Graduate Studies News & Articles

Governor General's Gold Medal Recipients

The Governor General's Gold Medal is one of the most prestigious awards that a Canadian graduate student can receive. Each year UFV grants the award to the graduate-level student with the highest academic standing.

News & Articles for Graduate Studies

Canadian Association of Graduate Studies

Kristy Kardos, Master of Social Work Degree 

Kristy Kardos graduated from UFV this June with a Masters in Social Work Degree, and received the prestigious Governor General's Gold Medal Award, given to  the top student in a Master's degree program at UFV.

 Kristy has spent the last two years immersed in her Master's studies, attending the 3 day-a-week practicum, and continuing to work her full time job as a  social worker for Abbotsford Mental Health (a division of Fraser Health). She graduated with a 4.27 grade point average, a clear sign of her remarkable ability  and dedication. Kristy's practicum consisted of monitoring and analysing results provided by UFV's Bachelor of Social Work students participating in the applied  portion of a pilot project that placed social workers into school settings in Surrey. This UFV based team presented their results at the Canadian Association for  Social Work Education conference in Calgary on May 30 - June 2, 2016.

 Kristy's major research project for her Master's degree focused on the stigma attached to borderline personality disorder. Her research also focused on what  was effective and meaningful peer support for social workers who work with clients suffering from borderline personality disorder.

With her Masters of Social Work degree now complete, Kristy looks forward to continuing her rewarding career with Fraser Health. 

Shelley Cole, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice


 Students in the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at the University of the Fraser Valley are seasoned working professionals who bring their real-world back to the  classroom to share with their fellow students. They are a motivated and accomplished group.

 So it’s no small achievement to receive the Governor General’s gold medal, awarded annually to the top academic student in a master’s level program at UFV.  Shelley  graduated with considerable career experience and professional savvy, plus the knowledge and skill she has gained through two years of master’s studies.

 Cole, the coordinator of crime prevention services with the New Westminster Police Department, is a certified Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)  practitioner. She is also a graduate of Leadership Vancouver with considerable training and education in crime prevention and reduction strategies and she has won three  awards for her work in the community for these strategies. She is also the treasurer of the British Columbia Crime Prevention Association and has served as a director  and executive member since 2008. She is currently an executive liaison officer for the International Crime Free Association and acts in the role of provincial coordinator  for the Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program in British Columbia.  (Read more...)

Shannon Torhjelm, MSW, Master of Social Work

Like most students enrolled in master’s level programming at the University of the Fraser Valley, Shannon Torhjelm had to balance the demands of a professional career with the busy life of a graduate student. By day, Torhjelm is social work practice leader for Abbotsford and Mission hospitals, supervising the clinical practice of social workers in a hospital setting. And for the past two years, she has also been enrolled in the Master of Social Work program at UFV.  The research she conducted as part of her master’s degree related directly to issues faced by social workers in health care.

(Read more...)

Diane Keegan, MSW, Master of Social Work
  This year, the Master of Social Work program graduated its first batch of students, and Diane Keegan of Abbotsford emerged as the top academic with an astounding 4.27 GPA. But for Keegan, that distinction is simply another step in her academic work, focused on breaking dangerous cycles in family conflict while easing pressure on B.C.’s congested family court system. Keegan’s major paper examined existing services available for parents dealing with high-conflict issues after separation, with a focus on services as a means for reducing conflict and improving overall family functioning. Read more








Donna Allary, MA Criminal Justice

Photo of Donna Alary  

Alary and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at UFV have a long history together. She grew up in Mt. Lehman and lives in Abbotsford these days. She chose to major in crim soon after arriving at the university in 1994, and was among one of the first classes of bachelor’s degree grads from the program in 1999. She worked for the New Westminster police service as an analyst for three years, and then returned to UFV for a job in institutional research. She’s been with the university ever since, and even completed a six-year stint on the Alumni Association board. Read more


Brian Young, MA Criminal Justice

Young's research focus was on the application of different ‘intensive supervision’ models for high-risk young offenders. He did a comparative study of how this model is applied in different jurisdictions throughout Canada and internationally, research that was directly related to his work as a youth probation officer. "Doing this research for my master’s degree allowed me to look at my field of work in an academic way and study issues more deeply than we can in the everyday work world." Read more

Kim Williams, MA Criminal Justice
Photo of Kim Williams   What do prostitution, midwifery, and youth crime have in common?

All three activities have at times been considered extremely deviant criminal behaviour and at others been tolerated or even accepted, depending on the social values of the times and the government in power.

Kim Williams, an MA in Criminal Justice student at the University of the Fraser Valley, turned her interest in social interpretations of deviance into a thesis for her master’s program. For her efforts, and her near-perfect grade point average, she is this year’s winner of the Governor General’s academic gold medal winner at UFV. Williams earned a cumulative grade point average of 4.17, which stands about halfway between an A and an A+ average. The gold medal goes to the student with the highest GPA in a master’s-level program. Read more

Darren Caul, MA Criminal Justice

Photo of Darren Caul   Darren Caul regarded a master’s degree as a bit of unfinished business, and as an opportunity to excel academically that he’d missed the first time around.

And excel he did: Caul graduated this spring from the University of the Fraser Valley’s Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program as the winner of the Governor General’s gold medal. This award is given to the student at the graduate level with the highest GPA at each university. Read more

Sherry Bot, BA Criminal Justice

Photo of Sherry Bot  

Sherry Bot just keeps making history. She was one of the first two students to ever earn a master’s degree at the University of the Fraser Valley. Now she’s the first to be awarded the governor general’s gold medal for academic achievement at the master’s degree level.

Her research for her MA degree focused on the very topical subject of crime reduction, with a particular emphasis on the role of inter-agency partnerships at the local level. She was part of a City of Surrey fact-finding mission to England, and did some comparisons between the two jurisdictions. Read more


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