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REF NO.: 196

SUBJECT: Spring convocation 2007: Student success stories
DATE: May 22, 2007

                                                                                                            

Note to editors:
            This week, from May 23-25, MemorialUniversity is holding its spring convocation at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.
More than 2,000 degrees will be awarded during eight sessions of convocation. Outstanding individuals from the worlds of business, public life, the arts and sports will be awarded honorary degrees during the ceremonies.
Convocation is the highlight of a university career for students and heralds the end of an important life stage and the beginning of something new.
While every student has a worthy story, the following students could make for interesting feature stories.
For convocation ceremonies on Wednesday, May 23, 2007:
 
Bright eyes and a broad smile hide the many years of struggle, sacrifice and hardship Fatima Mansaray has endured. She was raised in Africa and England and was living in Sierra Leone as a teenager when war began. Ms. Mansaray lost many family members and friends and fled to Gambia for peace and safety. She lived there for a few years before she arrived in St. John’s in October 1999, eight months pregnant, and with a three-year-old orphaned girl she is responsible for. Ms. Mansaray, who now lives in St. John’s, will graduate at the 10 a.m. session.
 
Twilla McClellan is looking forward to her first trip to Newfoundland. While visiting the sites, Ms. McClellan will also drop by the Arts and Culture Centre to pick up her degree; a bachelor of nursing she earned mainly through Memorial’s distance education programs. Ms. McClellan has worked as a nurse at VanderbiltUniversityHospital in Tennessee for the past 34 years, and has pecked away at a university degree for the past 20. Ms. McClellan graduates at the 10 a.m. session.
 
Growing up in Nanjing, China, Chelsea Chen dreamed of looking around the world and changing her life. That opportunity came when she enrolled in Memorial’s School of Nursing. Applying to Memorial took a lot of effort on Chelsea’s part. First, she had to learn English well enough to pass the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Ms. Chen graduates at the 10 a.m. session of convocation.
 
Brianna Browning is every bit as complex as one of her creations. While completing her bachelor of arts, this multifaceted student took on diverse roles and built a burgeoning jewelry business. Ms. Browning was determined to get the most from her Memorial experience when she started university in 2000. After sampling a variety of courses, she chose to combine a major in sociology/anthropology with a minor in biology.  While studying part-time and working to pay her tuition and expenses, she also involved herself in a number of campus activities ranging from the Memorial Women’s Resource Centre, MUNSU and the Faculty of Arts Council.
 
In the midst of all that activity, Ms. Browning started creating jewelry and formed her own company, Knotty Designs, which has  flourished. Ms. Browning, who is from St. John’s, graduates at the 3 p.m. session.
           
            To read more about these stories, and others, visit MemorialUniversity’s Gazette newspaper’s website at www.mun.ca/marcomm/gazette/issues/vol39no14/newspage16.php.

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