciences.

Commerce grad thrives on change

Wed, 2014-06-04 10:38


Denis Luchyshyn, a first-generation Canadian who moved to Vancouver from Belarus with his pregnant mother when he was seven, credits his adaptability for much of his success. “I attended six or seven different schools growing up,” he explains, “that has had a lot of impact on who I grew up to be. I had to take care of my sister a lot, too, before my dad moved out to Canada as well.”

Graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce from the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business this June, Luchyshyn has already received numerous accolades both at school and in the workplace. At work, he has been acknowledged for achieving high sales goals and having the “Most Positive Attitude.” And at UVic, Luchyshyn competed in Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec, along with classmate Kyle Kozma, and was also on a winning team that presented a mobile app to the United Way.

Life lessons in perseverance

Wed, 2014-06-04 10:31


UVic law student Ben McConnell will be graduating with a JD (Juris Doctor) degree in June. And like many of his fellow classmates, McConnell worked hard to get to where he is today. The satisfaction of convocation day—the sense of achievement in the face of challenging coursework, long reading lists and intensive research that a law degree demands—is awesome for anyone. McConnell’s path, and his commitment to education, have been distinct and remarkable. In addition to having to contend with the everyday realities of being a law student, McConnell is totally blind—a result of early-onset glaucoma and another serious eye disease that afflicted him during childhood.

Planning on a smaller scale pays off big for grad

Wed, 2014-05-28 16:14


Many people associate municipal planning with large urbanized communities. For geography and environmental studies grad Richard T. Buchan, however, some of Vancouver Island’s smaller communities offered much larger opportunities. Living, studying and completing co-op work terms in Port Hardy, Campbell River, and North Cowichan gave Buchan great opportunities for hands-on learning in community planning.

“I think every student should take the co-op option and apply for work in small towns,” says Buchan, “you gain work experience and often have more responsibilities in a smaller community.”

Elders’ voices find home on Google Earth: the Stz’uminus Storied Places Digital Atlas

Wed, 2014-03-26 12:13

Becker's project on display the 2014 JCURA fair.
Becker's project on display the 2014 JCURA fair.

Long before settler culture attached the names of explorers, businessmen and political leaders to the mountains, rivers and landscape we now call Vancouver Island, the traditional names used by First Nations carried a wealth of information about those places—information that anthropology student Amy Becker has been working to preserve.

Becker, recipient of a 2013-14 Jamie Cassels Undergrad Research Award (JCURA), explains “Indigenous place names are embedded in the culture, landscape, language and identities of the people who use them.”