Vancouver Campus Commencement
Congratulations Class of 2022!
After a two year hiatus, FDU Vancouver celebrated with an in-person Commencement Ceremony the graduates of 2022. The Ceremony took place on Thursday, May 5th, 2022, at 12PM (PST) at The Centre in Vancouver, BC. Close to 350 graduates participated.
The FDU Vancouver Campus has graduated students from 81 different countries since 2007. The class of 2022 comprised 349 students hailing from 26 countries. It included 19 students from the BSIT program; 9 from the BSBA; 12 from the BAIS program; 21 from the MHMS; and 288 from the Master of Administrative Science program. In our undergraduate class, 9 graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Grade Point Average of 3.85 or higher, 11 graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Grade Point Average of 3.67 or higher; and 13 graduated Cum Laude with a Grade Point Average of 3.33 or better.
Student Pinnacle Award Recipients
Anh Pham was born and raised in the beautiful capital city of Hanoi in Vietnam, living with her parents and older brother until she was 17-years-old. In August 2017, she moved to Vancouver, Canada, to attend FDU as a Global Scholar. She will now graduate Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology with a Minor in Business Administration.
During her four years at FDU, Anh has demonstrated excellence in academic performance and extracurricular activities. As a Global Scholar, she has successfully achieved a high CGPA every semester and never left the Academic Honors’ list throughout her time at FDU Vancouver. From 2018 to 2020, Anh has also co-founded and led Code4Fun – the university’s first and only programming club, hosting and leading several knowledge-sharing sessions and project building with her peers. She also excelled in her roles as a Delegate in UNA Canada’s Youth as Peacebuilders forum and as a Student Representative in FDU Vancouver’s Commencement Ceremony Committee in 2018.
Anh has had software engineering internships in various Canadian tech companies, start-ups, and big tech, to prepare for her future career. Most notably, she joined Apple in Summer 2020 as an intern on their iOS Accessibility team, receiving stellar intern performance reviews. Her intern project was one of Hearing Accessibility features for iOS 14, getting an outreach of a billion iPhone users. Anh also has become a Fellow for Major League Hacking’s Production Engineering program, powered by Facebook, then came back to join as an Admission Specialist, helping review hundreds of fellowship applications. In summer 2021, she won a scholarship to Grace Hopper Conference – the largest conference for women in computing. That same summer, she also won Apple’s WWDC Swift Student Challenge and got featured in the Vancouver Sun newspaper and Vietnamnet.
As a tech worker, Anh strongly believes that every technologist should also be a thinker, writer, and advocate. She is interested in accessibility, disability justice, labor, community, and more. She was a fellow for Impact Labs’ Code for Equity program and actively participates and writes for Reboot, a community, and publication reclaiming techno-optimism for a better collective future.
In her free time, she loves to read, chat with friends on Discord, practice her Taekwondo kicks and spot cute dogs on the streets.
Anh is currently a Software Engineer at Mastercard, working on combating fraudulent transactions.
Ces Anthony Torillo Plaras, from Bohol Island, Philippines, is completing a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Studies with a specialization in Tourism and Hospitality Management. In his three years at FDU, he honed his public speaking and leadership skills, representing the university as one of the delegates to the 2019 National Model United Nations Conference, New York. Anthony was also one of the finalists to the FDU delegation for Young Hoteliers Summit 2020. He is the incumbent president of the FDU Vancouver Model United Nations Club, an honorary member of the Global Scholars Program, and actively participates in various campus events while maintaining excellent academic standing. Moreover, he was appointed as a student representative for the 2020 Commencement Committee. After graduation, Anthony plans to pursue a career in hospitality.
Qinghong (Fiona) Ma is originally from China and will graduate Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree of Arts in Individualized Studies, with a specialization in Tourism & Hospitality Management and a minor in Digital Marketing.
Throughout her time at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver Campus, Fiona has demonstrated excellent academic achievements, campus leadership, and community involvement. She has successfully achieved a high CGPA and has served on the Global Scholars Program by leading and coordinating events, such as Diplomatic Speaker Circles and Student Conferences.
From 2018 to 2019, Fiona held the position of co-president of the Model United Nations Club, during which she achieved two outstanding position awards presented to the FDU delegation team at the National Model United Nations Conference, New York. In terms of career development, Fiona’s internship experiences include Guest Service Manager at Jiuhua Jinjiang International Hotel, China, and Marketing Assistant at Sprott Shaw College, Vancouver.
After graduation, Fiona will pursue a customer service career in the financial technology industry at PayPal.
Natalia Alejandra Montano Gonzalez is a 22-year-old from El Salvador. Before attending Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), she lived with parents Nelson and Lorena, and sisters Milena and Sofia. In January 2016, seeking a challenge and a better future, she came to Vancouver, Canada to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business.
Throughout her studies, Natalia has demonstrated excellence and dedication as a passionate and persistent individual strongly motivated to learn. Because of consistently outstanding grades, she has made the Honors List every semester. Natalia believes being “outside your comfort zone” and being open to continuous development brings new opportunities and satisfaction in life.
By adding a minor in Digital Marketing, she enhanced her skills, did an internship, and achieved several certifications. Natalia undertook an important role with the Consulate General of Brazil in Spring 2018. Collaborating with classmates, she developed a marketing feasibility study for the Brazilian Trade Association, which exceeded expectations of the Deputy Consul and brought credit to FDU Vancouver. In Fall 2018, Natalia challenged her growing confidence by taking a term at IESEG School of Management in France, a top European business school.
Active participation on committees, seminars, and social events for the Global Scholar’s Club has allowed Natalia to further develop another passion: helping others. Off-campus, she volunteers regularly in many activities for various age-groups at Church in the Valley in Langley, BC. She continues to be engaged in activities with several humanitarian institutions in El Salvador, happy to give back to her home community.
Natalia believes FDU has encouraged her to be ambitious in conquering barriers and creating opportunities. Upon finishing her studies, Natalia plans to pursue a career in Marketing.
Be passionate, determined and persistent and do everything with excellence. Most importantly, step out of your comfort zone to achieve all your goals in your life.
Peter Mate is a 21-year-old Hungarian-Filipino Canadian based in Vancouver, Canada. He previously lived with his mother, father, and brother in Likely, British Columbia and moved to Surrey in 2007 to complete his schooling. While at L.A. Matheson Secondary School, Peter participated in the Forum For Young Canadians in Ottawa, was a protest organizer, and member of the honor roll. He joined Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) as a Global Scholar to pursue a Bachelor Of Arts In Individualized Studies with Concentrations in International Relations and Communications.
Peter’s time as a student at FDU is characterized by his exemplary academic and extracurricular track record. During his presidency of FDU’s Model United Nations Association, the delegation participated in New York’s National Model United Nations to discuss urban development in the Habitat III committee. Upon completing this conference, FDU’s delegation won the “Outstanding Delegation as Voted by Peers.” He was also a research assistant and team leader for the Modernist Versions Project (a Federally funded collaborative research project between Trinity College Dublin, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Victoria, and FDU). As an assistant, he helps organize a team responsible for transcribing works by Sigmund Freud, Oscar Wilde, H.D., and Ernest Hemingway for open education resources and critical editions. Peter has also lived in New York City to study at FDU’s Metropolitan Campus and Budapest, Hungary, to study at the Central European University. His cumulative experiences enabled him to represent Canada at the Global Youth Trends Forum in Taipei to discuss environmental public policy.
After graduation, Peter hopes to pursue a career in international public policy and federal politics.
Our lives are determined by our choices, relative to the world around us. Therefore, let us live passionately and with meaning — life will repay us with the same.
Carlos Eduardo Martell Ayala was born in El Salvador and is 20 years old. Before coming to Vancouver, he lived with his parents, Juan Carlos and Guadalupe de Martell, and his sister, Andrea. He moved to Vancouver in May 2014 to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology with a minor in Business Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU).
Carlos completed his primary and secondary education at Colegio Champagnat, where he excelled academically. He was awarded the “Señor Presidente” scholarship by FEDISAL as a result of obtaining the only perfect score out of 83,776 Salvadoran senior-year students. This scholarship covered 100% of his university expenses, as well as living expenses while completing his studies at FDU.
Since arriving at FDU, Carlos has been an important participant in many student clubs and organizations on campus. In 2014, he joined Toastmasters, which helped prepare him for his participation in the Student Government Association (SGA) in the following year. Thereafter, he took on roles of increasing participation and responsibility in the SGA until he was elected SGA president in 2016. Carlos also was also a core member of the National Model United Nations club on the FDU-Vancouver campus. He was selected as a delegate and went on to represent FDU as part of the award-winning delegation that represented Samoa at the 2017 National Model United Nations in New York. Carlos has earned a lot of respect from his peers both as a student leader and as the Student IT Assistant where he provided much-needed help to students needing IT support after hours. He earned great respect from his supervisors who appreciated his dedication and talent.
Back in El Salvador, Carlos volunteered with TECHO, Glasswing, and Starbucks El Salvador. In Vancouver, he attended many shoreline cleanup activities and volunteered for almost 3 years at the Holy Rosary Cathedral at the weekly Spanish mass on Sundays.
After graduation, Carlos expects to stay in Canada to develop his career at Cloudreach, a local cloud provider, where he has had the opportunity to intern for 6 months during his last semester.
“Technology is always changing, so it is important to always keep studying to stay up to date. My career journey has just begun, and Fairleigh Dickinson University is the best stepping stone that I could have wished for”.
Laura was born and raised in Colombia; during her teenage years, she moved to El Salvador where she completed her high school education. Upon graduation, after looking for options in different countries, she decided to come to FDU Vancouver to do a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, majoring in International Business.
Her passion for learning other languages and cultures led her to join the Global Scholars program at the university where she was elected as a student representative for her class year for three consecutive semesters.
As a member of the Model United Nations Club, she represented the University in the Harvard World Model United Nations Association in South Korean in 2015 where she participated in debates with students from all over the world.
Currently, she is an active member of the Toastmasters Club where she practices her public speaking skills. Last summer she worked as an intern at, Investors’ Group, a financial services company. During that time she honed her organizational skills, applied her knowledge of finance and learned about the financial industry in Canada.
Recently, Laura was invited to join the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society as a result of being placed in the top 10% of her class. Upon graduation, Laura wants to work in the international trade industry where she will have the opportunity to negotiate with multinational companies from all over the world and import or export products to or from Canada.
Camila Castro is originally from El Salvador. She is the youngest child of Rene Castro and Lizzette Iraheta de Castro, and her elder brother is named Carlos. She completed her primary, middle, and high school studies at Colegio La Floresta where she developed a passion for volunteering and social work, as well as a passion for education, knowledge, and learning.
In 2007 she started volunteering for a project call PROSAM. The project aims to empower girls, young women, and women from poor rural areas in El Salvador and it’s run and organized by girls in high school. Camila’s her first involvement in PROSAM was a life changing experience because it opened her eyes to the reality of many Salvadorians, and it made her see the need for change. Thus, she continued volunteering for four years and served as head of different committees, secretary of the board, and even president of the board and project. Upon high school graduation in 2010, Camila helped establish a similar project but this time run by college students called UNETE. Both projects are still running and continue to grow.
Camila was also part of the first generation to complete the International Baccalaureate program at her school. While she found the program particularly challenging, the academic, personal, and professional growth outweighed the endurance. “Thanks to the IB model, I develop a passion to learn more, to question more, and to investigate more.” Her IB studies aspired her to pursue higher education abroad, and it was Fairleigh Dickinson University’s mission statement that made her to opt for this institution. In 2011 she moved to Canada where she started her undergraduate studies in Business Administration at the Vancouver Campus, where she was also part of the Global Scholar program.
In 2013 she applied to represent the University at the 2014 National Model United Nations Conference in New York. The committee selected her and three other students to represent the University and the delegates were very pleased to honour the school with an award as a Distinguished Delegation due to their excellent performance. Upon return, Camila, along with classmates Ximena Ortega and Alejandra Collantes, decided to formalize a Model United Nations Club called “FDU MUN Club”. The club was aimed to expand the opportunities for students to attend MUN conferences. In 2014, the club gave four scholarships to students to represent the university at local conferences, and organized the first Model United Nations conference at Fairleigh Dickinson University Vancouver Campus.
Camila also cofounded a discussion and debate club with adjunct professor Dr. Kiran Toor and classmate Sherry Henriquez. The club aimed to engage students, professors, and staff members in an exchange of views on a variety of topics such as art, literature, philosophy, politics, and current events. Thanks to Dr. Toor’s and Camila’s support professors and students have been meeting on a weekly basis since Fall 2013. In Spring 2014 the club decided to bring their discussion to the stage and presented the first theatrical production at the Vancouver campus. The play was written and directed by Dr. Toor and it was performed and staged by the club members, and received a standing ovation!
In Fall 2014 Camila joined the Student Government Association as a vice-president. She helped to formalize many clubs on campus with the intention of enhancing campus life for her fellow classmates and professors. Also, under the supervision of Dr. Gifford, she started working as research assistant for the Modernist Version Project where she produced comparable digital critical editions based on the following works: Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time and H.D.’s seven poems in Des Imagistes and their revisions in Sea Garden.
Camila didn’t stop her community service once she moved to Vancouver. Since 2011 she has been organizing and running leadership activities with a social outreach component for girls in primary and secondary schools from the greater Vancouver area.
Upon graduation Camila will be moving to Toronto where she will pursue a career in trade or international relations and she is planning to go back to school after a year to pursue a Masters in Global Affairs.
Rumbidzai Kabatebate is originally from Zimbabwe and graduated from FDU-Vancouver with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in December 2013. She is the last born and only daughter of Alex and Antonia Kabatebate and is the first in her family to pursue and get higher education. What drew her to this University was the Global Scholars Program in which she received a generous scholarship from the university. Without this scholarship she would not have been able to afford higher education. The prospect of being a Global Scholar, learning and being trained to be a global citizen and leader were all things she was very excited to experience.
“FDU’s environment has the ability to produce leaders that have depth to their characters that exhibit wisdom, intelligence and charisma. FDU’s environment creates opportunities and a sphere of influence that rising leaders can tap into as a resource to learn and mature from; students are equipped to become global leaders that will leave their footprints on this earth. I can safely say I was one of the students that tapped into these resources and this sphere of influence and as a result I discovered myself.”
Rumbidzai has an insatiable passion for people and making a difference in their lives. As a Global Scholar and peacemaker at heart, it is no surprise that her life-long dream was to work for the United Nations or be affiliated with it to some capacity. Driven by this passion, she began the Model United Nations Club at the Vancouver Campus in 2011. Model United Nations (MUN) is a simulation of the United Nations where you represent a country in a UN organ or committee. In March 2012 she organized, trained and led a delegation of 10 people to the World Model United Nations Conference, which is organized by Harvard University every year. This was the first Model United Nations Conference the University had ever been involved in but definitely not the last. She went ahead and organized and trained a small delegation that would participate at the University of British Columbia MUN in January 2012. This became an annual event, and she did the same for delegations that participated in the 2013 and 2014 conferences.
Her dream came true in March 2013, when she had the honor of going to the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the National Model United Nations Conference. She initiated this trip, organized it, and helped select and train the 4-member delegation. To top things off she had the immense honor of being the Head Delegate of the first ever FDU NMUN Delegation that was going to represent the two Island state of Saint-Kitts and Nevis at the UN Headquarters. She helped pick this year’s FDU NMUN Delegation that went to the United Nations, and they won the Distinguished Delegation Award: something she is very proud of. The creation of this club and this experience is one of her greatest accomplishments and something that will always be embedded on her heart as other students will get to fulfill that same dream she had, generations after her. This is a legacy she is proud to have at the Vancouver campus.
“FDU began to play a major role in my growth and development. I love the fact that Fairleigh Dickinson University creates an atmosphere for anyone who is willing, to rise up and be a leader. There has always been so much flexibility and room for growth and maturity for students to do so because that is the legacy on which this university was built on.”
Model United Nations was not the only thing on her plate during her time at the university. She was a very active student who was always involved in essentially every aspect and life of the school. She was elected as President of the Student Government Association in her second semester of being at the university and served her term from April 2011 – October 2012. At that same time she was also Chair of Community Service of the Rotaract Club of Yaletown. Currently she is the newly elected Director of Community Service and International Affairs for the Rotaract Club of Yaletown for the term Spring 2014 – Spring 2015. She was a member of the soccer team, Dragon Boat team, Long-Boat team, and an Orientation Leader for all the 4 years she was here. She volunteered for the annual Peace Day events, Happiness Day, International Week, Diplomatic Circles only to mention a few. She was also a very involved member of the community as she volunteered for the Shoreline clean-up every semester, the Scotia-Bank AIDS Walk, and many other events as part of Christian City Church.
“I volunteered for anything I could, not for recognition, but simply because I had developed such a love and loyalty towards the school. I had a desire to see this university succeed. The more I served the more I was launched into being a leader on many committees. I learnt very early on that ‘service and leadership’ are a package and they go hand-in-hand;being a leader actually meant serving others.”
Rumbidzai also worked part time at FDU as an Administrative Assistant since 2011 and worked in the Student Services Department as the Activities Coordinator/Student Services Assistant for a year. Rumbidzai has always had a love and passion for students and, above all, for this university. She wants to see this university succeed in all that it does and is very excited to be a part of making that happen as the new Admissions Assistant of the Vancouver Campus. When asked to sum up what FDU means to her she said:
“FDU has played a tremendous role in introducing me to the leader in me I never knew quite existed. In my life, FDU has actually given meaning to the saying “the world is your oyster” because I feel that the university has given me that gift. And this gift is not just for me, but I have been taught and equipped to impart it and share it with the rest of the world.”
Ronaldo Martins is from Patos de Minas, Brazil. Coming from a very small city, from a young age Ronaldo felt an urge to explore new places, discover new things and meet different people. After finishing high school he decided to go abroad and has since visited over 40 different cities in 11 countries. He speaks three languages and plans to learn a fourth.
Before coming to Canada to pursue his bachelor’s degree in business, Ronaldo was enrolled in Law school at Pontifical Catholic University, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. When he started his studies at FDU, he had two objectives: to achieve outstanding academic performance while getting the most out of his experience as a university student. Looking back after four years, Ronaldo is proud of his accomplishments.
During his time at FDU, Ronaldo has been actively involved with several extracurricular experiences. For instance, he was a dedicated orientation leader to new students, and an academic representative for the students association. Due to his proven competencies and exemplary character, Ronaldo was appointed to the FDU-Vancouver Standards Committee, a role he has been holding for the last two and a half years. In this position, Ronaldo has helped FDU resolve a number of matters involving students’ behavior on campus.
Outside of school, Ronaldo has been an active volunteer for a number of noble causes. For instance, he has helped fund-raise for poor families in his home town, and, in Vancouver, he was a treasurer for the Rotary/Rotaract Club, where he was in charge of managing the club’s financial account as well as helping fund-raise for causes like the elimination of poliomyelitis. Ronaldo has also been involved with the TD Great Canadian Shore Cleanup, and he is a contributor to World Vision, which supports disadvantaged children in Africa.
In addition to his involvement with extracurricular activities, Ronaldo has certainly excelled in his academic life. With a GPA of 3.85 out of 4.00, Ronaldo has been part of the Silberman College of Business honors list every term for the last four years. Recently, Ronaldo helped his FDU team score 3rd place in UBC’s Reveal National Business Competition, where they competed with twenty two universities from across the country. As evidence of his outstanding performance, Ronaldo has been invited to join the prestigious Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society. Membership in this select club is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive at a business school accredited by the AACSB.
Ronaldo graduates with a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in international business; following his graduation in May, he plans to apply for Law school in Canada.
Juliana Fiorentino of Belo Horizonte, Brazil started her scholastic journey by receiving a degree in Psychology from the Pontifical Catholic University in Brazil, before furthering her education by attending FDU-Vancouver starting in 2009 to obtain a B.A. in individualized studies with a concentration in business.
Fiorentino has played an active role within the campus by becoming a President of the Students Association, a supportive orientation leader and a devoted member of the Sustainability Committee, for which she assisted other students and staff to develop strategies that create a sustainable campus environment.
Fiorentino is an exceptional student, eager to learn and dedicated to any goal she sets her mind to. Her commitment was clearly seen in her outstanding academic performance, having earned one of the highest grade point ratios of her graduating class and had her name on the Honor’s list in every semester.
Pedro Juan Zuleta of Medellin, Colombia, impressed his classmates and professors with his intellectual curiosity and passion for learning. Along with earning the highest grade-point average of his graduating class, he was active in student government, helped with marketing efforts to increase the University’s recognition outside of the U.S.-Canada border region and played soccer on the FDU-Vancouver club team.
Zuleta, who started at FDU-Vancouver in 2008 after obtaining an associate degree in business administration from Universidad EAFIT in Medellin, graduates with a B.S. in business administration with concentrations in marketing and international business.
Zuleta was on the Honors List for seven semesters and was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for business students. He was treasurer for the Student Government Association at FDU-Vancouver and attended the May 2009 Global Vision Global Leadership Center held on campus. In Colombia, Zuleta worked as a marketing assistant for Incolmotos-Yamaha and in marketing and sales for Amway. Zuleta plans to start his business career in Canada or the United States.
Filip Krol was founder and the president of the FDU-Vancouver student association and helped raise, through the book-rental program he developed, nearly $12,000 in books and cash for the association. He has been treasurer for the Rotaract Club of Vancouver – Yaletown and joined the Vancouver Board of Trade through the Leaders of Tomorrow program. He graduates with a BS degree in business administration with concentrations in finance and international business. He is currently working on opening a company in international trade with his wife.