Dec. 21, 2020
UCalgary Political Science Congratulates: Valeria Palacio!
Medallions presented at convocation are among the most prestigious of University awards. These awards reflect the highest academic distinction earned by a student in a particular discipline.
Silver Medallions: Each department (or equivalent unit) awards one silver medallion to the student graduating with the highest distinction in scholarship in their program.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a first-generation immigrant from Colombia. I moved to Toronto, Canada when I was three, and I am now very happy to call Calgary my home. I was drawn to the study of Political Science because I have always been interested in the world and how we are all connected in it. Politics is something we all have in common, no matter where one lives. Moreover, I wanted to be able to interpret the world through the eyes of a Political Scientist and have a deeper understanding of the various factors that form different political regimes. Politics is such an integral part of the human experience that it entails a duty to constantly discuss and analyze the ways in which we can improve as a global society. For this reason, I believe that politics is one of the most important things that someone can dedicate their life to.
As the Silver Medallion winner, you must have had some favourite courses or areas of study?
As a whole, I believe that my education in the Political Science department was extremely well-rounded. However, I did have a couple favourite areas of study. For example, I was very interested in international politics, which is why some of my favourite courses in that area were: POLI 435 Canada and World Politics, POLI 481 The Politics of Human Rights, and POLI 477 American Politics. These courses taught me how to critically analyze international policies and governmental relations in an increasingly globalized world. I also thoroughly enjoyed learning about Canadian politics, and I acquired a deep appreciation for the way our democracy functions with courses such as: POLI 321 Politics and Government in Canada, and POLI 425 City Government.
After your degree, are there any plans that you would like to share?
After my degree, my goal is to complete a Juris Doctor/Master of Public Policy joint program. I am extremely passionate about the law, and I hope to build upon the knowledge gained throughout my undergraduate degree in Political Science to study the dynamic relationship between law and public policy. Ultimately, I aspire to use my degree to help disadvantaged groups, as I have always felt an innate desire to promote fairness and equality. To achieve this, I endeavour to create effective change in areas that substantially affect marginalized groups, such as health and social policy.
Finally, any advice for students just starting their degree in Political Science?
The best advice that I can give to incoming students starting their degree in Political Science is to keep an open mind. University is the place where you can truly engage with other perspectives that differ from your own. Most notably, the study of Political Science offers a great opportunity to critically analyze and discuss a variety of topics such as, political theory, international policies and feminist politics with students that flaunt diverse experiences. Other than that, I would recommend taking full advantage of all the academic resources the department has to offer. For example, do not be afraid to reach out to professors and build academic relationships with them.
Congratulations to Valeria Palacio on the 2019–20 Silver Medallion for Political Science!