October 17, 2022 —
Congratulations to the class of 2022! Meet two graduating students receiving medals for remarkable academic achievements. Fall Convocation will be held from October 19-20 (Fort Garry campus) and on October 27 (Bannatyne campus). Attend in person or stream the ceremonies online at umanitoba.ca/convocation.
Samantha (Xiu Ying) Kee, Asper School of Business
Governor General’s Silver Medal – Awarded for Outstanding Achievement at the Undergraduate Level
The versatility of a business degree initially piqued Samantha (Xiu Ying) Kee’s interests because it opens doors to a variety of sectors and industries. Combined with a keen fascination for working with numbers, Kee is now graduating with a bachelor of commerce with a major in accounting.
She worked as a grader for several accounting and finance courses throughout her studies and thrived in the co-op program. These positions did wonders in shaping her career goals by allowing her to try different positions in accounting while translating the skills and knowledge she learned in a classroom setting into valuable professional experiences.
Her studies ultimately allowed her to develop a broad understanding on many aspects of a business and refined many transferrable skills that have set her up for academic, professional and personal success. These experiences now lean into her future of helping organizations and businesses optimize efficiency while making a good impact on society and serving their stakeholders.
Such a prestigious award is the culmination of her persistence and dedication, and is a testament to the hard work and sacrifices she has made in order to succeed. “One thing I learned most at university is to be adaptable and to be comfortable with change,” Kee reflects on completing her studies and doing so despite a pandemic.
She also credits her parents and family for their never-ending support and for empowering her to be the best she can be.
Victoria Ploszay, College of Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Manitoba Gold Medal – Awarded for Highest Standing in an Undergraduate Faculty, College or School
Victoria Ploszay has always known that she wants a career in health care. Yet in such a diverse field full of options and opportunities, her choice was solidified after being able to shadow a few respiratory therapists on the job. As of 2022, she has completed two degrees, starting with a bachelor of science and now graduating with a bachelor of respiratory therapy.
For Ploszay, the profession is more than a career path– it energizes and invigorates her. She is excited by the many possibilities that she can turn into reality. “One of my many hopes includes being able to establish and define roles for respiratory therapists in community health settings, particularly in rural environments where services we have to offer are very limited,” says Ploszay.
Ploszay is also a published author from her work as a student research assistant in the College of Rehabilitation Services and the College of Nursing. At the same time, she held a clinical position as a respiratory therapist.
Volunteering as a science fair judge at Holy Ghost School and as a dancer in the Polish Folk Dance cnsemble SPK Iskry, Ploszay also made time to serve the community around her. She has consistently pushed herself to succeed and always looked forward to the future.
“There were times I thought I was at my limit, but then I found ways to adapt, prioritize and persevere,” says Ploszay. “Sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone is the only way to see how far you can go.”
She looks to her grandfather for inspiration. His love for learning translated into Ploszay’s determination and taught her to embrace every opportunity. The respiratory therapy profession is extremely lucky to have an individual like Ploszay, who will redefine what it means to provide quality care.