9 days after baby arrives Mom gets her PhD

Other award recipients included:Governor General’s Silver Medals: Stacey Van Herk (Mathematics and Computer Science) and Cameron Giles (Medical Sciences).Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Medals: Dinara Salaeva (Applied Health Sciences); Huzaifa Faizan (Accounting); Lee Belding (Chemistry); Gianluca Agostinelli (Social and Cultural Contexts of Education); Stephanie Culp (Classics); Gabriela Ruiz Rodriguez (Aboriginal Adult Education); Malvina Skorska (Psychology).Applied Health Sciences Research Excellence Award: Kinesiology professor Sandra Peters.Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award: Economics professor Robert Dimand.Both Fall Convocation ceremonies can be watched in full belowMorning Ceremony:Afternoon Ceremony: There’s a tradition in university convocation ceremonies where PhD graduates immediately get to sit on the stage with their colleagues after they’re conferred.It was a tradition Izabella Ludwa got to enjoy for about five minutes Saturday morning before her responsibilities as a mother trumped her reward for holding a doctorate.Izabella Ludwa with her daughters Elowen, left, and Willow, right.Nine days before she walked across the convocation stage at Brock University to receive her Doctor of Philosophy, Ludwa gave birth to her second daughter.“I got teary eyed when I walked out. Just being here is amazing,” Ludwa said as she sat with her two children at a table overlooking Ian Beddis Gymnasium, where the morning convocation ceremony was still going on.The Toronto native, who now lives in St. Catharines with her husband Tito and daughters Willow, three, and the newborn Elowen, has spent more than a decade as a student. She took her undergrad at the University of Toronto and then moved to Brock for her masters in kinesiology and finally her PhD.But getting to Saturday’s ceremony – Brock’s 100th Convocation – has been far from an easy journey for the Ludwa family.“It was hard. My husband was a huge help and you try to figure out what works. There are moments where it doesn’t work and things go by the wayside in terms of trying to finish school,” she said.Six months after her first child was born, she considered leaving school.“There was a point where I thought I should just quit. It was too much,” she said. “We don’t have family here so it’s not like I can go drop someone off. And being a student, financially it’s difficult. Day care is expensive.”Ludwa credits her supervisor, kinesiology professor Nota Klentrou with pushing her on. Ludwa’s research focused on investigating the bone-muscle interaction during growth and development in children and she’s hoping to continue that research if she’s able to get some post-doc funding.Ludwa was one of 955 students to graduate during two convocation ceremonies at Brock Saturday.The Fall Convocation event marked the first for Interim President Tom Traves, who started at Brock two weeks ago, as well as for Registrar Geraldine Jones, who took over the role from the retired Barb Davis over the summer.During the morning ceremony, Applied Health Sciences Research Excellence Award recipient professor David Gabriel gave the convocation address and reminded the graduates about the importance of friendship.“Convocation is for family who have sacrificed so much for you, but today I want to acknowledge the friends,” he said. “These are the people who have been with you through the trials and tribulations when you tell your family ‘everything is OK,’ and then you go home and spend time with your friends who help you through day-to-day life.“Never forget to take an opportunity to tell your friends and all those who are there for you that you care about them,” he said.The afternoon address was delivered by Faculty of Education professor Nicola Simmons, recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, who said graduates need to remain creative, patient and inquisitive.“My wish for you is that you use your degree wisely; That you continue to ask good questions; That you do today what will be good for tomorrow; That you creatively imagine the future; That you not be rushed and that your life indeed will be rich and full,” she said.

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