Sonja Claire Peterson - Graduate, Library and Information Technology Program

Recipient: Langara College Graduate Excellence Award (Career Program)

"I am really pleased to be honoured in this way, and proud of my accomplishment," said Peterson who achieved the highest cumulative grade point average of any student in a two-year career program.

According to her instructors, Peterson stood out amongst her peers with her impressive analytical and presentation skills.
"Sonja was one of our best students, and really stood out because she is smart, hardworking, personable, and wonderful work with," said Carol Elder, Department Chair, Library and Information Technology Program. "She was strong in all areas of the curriculum and we enjoyed all of our dealings with her. We are pleased that she is being recognized with this award, as she really deserves it."

Peterson plans to continue her studies in library science and hopes one day to work full-time for the Vancouver Public Library.

Krysta Jade Nordin - Graduate, Nursing Program

Recipient: President’s Medal for Academic Excellence and Community Service

Nordin’s passion is helping people. She decided at an early age that nursing was her calling and, even through a lengthy personal journey through illness and recovery, she has never waivered from this dream.

Nordin chose the Langara Nursing program after speaking with working registered nurses and hearing their positive comments on how well Langara prepared its students. Her advice to students thinking about nursing is "the workload is demanding, don’t forget to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This includes taking the time to have fun!"

Nordin loves her current position as a nurse in the palliative care unit at St. Paul’s Hospital. In the future she wants to further explore her interest in mental health and working with marginalized populations.

Marie Agnes Genevieve - Graduate, Social Service Worker Program

Recipient: Langara College Graduate Excellence Award (Certificate Program)

Smith is a mother of two with a passion for social work and an advocacy. She is this year’s recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal and the Langara College Graduate Excellence Award. She achieved the highest cumulative grade point average of any student in a certificate program and demonstrated commitment to community service.

Smith chose Langara for its small class size. "I had been out of school for 30 years," she said, "and was unsure of my chance for success. Langara has lived up to my expectation in every way. I have told all my friends, family, and anyone who will listen how great Langara is."

Smith is confident that the skills she learned in the Social Service Worker program will allow her to face the challenges in her field with confidence. Her goal is to work in the criminal justice system to help reintegrate prisoners back into society and advocate for changes to our social structure, deliver social programs that provide basic needs, and empower individuals and families.

Smith’s advice to students is to "work hard everyday so that you can maximize your experience. It really goes by so fast."

Megan Colleen Smiley - Graduate, Arts and Science Program

Recipient: Graduate Excellence Award (Arts and Science) & Governor General’s Bronze Medal

" I feel really proud and shocked about being chosen as the winner," said Smiley the winner of the Langara College Graduate Excellence Award and the Governor General’s Collegiate-Bronze Medal for achieving the highest cumulative grade point average of any student in a two-year arts and science program.

"When I first came to Langara, I was nervous and unsure about how I would fare in this world. I was 31 years old and had no post-secondary experience. Now I feel confident and like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to."

"I chose Langara because I had several friends who had come here and had only good things to say. Yes, it absolutely lived up to my expectations, I would even say exceeded them. For the most part, I had wonderful teachers who were interested/interesting and engaged/engaging. I learned al lot from all of them."

Smiley intends to continue her education at a university and become the first person in her family to earn a degree. Her future goal is to work to make education accessibility to all.

Carly Kristine Derpak - Graduate, Nursing Program

Recipient: Langara College Excellence Award (Bachelor's Degree Program)

"I feel honoured (to receive the award) because there were many strong students in my graduating class. I worked extremely hard to keep my GPA high," said Derpak, this year’s recipient of the Langara College Graduate Excellence Award for achieving the highest cumulative grade point average of any student in a bachelor’s degree program.

Derpak appreciates the hands-on education she received at Langara. Her advice to students interested in nursing is to get as much clinical experience as you can. "Go clinical. It’s where you learn the real hands on practical nursing that is so valuable," she said. "Make sure to keep your family/friends close, they are the ones who will help you get though the program."

Derpak currently works as a nurse in the acute medicine ward. Her future plans include: upgrading her skills by taking specialty ICU nursing courses, getting a master’s degree in nursing education and becoming an instructor, and continuing her volunteer work in Ghana.