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Fall Convocation 2021: Meet the award recipients

October 15, 2021 — 

Meet some of the incredible members of the University of Manitoba’s class of 2021. Fall Convocation will be held this year from Oct. 18-21 and on Nov. 10. These students will receive medals for outstanding academic achievement.

Fyn GallardoFlyn Gallardo, Faculty of Science

Governor General’s Silver Medal: Awarded for outstanding achievement at the undergraduate level

Flyn Gallardo’s dedication and perseverance not only to self-improvement, but also to helping the community whenever he can, ensures that he will succeed in his future. Choosing microbiology as his path was the perfect choice. “I’ve always wanted to explore the world invisible to the naked eye,” he says.

This was even clearer when he developed an interest in the medical field as a high school student at Maples Collegiate. He reflects on his academic journey fondly, knowing he has found the place he belongs. “I got to learn how complicated life is, how even the smallest lifeforms are ridiculously complex,” Gallardo adds. “It made me further appreciate the world around me.”

Although he was fully immersed in his education, making the time to give back to the community was still very important to him. He undertook several volunteer positions at Health Sciences Centre and served as a medical first responder for St. John Ambulance, in addition to actively volunteering with other organizations.

His excellence has not gone unnoticed. From receiving the Governor General’s Bronze Medal in high school to being named a President’s Scholar at UM for four years, being awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal this year is his latest accolade.

After graduating with a bachelor of science in microbiology, Gallardo is now in his first year of medical school at the Max Rady College of Medicine.

Haley NakonechnyHaley Nakonechny, College of Rehabilitation Sciences

University Gold Medal: Awarded for highest standing in an undergraduate faculty, college or school

While Haley Nakonechny was not completely sure of what she wanted to pursue during her first years of university, she always knew she wanted to build a career in health care. She soon found her calling in the respiratory therapy program.

She is most fascinated by the specialization in this field of study, especially by the idea that there are many interconnected processes that make up the human body. “I like to learn things top to bottom, and this program gave me the opportunity to do that,” Nakonechny adds.

While Nakonechny pursued her education, she was able to work as a respiratory therapist assistant at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) and her passion for the profession grew even greater. Once she completed her bachelor of science and bachelor of respiration therapy, she started a new position as a respiratory therapist during the height of COVID-19. That helped her gain a new perspective and a greater sense of gratitude for the field and other health-care workers that inspire her.

Nakonechny is most proud of being awarded the University Gold Medal after seven years of her university education. She credits her support system of family, friends and loved ones for their constant encouragement, as their confidence has been critical to her success.

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