2013 Undergraduate Student of the Year

BA 2014: International Relations Major, French Minor

  • UBC Arts Co-op Program 2013 Undergraduate Student of the Year Award Winner ($1000)
  • Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) 2013 Student of the Year Award Winner  ($1000)

Excellence in the Workplace

Alex exemplifies many qualities of a successful young professional.

He made an impression on his co-op employer from the moment he went into the interview with the Northeast Asia Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). Alex’s enthusiasm, desire to learn, excellent spoken French, and general knowledge convinced the Division to hire him over a graduate student.  What started as a 4-month co-op position quickly turned into an 8-month co-op position: his supervisor Eugenie Cormier-Lassonde found Alex’s level of professionalism “comparable to the best graduate students [they] have hired”.

As a Junior Officer at DFATD, Alex mastered the ability to prioritize and adapt to the unpredictable nature of government work. During his work term, he contributed to numerous projects, from managing ministerial correspondence, event logistics, and consultation work, to supporting and filling in for multiple colleagues in times of crisis. He also wrote briefs, conducted research and analysis, and created presentations for the department touching on political and trade matters that were acknowledged by his employer as “vital to the progress of important files for Canada”.

Alex was entrusted with major projects at DFATD. According to his employer, he went above and beyond the requirements of his co-op student position and assumed additional responsibilities without hesitation. With limited supervision, he successfully organized a major event for the government and responded to unpredictable events with open arms and the utmost professionalism. He applied his love for working with people and knowledge in international relations (IR), which proved essential and invaluable to his work. Alex was the glue of his team and they complimented him on his flexibility, availability and dedication to DFATD.

Alex is also a pursuer of lifelong personal development. In his work term, he never stopped searching for opportunities to test his strengths, apply his studies, and reflect on his experiences.  Alex says “… I simply would not have been able to do my job as effectively [without my education] and would have faced a very steep learning curve.” He now has a greater understanding of both the value and the limitations of his degree and is working to fill gaps in his knowledge in IR. Alex is now determined to join and work for the Canadian government after graduating in May 2014.

Academic Excellence

With a grade point average in Arts of 90.3, Alex was awarded the Wesbrook Scholarship Award and the Premier Undergraduate Scholarship which makes him one of the top 10 undergraduate students at UBC out of 39,984!

To deepen his fluency in French and international capacity, Alex took part in the UBC Go Global Program. Alex received the Junior Officer position in part because of his improved French through his Go Global experiences.

  • Completed Reading Montreal, Summer 2011 (Global Seminar led by UBC Prof Joel Castenguay-Belanger focusing on French language and Quebecois literature in Montreal)
  • Studied on exchange at Sciences Po Paris, Term 1 September 2012

Extra-Curricular Achievements

His outstanding service to the UBC student community through a series of leadership roles also distinguishes him, including:

  • Director of Finance for the Model United Nations in 2011-2012, organizing the Model United Nations conference for Western Canada in Vancouver in 2012
  • Vice-President External for the UBC Debate Society (which involved organizing registration and travel arrangements for over 100 debaters at 20 tournaments across Canada and representing UBC at a 2013 debate tournament in Berlin, Germany)
  • Editor of the UBC Journal of International Affairs
  • Active member of the Arts Co-op Student Association since 2012 (which involved co-facilitating an interview skills workshop for prospective co-op students,  advising student relocating to Ottawa, and speaking at recruitment events)

Alex is a talented young professional who is intellectually engaged, service-oriented, and passionate: he embodies all of the criteria the awards seek to recognize, and we applaud him on his accomplishments.