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Jillian Sunderland

Convocation


Tim Ireland Jillian Sunderland, BA (Hons)
Valedictorian

Jillian Sunderland has a passion for equality and social justice with a proven record of academic excellence. Post high school, Jillian attended Ryerson University in Toronto, to pursue her interest in fine art before returning to Winnipeg for her studies.

At UWinnipeg, Jillian discovered sociology and began to understand her unique circumstance: growing up as a bi-racial female in a predominantly white neighbourhood. During that time, she experienced bullying and racial/gender discrimination, but through her studies discovered the emancipatory potential of knowledge.

Jillian has a particular interest in exploring the intersecting oppressions of race, gender, and class. This has led to her analysis of Canada’s welfare system, the rise of populist-right parties, and the resurgence of white supremacy that has fueled a rising tide of hate and facilitated the re-articulation of white masculinity as the dominant organizing factor of society.

She is an ardent social activist and contributor to social change. During her studies she found time to volunteer with North Point Douglas Women's Centre; the Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services; and Inspire Community Outreach. This past year she co-founded UWinnipeg’s Sociology Action Students Group, whose goal is to engage in critical praxis and activism for grassroots organizations to help create change.

Jillian has earned numerous awards and scholarships, including the 2018 Gold Medal for Achievement in Honours Sociology, the Dr. Dan A Chekki Prize for Excellence, the Clem Wyke Prize in English, and the UWinnipeg Retiree’s Association Scholarship.

This fall, she will attend McMaster University to complete an MA in sociology. Jillian has been awarded the prestigious 2018 Canada Graduate Scholarship by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, a scholarship from the National Endowment Fund, and a generous teaching assistant position to help facilitate her studies. Her future plans include a PhD and the desire to teach and create a more inclusive society.