Meet the 2019 Valedictorians
Seneca’s valedictorians, as chosen by their faculty, possess the qualities that most represent student success at Seneca. It is their commitment, dedication, leadership and overall approach to learning that has singled them out as representatives of their graduating class.
Friday, June 21, 2019 – 10 a.m.
Melody is graduating from the three-year Business Administration – Marketing advanced diploma program. Melody was integral in securing a first-place finish for Seneca at the 2018 Ontario Colleges’ Marketing Competition. She has also won two other provincial and national competitions and received numerous awards, including the Parmalat Canada Bursary and the Marc Caira Business Marketing Award. During her time at Seneca, Melody worked as a treasurer of the School of Marketing’s first marketing club and helped to raise more than $300,000 for various national charities. She plans to launch her own business in the future that focuses on creativity and innovation.
Kristen Ashley Houlahan
Friday, June 21, 2019 – 2 p.m.
Kristen is graduating from the Human Resources Management graduate certificate program. She previously completed an undergraduate degree at McMaster University in health studies and gerontology, where she received an academic excellence award. Kristen has worked as a research assistant studying the impacts that virtual reality can have on the on-boarding process for new employees. As a cancer survivor, she continues to give back to her community, volunteering as a child life specialist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, supporting patient care and well-being. She has also participated in numerous projects, including the World Wildlife Fund’s Designing Change for a Living Planet. Kristen is excited to be starting her career in human resources with RECIPE Unlimited Corporation.
Heather Ann Clark
Saturday, June 22, 2019 – 10 a.m.
Heather is graduating from the Event and Media Production diploma program. After completing a bachelor’s degree in media studies at Western University, she felt she needed more hands-on training. She came across Seneca’s two-year diploma and liked that it touched every aspect of event planning, from beginning to end. During her time at Seneca, she met many people, took part in academic experiences and opportunities she won’t soon forget. Some of her best memories are from helping classmates at Seneca events such as the Inspired Spaces Tabletop Competition and Seneca Coalesce, the School of Creative Arts & Animation’s student showcase. Heather plans to put the skills she learned at Seneca to use in her new career in live event pyrotechnics.
Saturday, June 22, 2019 – 2 p.m.
Alexandra is graduating from the part-time Social Service Worker diploma program. For the past five years, she has been involved in helping to end violence against women. She developed an interest in the field after volunteering at a local women’s shelter and joined Seneca in pursuit of a formal education. Alexandra was selected as a peer champion for a provincewide campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence through educational events she organizes within local communities. She is currently a relief shelter worker as well as an interpreter for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Alexandra plans to continue her studies in social work.
Sunday, June 23, 2019 – 10 a.m.
Emma is graduating from the Honours Bachelor of Child Development degree program. She is highly involved with the First Peoples@Seneca, which offers advisement, study spaces, tutoring, cultural and social events, resources and clubs for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Emma has been a strong leader for Seneca’s Indigenous students, volunteering countless times to represent First Peoples@Seneca at a variety of on-campus events. She is working this summer to develop Indigenous-focused curriculum for the School of Early Childhood Education. Emma plans to work in social justice education in the future, prioritizing the well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families. She is also this year’s recipient of the Seneca Cup, the highest award given to a Seneca student.
Sunday, June 23, 2019 – 2 p.m.
Bhumika is graduating from the Coronary Care Nursing graduate certificate program. This is her second graduate certificate from Seneca, the first being in Nursing Leadership and Management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from India. During her time at Seneca, Bhumika enjoyed learning about different cultures through interacting with other students on campus. She has always dreamed about making a difference in people’s lives and has been doing so through volunteering at a community retirement home. She has also been involved in fundraising efforts with charities that support underprivileged children and families in India. Bhumika plans to complete her Canadian registered nursing license exam later this year, as well as the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination in the future.
Monday, June 24, 2019 – 10 a.m.
Qia is graduating from the Fire Protection Engineering Technology advanced diploma program. Although she studied law in China, many of her friends were engineering students who inspired her to switch fields. She chose to further expand her academic horizons by completing an exchange program in Taiwan before coming to Canada. During her time at Seneca, Qia started as a member of the Fire Protection Student Association and moved up to president. She also worked with International Student Services, whose members have become her family away from home. Qia has started her career in the fire protection industry as a building and fire code technologist at Matteo Gilfillan & Associates Inc. and she plans to make a life in Canada.
Ben Leo David Rotem
Monday, June 24, 2019 – 2 p.m.
Ben is graduating from the Honours Bachelor of Aviation Technology degree program. He started his academic career at Seneca as a high school student in the aviation dual-credit program and now teaches other high school students the same dual-credit course. Ben has received numerous accolades during his time as a student, including the Alumni Student Leadership Award, the Wayne Norrison Student Government Award, the BMO Financial Group Endowed General Bursary, the Robert Froebel Memorial Scholarship, and the Ontario First Generation Bursary. He is an advocate for the Aviation Technology program, frequently speaking on behalf of Seneca at various industry events and expos. Ben’s career continues to soar as he begins a full-time job as as First Officer for Jazz.
Camille Deniece Wilkes
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 – 10 a.m.
Camille is an international student, graduating from the Early Childhood Education diploma program. She completed a bachelor’s degree in information systems development in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago, where she worked as a Java programmer and systems analyst. After travelling and interacting with children, Camille moved to Canada to pursue her interest in child care. During her time at Seneca, she volunteered with the SMILE Mentoring Program. She completed four field placements, including at the Seneca ECE Lab School and the Shaughnessy Children’s Centre, both of which have become paid roles. Camille plans to continue her studies in child development and behavioural therapy.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 – 2 p.m.
Tia is graduating from the Fashion Arts advanced diploma program. She explored many creative avenues before following her interest in fashion, including website design, social media and marketing. She has also worked with multiple tech startups. During her time at Seneca, Tia assisted with the year-end fashion show, Redefining Design, where she received the Up-andcoming Designer Award. She also won the Fabricland Distributors Inc. Endowed Award and the Seneca Association of Black Educators Scholarship earlier this year. Tia is currently working with Seneca Applied Research & Innovation to develop 3D body-measurement technology. She is also working on launching her own brand of sustainable techwear called H’OUR.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – 10 a.m.
Nayza is graduating from the Accounting diploma program. She grew up in Brazil where she completed a degree in accounting before coming to Canada. During her time at Seneca, she was vice-president for the Student Leaders of Accounting and Financial Services club, where she led fundraising campaigns and networking events. She was also a student ambassador at Seneca’s Open House and the accounting supervisor for the Seneca Student Federation. A contact she made at a school networking event has resulted in employment for Nayza. She recently started working in the small business department at the accounting firm BDO. Nayza plans to return to Seneca in the future to pursue the Financial Technology graduate certificate program.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – 2 p.m.
Asghar is graduating from the International Business diploma program. He chose to return to Seneca after completing an advanced diploma in Computer Programming and Analysis years earlier. Asghar is a mature student with industry experience in supply chain management and has previously operated his own consulting fi rm. He is described as a hard-working team player, often praised by his professors for his initiative and involvement in helping students with special needs. Asghar plans to apply his newly gained skills in the international business industry, focusing on globalization and approaching different markets.
Thursday, June 27, 2019 – 10 a.m.
Megan is graduating from the Honours Bachelor of Community Mental Health degree program. Her academic journey at Seneca started in 2015 when she entered the two-year Social Service Worker (SSW) diploma program. She was inspired by her SSW program co-ordinator to further pursue her interest in mental health, with a focus on the biopsychosocial, cultural and political factors of infl uence. During her time at Seneca, Megan’s involvement came full circle as a student leader promoting the Community Mental Health program to current SSW students at information sessions. Megan is working as a program services caseworker for a women’s homeless shelter and plans to continue fighting for anti-oppressive change.