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GRAD Contests

The Yeates School of Graduate Studies (YSGS) holds annual contests to showcase the creativity, talent and experiences of Ryerson graduate students beyond their scholarly activities.

A group of students walking in a field with the words "Grad Postcard Contest"

During this time of transition and reflection, what’s the next chapter in your graduate journey? 

Share your vision for a chance to win cash prizes totalling $6,000!

Fall Contest: Grad Postcard

Show us your future as a graduate student! Share a snapshot of your next chapter, through either a:

  1. Postcard image - original photographs and/or illustrations 
  2. Postcard text - descriptive prose (100 words max.) or poetry (10 lines max.)

Prizes:

Prizes are awarded at the judges’ discretion:

  • Up to 6 winners: $750 each
  • Up to 6 honourable mentions: $250 each 

Entry:

Students may only submit once to either category (image or text). Submit entries by 11:59 p.m. EST on Nov. 23, 2021.

Questions? Contact sarah.pratt@ryerson.ca

The contest is now closed. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in winter 2022.

Waiver, indemnity and release

By entering these contests, entrants declare that they are the sole creator of their work and acknowledge that Ryerson University owns all rights to the words, images, illustrations and recordings. Contest entrants grant permission to Ryerson University and its representatives the right to reproduce, use, exhibit, display, broadcast and distribute their words, images, illustrations and recordings in any media now known or later developed for promoting, publicizing or explaining Ryerson University and its activities and for administrative, educational or research purposes.

Contest entrants agree to release, defend, indemnify and hold harmless Ryerson University, its Board of Governors, officers, employees or agents from and against any claims, damages or liability arising from or related to the use of the words, images, recordings or materials, including but not limited to claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, or rights of publicity or copyright infringement, or any misuse, distortion, blurring, alteration, optical illusion or use in composite form that may occur or be produced in taking, processing, reduction or production of the finished product, its publication or distribution.

A student walks across Lake Devo in the snow.

On April 28, 2021, the Yeates School of Graduate Studies revealed the winners and honourable mentions of the 2020-21 GRAD Contests at a special virtual awards ceremony, external link. This year, a contest was held each semester and invited graduate students across disciplines to creatively share their experiences, insights and advice amidst the pandemic. 

In all, 161 graduate students participated in the fall and winter grad contests, and many submitted entries to both. In total, YSGS received 183 submissions.

My Grad Moment

What’s your most memorable moment as a graduate student? Graduate students were asked to capture a quintessential experience of achievement, discovery, growth, inspiration, etc. in one of the following ways:

  • Prose 
  • Poetry 
  • Photograph
  • Illustration
  • Video 
  • Audio 

My Grad Message

What’s one piece of advice you would give to incoming or fellow graduate students? Graduate students were asked to share an inspirational message in the form of a engaging social media graphic. 

And the winners are…

My Grad Moment

Illustration

Winner

image file A graphic of a building and student gliding down with a parachute in the shape of a graduation cap. , opens in new window

Rukhsar Jaffer, Master of Health Administration (Community Care)

Honourable mentions

image file A blue background with swirling yellow icons with the word "Connecting" , opens in new window

Marienka Bishop-Kovac, Urban Development MPl

"Connecting"

image file A hand-drawn diagram of a smartphone and text messages. , opens in new window

Thanh Thanh Chung, Early Childhood Studies MA

Photography

Winner

image file A black-and-white image of a home office. , opens in new window

Rhea Tubigan, Master of Health Administration (Community Care)

“My tiny corner: this 5’x4’ tiny area is my classroom, office, meeting room and family room. During isolation, it became my space to connect to all that matters to me.”

Honourable mentions

image file A woman with the caption “My inspiration: My mother, a refugee from Somalia, is my daily source of inspiration and the reason why I entered the MA program in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University.” , opens in new window

Muna Jama, Immigration and Settlement Studies MA

“My inspiration: My mother, a refugee from Somalia, is my daily source of inspiration and the reason why I entered the MA program in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University.”

image file Julie Chan, Nursing MN graduate student. , opens in new window

Julie Chan, Nursing MN

Audio

Winner

Julia Wittmann, Documentary Media MFA

Honourable mentions

Marian Mendoza, Spatial Analysis MSA

Alex Cyr, Journalism MJ

Video

Winner

Felipe Castaneda Gamboa, Documentary Media MFA

Honourable mentions

Katryna Klepacki, Ted Rogers MBA

“My Grad Moment” video category honourable mention: Tasala Tahir, Professional Communication MPC

Special jury prize

Elleanna Wright, Environmental Applied Science and Management MSc

Poetry

Winner

"Where The Fall Leaves Go"

I remember pathways filled with laughter and light,
The smell of sweet and comforting aromas,
Anxiety and excitement mingle in my body like two old friends catching up,
As I walk past the changing autumn hue I take notice,
Their patterns, their colours, facing the challenges of a changing season,
They do not yield or crumble instantly and remain steadfast with a beautiful reverence,
They teach me that I do not need to crumble at a new beginning,
That I can remain tall, proud, and take on the brisk wind of change,
That I too, can go where the fall leaves go

Ammaar Kidwai, Psychology PhD

Honourable mentions

image file A graphic with a cherry blossom branch and the words “Zoom calls, long nights. Summer will come. We will meet again.” , opens in new window

Andrey Maltsev, Ted Rogers MBA

“Zoom calls, long nights. Summer will come. We will meet again.”

Time flies and flies as the virus spreads
face-to-face now face-to-screen
RyeU looks a lot like my room
we attend, they teach
that is all it supposed to be
yet something wrong with the whole thing
humans need humans to see
smile, talk, hug and feel
let us not forget
after the pandemic
how we used to be

Mohammad Maldar, Civil Engineering PhD

Prose

Crisp coffee beans brewing in a pot and sunshine peeking through cream curtains. The alarm reads 7:30 a.m. and your cat, curled into a bun, perks his ears at the chirps of the birds waking. The world is still as you swirl out of bed, into the washroom, the kitchen, and finally your desk with the illuminated blue keys and coffee mug placed smoothly beside you.

Online the lecture is lively. Twenty-five different faces, all smiling, laughing, and listening to the discussions of others. The limbo of waiting for a pandemic to end, is all but forgotten, among a little constellation of boxes. And you are grateful, for your friends, for your professors, for yourself. In turmoil, 25 different faces, with 25 different ideas, can connect like the milky way, carving a path in the vast, empty sky. The busyness of the past, now halted, to a new appreciation of the smoothness of homemade coffee and the warmness of the cat on your lap, curled in contentment. A grad student in a moment of grand connection, in a space where little moments have room.

Honourable mention: Mane Kara-Yakoubian, Psychology MA

When I take a second to look at the world around me, I am met with unwavering determination. Here I am, a twenty-three-year-old woman, completing a master’s degree, taught by another phenomenal women. I know the phrase, “the world is your oyster” but I only ever understood its true meaning right now. The most memorable moment as a graduate student is being a part of ground-breaking studies by professors who thrive on the success of their students. These opportunities have instilled a resolution within me, that yearns to spread my developing knowledge with those around me. As a graduate student, I have had the utmost of fortune to be surrounded by those who thrive on learning, creativity and moving the world forward. Graduate studies have opened up a new world of academia that has provided me with the opportunity to have my interests become innovative research. Brilliant minds encircle and urge me to continue learning and educating others, so we can all lift each other up and observe as society grows and shifts before us because of the work we are doing.

My Grad Message

Winners

image file A graphic of an hourglass with the words "The time work takes, expands to fill the time you give it, so never forget to give enough time for your life outside of work." , opens in new window

Arvin Jagayat, Psychology PhD

"The time work takes, expands to fill the time you give it, so never forget to give enough time for your life outside of work."

image file A poster with images of the Ryerson campus. , opens in new window

Sara Taghinia, Master of Science in Management

Honourable mentions

image file A "Stay Balanced" bingo game with a green background. , opens in new window

Luella Marcos, Electrical and Computer Engineering MASc

"Stay Balanced Bingo" (click to enlarge)

“Dear first year me:

“Don’t be afraid to take risks. Sure, the expectations of being a graduate student can seem intimidating at first, but the truth? You are going to be greeted by a community of people who will support you and your academic journey with open arms. So, make the most of it! Join a club, network with professors and scholars in your field, and connect with your graduate cohort. You’ll soon realize that the relationships you make here will last you a lifetime.

“Seize every opportunity, but don’t forget to enjoy the small moments, too. Before you know it, you’re off into the big city!”

image file A student a their desk with the words "“When you feel like stopping, remember why you started” , opens in new window

Victoria Gomez, Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management MA

“When you feel like stopping, remember why you started”

image file The Toronto skyline at sunset with the words "“Your education is more than your degree. Live in the moment and engage with the community.” , opens in new window

Luke Galati, Documentary Media MFA

“Your education is more than your degree. Live in the moment and engage with the community.”

image file A diagram showing the growth of houseplants. , opens in new window

Kylie Gonsalves, Nutrition Communication MHSc

Special jury prize

“Be well, so you can do well

“During grad school, you have to keep caring for yourself in order to keep succeeding. Just like your house plant!

“Feed & water it. You still need food, water and rest, even when things get stressful!

“Add some sun. Positivity is a MUST when your workload feels unmanageable.

“Give it time and love. You need those things too to feel your best!

“What you water, grows!”

image file A poster with different internet browser windows with the words "I am creating the life of my dreams." , opens in new window

Jennifer Nguyen, Fashion MA

“I am creating the life of my dreams

“If you are looking for a sign

“This is it. You made the right decision.

“Pursuing a Graduate Studies program at Ryerson University was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

“My one piece of advice to future graduate students is to rest assured that you made the right decision. I spent a lot of time questioning whether or not a Master’s degree was right for me. Ryerson has the facilities to ensure that no matter your goal — whether it be to make an impact in industry or academia — you will be supported in creating the life of your dreams.

“While pursuing a Master’s degree may have moments of difficulties. Rest assured knowing that the outcome is well worth the hard work.”

On Feb. 6, 2020, the Yeates School of Graduate Studies revealed the winners of the 2019-20 GRAD Contests at a special awards reception. More than 120 students from all faculties shared their ideas and creativity by entering the two contests:

My Grad Story

How is your graduate education transforming you? In three images/video clips (with optional text) grad students illustrated their past, present and future, and how graduate education is transforming them.

My Motto

What does graduate education mean to you? How do you plan to use your knowledge and skills to create change in the world? Grad students were asked to write a concise personal motto on what graduate education means to them.

Guests also participated in a Sticky Note Challenge to win prizes. The winners were… 

My Grad Story: Winners

Atheer Abu Zaid, Computer Science MSc

Atheer Abu Zaid, Computer Science MSc

Niko Casuncad, Urban Development MPI

Niko Casuncad, Urban Development MPI

Peter Totten, Documentary Media MFA

Peter Totten, Documentary Media MFA

My Grad Story: Honourable Mentions

Three images of a grad story submitted by Masooma Ali, Urban Development MPI

Masooma Ali, Urban Development MPI

Three images of a grad story submitted by Michael Mercer, Molecular Science MSc

Michael Mercer, Molecular Science MSc

Three images of a grad story submitted by Melanie Zuzarte, Child and Youth Care MA

Melanie Zuzarte, Child and Youth Care MA

My Motto: Winners

"Challenge yourself to be in charge! You’re surrounded by smart, passionate problem solvers - dare to lead them to tackle today’s issues."

Charlotte Ferworn, Biomedical Physics PhD

"Graduate education is a pathway to opportunities. Having the opportunity to inspire just one person can change their world. One word, one page, one step at a time."

Justin Rain, Policy Studies PhD

"Never forget: 

busy days are tangible moments of pursuit."

Kimia Rashidisisan, Literatures of Modernity MA

My Motto: Honourable Mentions

"Everyone learns to live in our world. Graduate studies is learning to expand the world everyone lives in."

Joseph Fida, Chemical Engineering MASc

"We push back against social amnesia and self-serving myths; we exercise our power to question the limits of the past."

Nick Papalabropoulos, International Economics and Finance MA

"Studying alone in a foreign country can be challenging.

But when things are challenging,

it also means change and growth.

Embrace that."

Jae Duk Seo, Computer Science MSc

Sticky Note Challenge: Winners

"Graduate studies is hand crafting the key to unlock any door of your choosing."

Joseph Fida, Chemical Engineering MASc

"Making the invisible  visible. #marginalizedpop #Nursinggrad"

Tingna Xu, Nursing MN

"Saying cool things like 'I'm building an artificial intelligence-based system'"

Anum Khan, Civil Engineering MASc

The Yeates School of Graduate Studies revealed the winners of the 2018-19 GRAD Contests at a special awards ceremony on Feb. 7, 2019, featuring instapoetry and poetry readings by contest judges Natasha Ramoutar, Andy Lee and Tara Farahani, and feature poet Ivy Reiss, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Artis, external link magazine.

Graduate students from all faculties showcased their talents in two contests that asked, "How is your Ryerson graduate education helping you shape our future world?":

  1. Write a Micropoem (A pocket book of all the entries is now available in the Ryerson Library)
  2. Design the Grad Studies T-Shirt (Individuals and teams were invited to design the official YSGS T-shirt. Two of the winning designs are available for purchase in the RU Campus Store. See (*) below)

The winners are ...

 

Contest 1: Write a Micropoem

Winners

Honourable Mentions

what I learned from the water

a river carves first its own space
then
        carries

                carries

                         carries           along
for ages after

Terence Abrahams
Literatures of Modernity MA

segm-
enting
pics
for med-
ical diagnosis
it’s only glim-
pses of
this future
prognosis

Nabila Abraham
Electrical and Computer Engineering MASc


studying
in the centre of the
city
i learn
how to keep its heartbeat
steady

Danielle Lenarcic Biss
Urban Development MPl

Lines that divide seem immutable.

Grasping them
I shake. 

Shattering,
fragments reform

bonds are born.

Alexandra Pospisil
Literatures of Modernity MA

From inchoate to magisterial,
the sieve of knowledge never fills.
So with humility I grow

Nick Papalabropoulos
International Economics and Finance MA

Unleash your mind.
The world needs more
colour in its raindrops
and strange snowflake designs.

Kelsey Shaw
Nursing MN

Contest 2: Design the Grad Studies T-shirt

Winners

A graphic illustration of a brain with the text "Unleash Your Mind"

Seyed-Youns Sadat-Nejad (*)
Electrical and Computer Engineering MASc

A graphic of a blue circle outline with a sprout and the words "leadership, integrity, innovation"

Ryan Fernandes (*)
Master of Architecture MArch

A white t-shirt with a graphic of a head with various icons in the head space

Rafael Vasquez
Civil Engineering MASc

Honourable Mention

An illustration of two white t-shirts and two gray sweatshirts modelling a YSGS logo

Jan Wozniak
Philosophy MA