Perfecting balance between academic and community work earns Governor General's Silver Medal
By Christine Lyons
Linguistics alumnus Kaitlyn Thompson graduated last fall with an impressive 4.30 grade point average (out of a possible 4.33) and is attending this June’s convocation ceremonies to accept the Governor General’ Silver Medal. It is awarded annually to the two undergraduates who have achieved the highest scholastic standing upon graduation.
But earning high grades was not Thompson’s only focus at SFU.
In addition to studying on exchange at the University of Glasgow for a year, she volunteered at SFU’s Linguistics Language and Brain Lab, tutored English language learners, published poetry with the small Canadian press, Polar Expressions, and wrote several articles for the Vancouver-based bilingual newspaper The Source: A Forum for Diversity.
She says that successfully juggling academic and volunteer work, and her professional and creative writing pursuits, was only possible because she practiced attentive self-care and employed solid organizational skills.
“There is no prize or letter grade attached to taking care of your mental health,” says Thompson. “It is so important to both your mental health and personal growth to take that time to relax, as well as to set goals, reflect and reassess when needed.”
She says perfecting the balancing act comes from not only holding yourself accountable, but from recognizing your limits. While prioritizing goals and giving equal attention to multiple tasks is important, she notes, “it’s vital to listen to your mind and your body; to focus on activities that you both enjoy and that allow for some form of personal or professional development.”
Thompson was drawn to linguistics after taking LING 100: Communication and Language. The diverse topics covered—including sociolinguistics and language change, neurolinguistics and bilingualism—broadened her understanding of how language functions and she’s never looked back.
“I love that linguistics combines the arts and the sciences in a way that appeals to both my logical and creative inclinations.”
Having volunteered in speech language pathology and child health clinics, Thompson will continue to nurture her academic interest in the relationship between language and the brain and hopes to pursue a career in a helping profession.
- Graduate convocation medalists
- Undergraduate convocation medalists
- Student convocation speakers 2018
- SFU honorary degrees celebrate inspiring and innovative leaders
- Top academic honours don't rule out engagement in research and community
- Medal is best "show and tell" for teacher
- Perfecting balance between academic and community work earns Governor General's Silver Medal
- Undergraduate Shrum medalist leapfrogs directly to MD/Phd program
- Aspiring community changemaker values experiential learning at SFU
- Medical tourism research reveals health inequities facing local populations in Mexico
- Mathematical interest and hard work creates medal-winning formula
- Compassion key to engaging the world
- PhD research sheds light on aging with HIV
- At 24, SFU alumnus simultaneously completes two graduate degrees
- Second PhD enhances job success
- Lifelong learning leads to new career
- Passion and courage trounce adversity
- Entrepreneurial education helps duo shape tomorrow's cities
- Alumni making a difference in our community
- Experiential learning, in all its guises, generates job offers
- A board game to inspire decolonizing practices
- Watch Spring Convocation ceremonies live