Student Stories

International Studies Major Jenna Richmond Wins Dean's Convocation Medal

June 24, 2021

Exploring new activities and diverse subjects has helped Jenna Richmond thrive and excel, both inside and outside the classroom. Richmond, who is graduating with a major in International Studies (IS), has been awarded the Dean’s Convocation Medal for academic excellence in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. In addition to her major, she has completed a minor in Anthropology and a certificate in Social Justice.

She is also a four-time recipient of the SFU President’s Honour Roll, six-time recipient of the SFU Dean’s Honour Roll, and a recipient of the BC Secondary Simon Fraser Entrance Scholarship.

Since her first year at SFU, Richmond has had her sights set on a career in international affairs, and many of her educational choices have been informed by this goal. She has sought out diverse learning experiences at SFU and beyond.

Through the Study Abroad program, she spent a semester in the Czech Republic, taking courses at Charles University in Prague. Her experiences there were supported by a Simons Foundation International Travel Grant for international studies majors. She has also completed co-op internships with the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association, the U.S. Consulate General in Vancouver, and Global Affairs Canada.

Richmond’s co-op experiences were what solidified her career goals. They also provided her with helpful insights about career paths in diplomacy, spurring her aspiration to join the Canadian Foreign Service. “I’ve been fortunate to work alongside multiple foreign service officers and learn about their experiences,” she says.

At the U.S. Consulate, she researched and drafted diplomatic cables on a range of topics, including clean technologies and money laundering in BC. She received recognition from the US Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs for three of the cables she wrote.

In her final year at SFU, Richmond held a co-op internship at Global Affairs Canada, where she worked for the Trade Commissioner Service. She found it rewarding to support small and medium sized Canadian businesses in their efforts to expand to new international markets.

Participating in extracurricular activities has been a huge part of Richmond’s experience at SFU. She has made good friendships and connections through volunteering for the FASS Connections Mentorship program (2017-2018) and the SFU Exchange Buddy program (2019-2020). Participating in the International Studies Student Association as the Society of Arts and Social Sciences Representative (2018-2019) and President (2019) was also a worthwhile experience, which gave her opportunities to engage with faculty and her program peers, and to learn about career and volunteer possibilities.

During high school, Richmond already knew that she wanted to study history, politics, and culture at university. She applied to SFU after learning about the School for International Studies, since the interdisciplinary nature of IS allowed her to blend her interests together.

This fall she will begin a Master’s program at the Norman Patterson School for International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University. A key focus of NPSIA’s program is to provide interdisciplinary training and skills. “This focus really appealed to me,” says Richmond, “because international affairs is a complex environment that has many intersections across various fields and subjects.”

Richmond’s advice for current students is to be open to new opportunities and experiences: “Whether it’s joining a student club, applying to co-op, or studying abroad, many of my best experiences at SFU have resulted from trying something new and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.”