Marcelle Carvalho Athanasof is University Canada West’s Valedictorian for 2021.
Originally from Brazil, Marcelle completed her Bachelor of Laws degree at Mackenzie Presbyterian University, and she has extensive experience working as a corporate and banking lawyer in her home country. She has a passion for traveling and learning about different cultures and languages, and studied Spanish in Argentina and Legal English in the United Kingdom.
In 2017, Marcelle moved to Vancouver to take the Advanced Diploma in Business Administration program at Greystone College of Business and Technology before returning to Brazil to study contract law at FGV Law - Getulio Vargas Foundation.
Marcelle returned to Vancouver in the fall of 2019 to pursue earning her Master of Business Administration degree at UCW. She completed her studies in April 2021 and today graduated with distinction.
Marcelle addressed her fellow graduates on July 16 during UCW’s online convocation ceremony.
“I am absolutely delighted to stand here today on behalf of all graduating students here at UCW,” she said. “After crossing days off our calendars and so much hard work, graduation day is finally here! This is our achievement, our hard work paying off.”
Marcelle reflected on the challenges of the past two years – the endless assignments, team projects, exams and late-night study sessions. She also commented on completing her degree amid the COVID‑19 pandemic.
“This virus took so much from our university experience. We couldn’t attend social gatherings after class, we couldn’t go to campus to study and see our friends, we couldn’t organize end-of-term parties… and right now I am talking to a camera instead of looking at each one of your faces,” she said. “However, we dealt with it, each one in our own way… We did the best that we could and we succeeded.
“But most importantly – we were always there for each other, even if just virtually.”
Marcelle ended her Valedictorian address with some thanks.
“First, I would like to thank all the parents and families who supported our dreams, many of whom are in other countries around the world watching this grand achievement on a screen,” she said. “Even though we are physically apart, our hearts are always close to each other.
“Second, I would also like to thank the university staff, the people who are always working in the background to support us,” she said. “And finally, I would like to thank the faculty, as each one of our professors has taught us something indispensable to our success.”
Before today’s online ceremony, Marcelle said she is honoured and excited to be named Valedictorian of the 2021 graduating class.
“It was brilliant to feel that all my hard work had been recognized,” she said.
Marcelle hopes to pursue earning a PhD and becoming a university professor. She said getting her MBA at UCW was an important step in achieving her goals.
In the meantime, with her MBA in hand, Marcelle is starting a new chapter in her life.
“I am pursuing a career shift to the non-profit sector,” she said. “I was recently hired by a foundation, so I am super excited about that. In the short (or medium) term I am also going to apply for business instructor jobs to start my teaching career as well.”
And Marcelle had some practical advice for students embarking on an academic journey.
“Managing your time appropriately is fundamental for your academic success, so work on your organizational and time management skills from day one,” she said. “Do not let your schoolwork pile up and always complete your assignments in advance.”
To watch our 2021 Convocation Ceremony, go to our YouTube channel.
Published on July 16, 2021.