Humanities’ Jubilee Medal winner dedicated to social justice

Jubliee Medal winner Emily W

Intellectual excellence and a strong commitment to social justice has earned graduating Gender Studies student Emily Wiesenthal the Jubilee Medal in the Humanities.

The medal, given for the highest grade-point average in the faculty’s graduating class, was awarded at UVic’s spring convocation for the Faculty of Humanities on June 13.

“It’s very unexpected and very exciting,” Wiesenthal says. “For me it affirms the experience I had here. I had the chance to work under so many brilliant scholars and I had such a great experience in Gender Studies.”

Wiesenthal grew up in Gimli, Manitoba, but her family has since moved to Squamish. She won a prestigious Loran scholarship, a four-year national award which is granted based on character, service, and leadership potential, to pursue her studies at UVic.

In her first-year, Wiesenthal was immediately drawn to Gender Studies, which she called a “dynamic discipline.”

“It’s a rigorous academic program; it challenges students in ways other areas don’t. Gender Studies asks you to engage with big ideas and big theories, but also to confront your positionality in them and the ways those things are implicated in daily life,” she says.

Throughout her studies, Wiesenthal volunteered for a range of organizations, including UVic’s University 101 program, the Active Start Special Olympics Program at UVic, the City of Victoria Youth Council, and Women's Shelters Canada.

Wiesenthal says she is excited to put her Gender Studies education to good use and plans to become a doctor. As part of her bachelor degree, Wiesenthal took sciences classes and says she was excited by the intersection between health and power, as well as identity and equality.

“In the future I want to combine my passion for social justice and health to pursue a career in health care,” she says.

For now, Wiesenthal plans to take a year off to work on community initiatives with the Victoria Foundation.

“I hope folks know how grateful I am to be at UVic and to have been challenged in my department in such a meaningful way,” she says.