Honouring Graduating Students

Heidi Cook - first Indigenous graduate of the prestigious Master’s in Development Practice

Heidi Cook – UWinnipeg’s inaugural First Nations graduate of the prestigious Master’s in Development Practice

UWinnipeg congratulates all our 2014 Spring graduates. Every student has a story. Convocation is a time to celebrate our students and share some of their stories.  Meet some of our students and read about their UWinnipeg experience.

Heidi Cook – Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Heidi Cook is UWinnipeg’s inaugural First Nation graduate of the prestigious Master’s in Development Practice and graduates this month. Cook is a member of the Misipawistik Cree Nation. Her interests include the protection of lands and waters, understanding and strengthening Treaty relationships, cultural teachings and ceremonies, and living a good life.While excelling in her studies, Cook remained grounded in her own community of Misipawistik Cree Nation through continued work and community responsibilities.

Heidi Cook while on her MDP practicum

Heidi Cook while on her MDP practicum

“I am very happy to have found a program that allows me to further my knowledge in a wide range of areas, ” said Cook. “The MDP helped me to sharpen my existing skills and develop in areas where I felt I needed more experience. The personal and professional networks that I’ve built through the program and in the field placements are invaluable to me.”

“I think her combination of natural curiosity as a scholar, her volunteer work, and her high academic achievement makes her an exceptional student,” expressed her professor Dr. Jaime Cidro. “Her development as a student both inside and outside the classroom speaks to the larger vision of the UWinnipeg in terms of community engagement and Indigenous achievement.”

Cook’s MDP field placements were at the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and the University College of the North. These two experiences reinforced her commitment to strengthening community-based capacity and the implementation of treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) at the local levels.

“Heidi is a model student for the MDP,” said Claire Reid, Director of MDP. “She is committed to working with indigenous communities in Manitoba and Canada to achieve development that is just, improves opportunities for health and employment, and ensures lands, waters and rights are protected. Heidi without a doubt, will be a leader and a force for positive change in Canada.”

About the MDP Program
UWinnipeg offers a unique Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) in Indigenous Development thanks to a prestigious MacArthur Foundation grant. This two-year program of study consists of course work, applied research and field placements. The program transcends borders by offering online “global classrooms” that will connect students to an international network of 24 other universities as well as with local, rural, and remote communities around the world.

Nils Deppe, BSc

Nils Deppe, BSc

Nils Deppe
Mathematical Physics, Honours, Bsc
Graduating mathematical physics, honours student Nils Deppe, bachelor of science, has been drawn to the study of black holes. “There is much hope that a better understanding of black holes will aid significantly in the development and understanding of a quantum theory of gravity,” said Deppe.

Deppe has accepted an offer from the ivy league Cornell University where he begins his PhD studies this August which includes full funding through the duration of his degree. Deppe has respectfully declined his acceptance to the University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto which also included full funding.

“I believe The University of Winnipeg has prepared me for graduate school at Cornell University largely because of the research experience one can gain here as an undergraduate,” expressed Deppe. “I have been fortunate enough to have been able to do research for physics professor Dr. Gabor Kunstatter for the past two years. I think this will prove to be invaluable, and I would like to thank him for all the time, effort and knowledge he has contributed to my education.”

Deppe looks forward to continuing his research at Cornell University. He has expressed that his experience at The University of Winnipeg has been amazing, “I have really enjoyed the smaller class sizes. This has allowed me to develop a much more personal relationship with my professors. It has also meant that they are much more available if one has questions about course material, or even about other things.”

“I have worked with many excellent students during my twenty-eight years at UWinnipeg, however,  Nils is among the very best,” said Kunstatter his mentor. “The research he has carried out as an undergraduate is on par with that of graduate students many years his senior. Despite this superb academic record, Nils is by no means one dimensional. He is a kind, considerate person with a keen sense of humour who is always willing to help out his fellow student. It is my firm belief that if Nils continues on his current track, he will be one of the stars among the next generation of numerical relativists.”

About the Physics Program
The study of nature at its most fundamental level offers the opportunity to explore phenomena at all levels – from the world of the atom to the reaches of the universe. In our nationally recognized Physics department, you’ll study the nature of diamonds and semiconductors, the inner workings of the nucleus, and the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in diagnosing disease. You’ll imagine, deduce, and investigate the inner workings of black holes, hot space, chaos, and quantum gravity.

Lauren Finkel, BA

Lauren Finkel, BA

Lauren Finkel – History, Honours, BA

Lauren Finkel is a University of Winnipeg Collegiate Alum and she is graduating from UWinnipeg this June. She has earned a bachelor of arts in history with a focus on Canadian History, which she says she is obsessed with.

Finkel has been active with the UWinnipeg’s Oral History Centre and has completed two oral history projects with her colleague Hayley Caldwell, the Winnipeg Roller Rink Oral History Project and Bernstein’s Deli. Finkel and Caldwell also organized the University of Winnipeg Oral History Centre Students’ Association. They have organized two student-led oral history conferences to aid students (past and present) to showcase their work in a public forum.

Finkel spent last summer working in Dawson City, YT as an archives assistant at the Dawson City Museum.

“It was an amazing place to work,” expressed Finkel. “The town is historically representative of 1898. There’s only one paved road, the sidewalks are wooden boardwalks, and the only corporation in town is the CIBC bank. I helped visitors and locals do genealogical and local historical research which was interesting.”

Professor Dr. Nolan Reilly, co-director, Oral History Centre, is delighted that Lauren is continuing her studies in Winnipeg. “Lauren is an intelligent, dedicated student,” Reilly commented, “who helped organize the Oral History Students Association and the OHC’s first student sponsored Oral History conferences in 2012 and 2013”

Finkel is very excited to begin her master’s in Archival Studies, Joint University of Manitoba/University of Winnipeg Master of Arts programme this fall.

About the Oral History Centre
The Oral History Centre serves as a hub for faculty and students at UWinnipeg, for members of Winnipeg’s and Manitoba’s diverse communities, and for the broader national and global communities of oral history practitioners. The overall goal of the centre is to provide collaborative learning. This includes the practice and theory of oral history and widening the scope of research.


Morganne Layton - BSc (Kin, Athletic Therapy)

Morganne Layton – BSc (Kin, Athletic Therapy)

Morganne Layton – BSc, Kinesiology, Athletic Therapy
Hailing from Sydney Mines, NS, Morganne Layton is graduating this June with a BSc (Kin, Athletic Therapy) and has been selected for the CATA Student Leadership award.

Layton was a competitive highland dancer for 15 years before she had an injury that introduced her to athletic therapy (AT). Already graduating in 2010 from Cape Breton University with a BSc in Biology she wanted to continue her studies to become an athletic therapist and decided on UWinnipeg.

“It gave me a chance to move away from my small town and experience city life,” said Layton. “UWinnipeg was affordable and offered small class sizes with an amazing faculty.  At UWinnipeg they give you every chance to be successful if you are willing to work for it.  Deciding to attend UWinnipeg is one of the best decisions I have made to develop myself both personally and professionally.”

Layton has enjoyed her practicum opportunities within her program. Her first practicum in her second year was with the Women’s Varsity volleyball team. “The experience and support working with Coach Scott, fellow student Andy Grant and the team confirmed the program was right for me, expressed Layton.”

She has been the student therapist for the varsity wrestling teams over these past two years. “I enjoy being a member of the team,” explained Layton. “The opportunities Coach Bruce and the athletics department allowed me to experience are second to none and has greatly enhanced my learning and education in AT”.

“Morganne has been a conscientious student always willing to learn and apply her skills”, said Dr. Glen Bergeron, Professor + Associate Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology.  “We will be very proud to have her represent UWinnipeg and our Athletic Therapy program when she returns to Cape Breton.”

Layton plans to certify as an AT and return to Cape Breton  to work and develop her field  in her community.

About Kinesiology and Applied Health (KIN )
Kinesiology and Applied Health (KIN) at UWinnipeg is designed to develop an understanding of research and practice in physical activity, fitness, exercise, and sport. Courses focus on the what, why, and how of human physical activity in three main areas of concentration, namely: Teaching, Kinesiology, Athletic Therapy and Coaching.

Christian Boulley + Jesse Hill (on the right)

Christian Boulley, BA + Jesse Hill, BA  (on the right)

Christian Boulley + Jesse Hill
Two University of Winnipeg graduating students took first and a third place in the national Classical Association of Canada’s (CAC) annual sight translation competitions in ancient Greek and Latin and a first in the Senior Essay Writing Competition.

“These two languages are critical to the discipline of Classics,” expressed Dr. Pauline Ripat, UWinnipeg Chair of Classics. “Christian Boulley and Jesse Hill have joined the ranks of their numerous prize-winning predecessors in UWinnipeg’s Classics department. Jesse won first place in the Senior Latin Sight Competition as well as in the Senior Essay Writing Competition. Christian earned third place in the Senior Greek Competition. Our department is delighted to see our students receive the national recognition their talents deserve.”

These wins highlight the strength of UWinnipeg’s Classic department and quality of teaching. They bring the total number of such recognitions won since 1999 by UWinnipeg Classics students to thirty-one, and provide continued support for the Classics Department’s national reputation for excellence.

“Being in the final year of my Classics honours degree, I’m very pleased to have gained this distinction from the CAC, which nationally recognizes the four years of hard enjoyable and extremely rewarding work,” expressed Hill graduating with a bachelor of arts, Honours in Classics. “I’m also thrilled that our (Hill and Boulley) wins reflect well on UWinnipeg’s Classics department, whose professors have been so supportive and encouraging throughout my degree.”

“It brings me great pleasure, in my final year at the University of Winnipeg, to be able to demonstrate what I have learned from the many brilliant and incredibly supportive faculty members in the Classics department,” said Boulley graduating with a bachelor of arts double Honours in English and Classics. “Since my second year at the UWinnipeg, when I began to learn Greek, I have pursued my goals with the knowledge that I had the full support of a great many intelligent and admirable people. This success is theirs as much as it is my own.

The Classical Association of Canada runs annual sight translation competitions in ancient Greek and Latin and also annual essay writing competitions. Undergraduates from programmes nation-wide compete for the coveted winners’ spots, which carry a great deal more prestige than monetary rewards.

About the Classics Program
Democracy began in Greece. The Roman Empire rose and fell. There were extraordinary achievements in art, literature, and philosophy in both Greece and Rome. All this is highlighted by the legacies of great writers such as Plato, Sophocles, Virgil and Cicero. Ancient history is surprisingly pervasive in today’s cultures, religions, movies, literature, politics, journalism, and advertising. If you have a desire to understand our modern world, studying Classics is an ideal way to begin.

Sean Parys, Criminal Justice, Honours, BA

Sean Parys

Sean Parys

Sean Parys says he approached university with an open mind, with no idea he would be heading to Harvard Law School after graduation.  “I was born and raised in Winnipeg,” says Parys. “So the idea of applying somewhere like Harvard, I didn’t really come to the U of W expecting to do this.”

Parys says his education at UWinnipeg taught him to “appreciate how significant law is, how it really shapes everything we do in life.” He credits his UWinnipeg faculty members with nurturing personal and academic growth. “I think I really grew as an individual,” he says, while emphasizing his most important lesson. “I really developed an ability to think critically.” Parys, who studied history heavily in addition to his criminal justice courses, says it was the critical thinking that drew him to apply to Harvard.

“For me it was really important that I didn’t just receive a practical education,” he says. “I really wanted to receive an education that kind of blended theoretical and critical work, with practical education, and Harvard really offered the ability to do that—develop an applied and practical understanding of the law, but also think critically and test its boundaries.”

Parys says he wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up working in the criminal justice system someday, but he is entering Harvard Law School with the same open mind that served him well at UWinnipeg.
About Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice at the University of Winnipeg focuses on different aspects of the police, courts, corrections and explores the social responses to crime and policies designed to ameliorate its effects. Criminal Justice is an interdisciplinary degree that provides our students with a strong social science degree developing critical thinking, writing, and research skills.


Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7130, E: n.ibrahim@uwinnipeg.ca


  • JG said...

    Lux et veritas floreant.

  • Greg said...

    Good luck to all of this year’s Grads, well done!!