We’re putting a much-deserved spotlight on our spring 2020 graduation award winners. These are the students who were to be honoured for their exceptional achievements at spring convocation. Though we couldn’t spotlight them on the convocation stage, we’re thrilled to celebrate these stand-out students through special features.

Nahal Fakhari, Bachelor of Arts (Child and Youth Study) Honours | Hometown: Tehran, Iran

Nahal was the winner of a President’s Prize this spring. The President’s Prize is awarded to graduates whose generosity, energy and commitment enrich the university. Nahal also holds an Early Childhood Education Diploma from the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Sanati Babol University in Mazandaran, Iran.

Q: Why did you choose to study at MSVU?

A: “MSVU is a well-known, internationally recognized university not only in child and youth studies, but other fields as well, and with a mission of providing excellence in academic training and an inclusive, diverse supportive environment.”

Q. What is your favourite location on campus and why?

A. “Evaristus lounge on the third floor and ‘my cozy spot’ at the very back of the library are my two favourite locations on campus, as I have lots of memories associated with these locations – from studying for exams to socializing between classes.”

Q: What surprised you about MSVU (or your program)?

A: “I already knew that MSVU was an internationally recognized university for providing high quality education, but still I was surprised with the degree of collegiality and support, plus the inclusive and multi-diverse culture.”

Q: What sorts of extra-curricular activities are you involved in?

A: “I have always been dedicated to giving back to my community and have been volunteering with the child life team at the IWK. I am also a volunteer teacher with the Iranian community, teaching the Persian language to second-generation Iranian immigrants. I also continued to work as a research assistant at the Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre under the supervision of Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac at MSVU.”

Q: Were you part of an experiential opportunity (co-op, practicum, internship) during your time at MSVU? If so, please describe.

A: “On my practicum placement at the IWK, I had the opportunity to closely work with other child life workers/specialists which has helped me better understand the culturally diverse environment of providing therapeutic play at the IWK, and has made me more empathic with children and their families, and given me a better understanding of the nature of chronic disease and its impact on different aspects of children’s lives. This practicum helped me decide on the next step of my academic journey.”

Q: Tell us about your research experience as part of your time at MSVU.

A: “As a research assistant at the Early Childhood Collaborative Researcher Centre at the Mount, I was involved in studies investigating topics related to children and their development in various populations, like immigrants. One was a Photovoice project that illustrates the experience of newcomer families with young children in accessing early childhood education services. This study is under the supervision of Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac and her team in collaboration with ISANS. Also, I gained research experience by completing my honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Joan Turner in ‘exploring e-health behaviour among child and youth study students’.”

Q. Is there a particular course, book, experience or event you would recommend to others?

A. “History courses were my favourite classes as I believe we can learn so much from the past. The two courses that I highly recommend are History of Europe and History of Childhood: the European Experience.”

Q: What class, professor, project or learning activity has held the most meaning for you? Why?

A: “I would say my favourite project was doing my Honours thesis under supervision of Dr. Joan Turner. This experience allowed me to put into practice all that I had learned from different courses.”

Q: If you could share just one piece of advice with your pre-MSVU self, what would it be?

A: “Believe in yourself, the sky’s the limit!”

Q: What’s next for you?

A:” I am a dedicated lifelong learner, and I’m enrolled in the MA program in health promotion at Dalhousie University for the upcoming academic year. Also, as a parallel plan, I am writing the MCAT exam in August of 2020 with a goal of studying medicine at Dal after completion of my master’s degree.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: “I like to think that in 10 years I will be serving my community as a family doctor, while continuing academic research in child and youth studies.”