After completing her undergrad in China, Shuoqian (Athena) Gao made a calculated choice to attend Brock University for her master of business administration.
Two years later, Gao - who grew up north of Shanghai - has a job, new memories and friends, and is preparing to become a Canadian citizen.
“I think it’s a great experience in my life, and you can learn different knowledge and know different people and you can meet friends globally, so it’s a very valuable experience,” she said.
Gao received her Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Award Friday on Day 4 of Convocation ceremonies. She was supposed to receive it Saturday while graduating with more than 600 fellow Goodman School of Business students, but Gao spent her day writing Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) program exams.
“I feel very appreciative of all the help of my teachers and classmates, because without their help I would have achieved nothing,” she said. “With all the efforts, I will have a brighter future and I couldn’t have achieved what I wanted to.”
Gao spent four months with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as part of the masters’ co-op program. It’s a big part of what convinced Gao to travel halfway across the world to finish her education. She has a job lined up as commercial account manager with RBC.
“Most masters programs don’t contain a co-op program, but here at Brock there’s a co-op which can give me more real world experience in Canada,” she said. “It’s very fundamental to my future career development. I think it’s a good investment.”
Gao finished with a 92 per cent average and was also part of several clubs outside of the classroom.
Erik Robert Christian Gunn (undergraduate) also received a Spirit of Brock Award. Jordan Raymond Menchella was presented with the Dean’s medal. Tejaswini Herath, assistant professor, Department of Finance, Operations and Information Systems, was presented with the 2014 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching prior to addressing the graduating class.
John Zoccoli gave the convocation address in the afternoon ceremony.
This is the largest cohort of business students to graduate from Brock at one time, and the first time the School has had to break its annual Saturday ceremony into two separate ceremonies.