Learning not confined to classroom

May 26, 2005, vol. 33, no. 3
By Barry Shell

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In class Sheryl Petschl didn't know all the answers even though she was a straight A student.

“But she always wanted to know,” says communication professor Donald Gutstein. “She would frequently ask probing, selfless questions meant to help her fellow students as much as herself.”

An outstanding five years at SFU, including 24 awards and scholarships and a cumulative grade point average of 4.24 has netted Petschl the dean's convocation medal in applied sciences.

Gutstein recommended Petschl for the award based on, among other things, an essay called The Right to Communicate. It was about the plight of third world people overwhelmed by multinational media corporations who are stripping them of their right to have their stories and views heard.

If she has her way, perhaps someday she'll be able to do something about it. She plans to go to law school either in Victoria or “back east.”

When asked what her years at SFU have meant to her, Petschl says, “We come to university to learn a lot more than we learn in the classroom. It's great to get good grades, but it's really about learning who you are and where you want to go in life.” In September she is going to Taiwan. “I want to experience and be immersed in a new culture,” says Petschl. She and her boy friend plan to find jobs there as teachers.

Originally from the small town of Tulameen, near Princeton, B.C., Petschl came to SFU when she was 17 to live in residence where she was active in intramural sport.

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