By Ellen Tsaprailis

Convocating will be extra special for four students who are receiving the highest medals awarded annually for their impressive academic accomplishments. Receiving either perfect GPA scores or just a hair short of perfection, these students are thrilled to have their hard work recognized.

Elyn Rowe is this year’s Chancellor’s Medal winner—an award given to a graduating undergraduate student of outstanding academic achievement.

“I am very humbled to have been chosen for such a prestigious award,” says Rowe. “Upon receiving notification about the award from the president’s office, I couldn’t put my excitement into words so I just forwarded the email to my parents back home in North Bay, Ont. My mum was over the moon excited about the news. My dad was also very excited and tried to convince me to fly back to accept the medal in person.”

Elyn Rowe

Elyn Rowe

The Honours Neuroscience graduate is already in Vancouver doing doctoral studies in pathology and lab medicine at the University of British Columbia.

“My experience at Carleton was amazing,” says Rowe. “I initially chose Carleton because I knew I would get the opportunity to do research as an undergraduate student, but I had no idea just how much experience I would get.”

So much, in fact, that she was able to jump to PhD studies with an undergraduate degree.

Rowe’s Carleton experience was enhanced by volunteering with the Science Student Success Centre and the Let’s Talk Science outreach program. She helped pitch and launch a science blog with the Charlatan student newspaper, and had her brain-inspired pressed flower art displayed and auctioned off in the Society for Neuroscience’s annual Brain and Mental Health Art Show.

“I am endlessly grateful for the opportunities I was given at Carleton, and for the people who supported and mentored me along the way,” says Rowe who spent the majority of her time studying in the Nesbitt Biology Building, but enjoyed breaks in the peace and quiet of the greenhouses.

No Stranger to Winning Awards

Anne McKay is no stranger to winning awards. Having graduated in November with a BA in Philosophy and awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at that time, McKay is now the recipient of the Governor General’s Silver Medal which is only awarded during Spring Convocation.

“I feel privileged and honoured to have received this amazing award,” says McKay. “My experience at Carleton was incredible. I returned to university after having been away for 30 years (I am now 56). My sole purpose of returning to school later in life was to study philosophy—something I had longed to do.”

Anne McKay

Anne McKay

McKay says she worked very hard for her perfect grade point average.

“One thing that really helped with all the essay writing required in philosophy was to allow for one week of nothing more than thinking of the essay topic and the next week to actually write it,” says McKay. “I found that walking my dogs was the best time to ruminate over a topic.”

McKay is now enjoying her retirement and time with her one-year-old grandson.

Donated by the Governor General of Canada, two undergraduate students standing at the head of the graduating class are receiving the Governor General’s Silver Medal.

Studying Everywhere and Anywhere

The second is Joy McLeod, who will cross the stage to receive an Honours BA in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience and Mental Health.

“I feel extremely honoured,” says McLeod. “I have a strong affection for Carleton. I transferred to Carleton because life required that I move back to Ottawa and, truthfully, I wasn’t thrilled about living in Ottawa again.

“Carleton quickly became my favourite thing about the city, brimming with people as passionate about psychology (and neuroscience) as I am. I’ve met such wonderful people here, students and faculty alike.”

The key to McLeod’s perfect GPA was to study everywhere and anywhere.

Joy McLeod

Joy McLeod

“As a mature student, with competing demands, I study at home, on campus, in between classes, on the bus, and even when I’m out for a jog using audio-recorded notes,” says McLeod. “My favourite spot though is likely my bed, snuggled up with my cat. The trick is not to get too comfortable!”

McLeod is excited to continue her studies at Carleton in pursuing her master’s in Psychology under the supervision of Prof. Chris Davis.

This year’s recipient of the President’s Medal—an award given annually to the student with the highest standing in a general degree program of studies—is Peter Richardson.

“I am honoured to receive this award and am grateful for the support and assistance of Carleton University faculty members throughout my time here,” says Richardson.

Spring Convocation is taking place from Monday, June 10 until Friday, June 14. The ceremonies will be broadcast online via live streaming at

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in
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