By Suzanne Bowness

Ask new Carleton grad Samphe Ballamingie to reflect on her undergraduate career at Carleton and her top advice to current students comes to mind quickly: get involved.

She had this revelation herself in first year. After taking only night classes and feeling isolated on campus, Ballamingie began attending events and looking for organizations that matched her interests. “I started to put myself out there, and my university life became a lot richer. My eyes were opened to a lot of different opportunities that I’m really grateful that I had now,” says Ballamingie, who volunteered with the Womxn’s Centre and joined the Sociology and Anthropology Student Association in her second year.

Samphe Ballamingie

Samphe Ballamingie

Now that dedication to campus life has earned Ballamingie a Provost Scholar Award, valued at $1,000 and presented to undergraduate students who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in research, community engagement, immersive learning and international activities. Ballamingie was one of eight students recognized in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“[The Provost Scholar Award is] incredibly helpful, especially now when we’re in such challenging times, to know that I have the support of my department behind me as I move on to graduate studies. And there are so many wonderful people who also won this award, so to be amongst those really talented and passionate individuals is such an honour.”

Grad Stories 2020: Sociology Major Samphe Ballamingie Recognized with Provost Scholar Award

Finding a Love for Sociology

Ballamingie says she fell in love with the sociology field when her introductory sociology course made her see the theoretical frameworks that underlie real-life experiences. She also appreciated the community-engaged courses in her program, where students had the opportunity to do things like visit the Parkdale Food Centre to talk about food security.

“Being able to engage with my community so closely was a really wonderful experience throughout my program,” says Ballamingie, who also took a minor in environmental studies.

In her final year, Ballamingie came full circle as an Enriched Support Program facilitator for the first-year sociology course, where she ran weekly workshops to help students transition into university life. “I was able to reflect back on my own three years of schooling and share my experiences with my students,” she says.

Ballamingie also took up another opportunity in her final year, a FASS Undergraduate Research Internship to research the evolving role of libraries in fostering greater equity and inclusion. Supervised by Geography and Environmental Studies Instructor Paul Williams, Ballamingie travelled through Scandinavia to interview librarians in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, comparing library practices in those countries to those in Ontario. “There’s so much that libraries have to offer, and their role in leveling the social and economic playing field for vulnerable populations is so important,” says Ballamingie, who published her research and presented her findings to the faculty.

Grad Stories 2020: Sociology Major Samphe Ballamingie Recognized with Provost Scholar Award

A Passion for Filmmaking

Filmmaking was yet another interest that Ballamingie developed during her years at Carleton. She is a videographer for the Urban Legends poetry collective in Ottawa, and worked with Ottawa’s Digi60 Filmmakers Festival to create a podcast series interviewing women in the film industry.

In 2019, she won the “Extra Court Award” at the YouTube Creators for Change and United Nations Climate Change Mobile Film Festival for her short film ACT NOW on CLIMATE CHANGE, documenting youth climate protests in October 2019. Ballamingie captured the footage on her phone and was invited to Paris for the awards ceremony.

“It was a really wonderful experience to meet filmmakers from around the world and also talk about issues of climate change,” says Ballamingie, whose film is set to screen as a trailer in theatres across France.

Ballamingie will continue to pursue her passion for filmmaking in the fall at University College, London, where she was accepted into the documentary filmmaking program. “I really want to pursue a career in visual storytelling and filmmaking,” she says, adding that she plans to use the medium to further delve into the issues she’s discovered through her studies of sociology and environmental studies.

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Friday, June 26, 2020 in ,
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