Our graduates’ paths to success!

Faculty of Education
Collage of graduating students
Left to right: Xingtan Cao, Nawal Dib, Akbaraly Goulamraza, Sarah McHugh
As we celebrate the Faculty of Education's class of 2024 graduation ceremony, we witness the extraordinary determination of the students who have overcome challenges to reach this significant milestone in their journey.

Resilience, patience and perseverance are qualities that were often mentioned by students who shared their experiences at the Faculty of Education. They have achieved important milestones in their academic careers. With their degrees now in hand, these graduates talked to us about what prompted them to enroll at the Faculty of Education and how they persevered in the face of adversity.

Xingtan Cao – PhD ‘24

Xingtan, born in a remote village in China, grew up with the unflagging support of his parents, who believed strongly in education. Xingtan, the first member of his family to attend university, could never have imagined being able to study in Canada and earning a doctoral degree, mostly because of financial challenges. Fortunately, the scholarship for international doctoral students, introduced in 2018, lightened that burden, allowing him to concentrate on his studies and research. 

During his doctoral program, Xingtan had many teaching and research opportunities, working with professors and his peers to promote justice, equity and diversity. Those experiences shaped his doctoral research and his personal values. Xingtan also co-led the Empowered Leadership Network, organizing events examining anti-racism education and social justice. 

Despite challenges, including being away from his family and juggling a busy schedule, Xingtan persevered, thanks to careful planning and the support of his university community.

Nawal Dib – BEd ‘24, Ottawa campus

Nawal grew up with the values of generosity, love and mutual aid passed on by her father, a village doctor. Inspired by these values, she chose to pursue a career in teaching and became actively involved in the Faculty of Education, helping to create a school environment conducive to self-fulfilment. As vice-president of the Association des étudiantes et étudiants à la formation à l'enseignement, she worked to foster inclusion, collaboration and collective well-being.

Nawal has overcome many academic and personal challenges. As a newcomer to Canada, she had to adapt to a new educational system while managing her family obligations and emotional needs. Her perseverance, passion for teaching and determination helped her to excel, enabling her to become valedictorian of her class. Nawal continues to fight for a world where every individual has the chance to flourish through quality education.

Akbaraly Goulamraza – BEd ‘24, Toronto campus

At the age of 12, Akbaraly discovered his passion for teaching thanks to his geography teacher, a decisive moment that shaped his future. After graduating in geography from the Université de la Réunion, followed by a bachelor's and master's degree in spatial planning and management at the Université Paris IV, he took a temporary break from teaching to devote himself to project management. However, after several years and his immigration to Canada, inspired by the educational opportunities and his enduring passion for teaching, he decided to pursue his childhood dream by becoming a teacher.

As an education student in the Faculty of Education, Akbaraly juggles study, work and personal life while representing his cohort. He enhances the educational experience by organizing forums and promoting fluid communication between students and teachers. As a techno-pedagogy assistant at the University of Ottawa, he enriches students' online learning.

Convinced that teaching will enable him to find his “ikigai” - his raison d'être in Japanese - he aspires to contribute actively to Canadian society through his commitment to this noble profession. Fluent in several languages, he creates an inclusive classroom environment. Outside the classroom, he leads associations, promoting positive social change and enriching student life.

Sarah McHugh – BEd ‘24

Sarah McHugh, a graduate of the Teacher Education program, succeeded in juggling her passions for teaching, her figure skating coaching and her studies. Besides her academic achievements, she inspired her students and athletes with her passion and dedication. Her time management skills and sense of discipline, along with her ability to create a stimulating learning environment, have prepared her for a remarkable career in teaching.

During her practicum placements, Sarah came up with innovative ways to enliven the classroom with a focus on play-based learning.  Sarah is quick to laugh and have fun with her students forging lasting relationships and involving them in the learning process.  

These stories show that, challenges notwithstanding, Faculty of Education students at the University of Ottawa have demonstrated exceptional determination and a passion for education. Their experiences and achievements are proof of their commitment to making a difference in education.