Carleton University may not be holding Convocation ceremonies this spring, but there are still inspiring stories to be told.

Carleton has created a one-stop shop for its 6,000 graduates to post videos and messages, engage in online events, watch congratulatory videos, and more. They can all be found here:

For more information on the schedule for virtual celebrations visit:

Below are just a few of the amazing stories behind this year’s graduates.

Dhanachitra Rettanai Kannan

Kannan is the 100th student to graduate from Sprott’s PhD in Management program. She fought cancer during her studies and began writing a book.

Growing up in India, Kannan noticed that even when locally made products were better, many people chose to purchase products such as cosmetics, cars and electronics from western brands. And when people couldn’t afford genuine products, they would purchase counterfeits. This phenomenon is known as consumer xenocentrism, which is the preference for products from more developed countries, rather than one’s own.

Kannan’s research explored the similarities and differences between four countries—India, Kenya, Ecuador and Romania. She wanted to understand how this consumer behaviour developed in the unique economic, social and historical context of each country.

The main findings of the research showed that status, peer pressure and international travel were the key factors contributing to this behaviour. She also found that individuals who were well-travelled tended to be highly-xenocentric.

Her thesis became one of the largest studies on xenocentrism and the first study to examine ownership of foreign products.

When Kannan began the program, she was recovering from thyroid cancer. While a student, she experienced a relapse and needed to undergo the entire treatment process again.

Currently, she’s finalizing a book called Falling Up: 9 Ways to Transform Trauma into Triumph. She completed the book while working on her thesis as a way to cope with her health issues, hoping that her story gives strength to others who may be struggling.

Samphe Ballamingie

Ballamingie is a sociology student with a minor in environmental studies. She is described as an outstanding student with incredible initiative, skill and a talent for explaining and analyzing complex concepts through storytelling.

She is a recipient of this years’ Provost Scholar Award.

Last summer, she worked on a research study that focused on how public libraries foster community through a FASS Undergraduate Research Internship. As part of this research, she interviewed head librarians across Scandinavia and generated both scholarly and lay outputs. She is also an accomplished filmmaker. Last year, she won a prestigious jury award at the YouTube Creators for Change and United Nations Climate Change Mobile Film Festival in Paris for her short film that documented youth climate protests in October 2019. She has also volunteered at the Womxn’s Centre, facilitated the Enriched Support Program for an introductory sociology course and worked at the Digi60 Filmmakers Festival where she created a podcast series interviewing women in the film industry.

Jordan Gray

Gray is a global and international studies student with a minor in Indigenous studies. He is the Provost Scholar Award winner for 2020. He spoke as part of the prime minister’s commencement address to Canadian university graduates. (

Last year, Gray presented the results of an original research project at the University of Oldenburg in Germany and was the first Carleton student to attend the World Congress on Undergraduate Research. He was awarded the Lincoln M. Alexander award for the elimination of racial discrimination, at which time Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell described Jordan as someone who “demonstrated commitment, creativity, and dedication to social justice.”

Gray has participated in Alternative Spring Break in Ecuador, travelled to the Netherlands as part of a course where he engaged with the principles of international humanitarian law, and engaged in transnational research with students from the Free University of Berlin. He has participated in the Carleton University Research Opportunity Program on a project that contributed a high-impact solution to ongoing misconceptualizations on traditional governance systems between the Mi’kmaq Nation and the Government of Canada. He has also worked with Carleton’s Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education on an Indigenous language revitalization project, which gave him the opportunity to deliver remarks before the president of the United Nations General Assembly at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues based on his research.

Carleton Computer Science Students Complete First-in-Canada Shopify Dev Degree

Dev Degree is a first-in-Canada four-year, work-integrated learning program that combines hands-on developer experience at Shopify with an accredited computer science degree. Tuition is covered and the students are paid a salary.

On May 1, the first group of Carleton students finished—and most are now working at Shopify, one of Canada’s most valuable companies on the stock market.

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Carleton University

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