The University of Winnipeg



Meet UWinnipeg’s 2023 Fall Convocation Valedictorian

Bilguundari Enkhtugs headshot against a red backdrop.

Valedictorian Bilguundari Enkhtugs is graduating with a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.

The University of Winnipeg community congratulates Bilguundari Enkhtugs, valedictorian for the 123rd Convocation ceremonies on Friday, October 13.

Enkhtugs is graduating with a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, which she began in 2021 after completing her bachelor’s degree at UWinnipeg.

Raised in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Enkhtugs chose UWinnipeg for its small class sizes and broad research and funding opportunities. She was humbled by her selection as valedictorian.

This degree has made me a more responsible person, especially given my dual identity belonging here and back home.

Bilguundari Enkhtugs

“Not everyone has the chance to go to university or pursue further studies at the graduate level,” Enkhtugs said. “I certainly am privileged to hold this title of valedictorian, and it comes with a responsibility to give back to the communities where I came from and where I am now.”

One way she gave back is by volunteering at Kids with Incarcerated Parents (KIP) Canada, an Ontario-based organization that connected her with a child she tutored via Zoom. She has also volunteered with community organizations in Winnipeg during her studies at UWinnipeg.

Enkhtugs’ interest in community supervision and environmental and social justice led her to a Research Assistant position in UWinnipeg’s Criminal Justice department. She also worked as an Office Coordinator at Global College.

Enkhtugs researched digital criminology and online victimology to write her master’s thesis, which explores how university students who have experienced cyberbullying define and present themselves online. She advocates for more mental health support for young people who have experienced cyberbullying. She will be presenting portions of her thesis findings to the public at the Skywalk Lecture Series in Winnipeg on October 18.

Support fuels success

Faculty mentors Dr. Kevin Walby and Dr. Katharina Maier were a big help as Enkhtugs completed her thesis. 

“They both provided me with tons of opportunities to co-author publications and to present our research at conferences in Halifax and Ottawa,” she said. “Their mentorship has helped me to learn to navigate graduate studies, and to start my PhD program at the University of Alberta. I don’t think I would be here without their support.”

Enkhtugs has received an impressive list of awards and scholarships along her academic journey, including the University of Winnipeg Graduate Studies Scholarship and a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). More recently, she was awarded a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship and the University of Alberta’s President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction.

As she prepares for a new challenge, Enkhtugs said she was thankful for the peers and faculty at UWinnipeg.

“Whether it’s course work, personal life problems, or sharing happy news, my peers were the source of my emotional support and encouragement,” she said. “I would’ve already dropped out if they were not there.”

She also thanked Dr. Michael Weinrath for encouraging her to pursue a PhD, and Dr. Lloyd Kornelsen and Dr. Shauna Labman at Global College for creating a supportive work and study environment.

“The achievement of valedictorian is a reflection of the tireless support I received,” Enkhtugs said. “On a personal front, this degree has made me a more responsible person, especially given my dual identity belonging here and back home.”

Enkhtugs shared two pieces of advice for students who are beginning their university journey.

“Embrace the challenges you face—you will be surprised to see how resilient, patient, and wise you can be,” she said. “Cherish the moments you make with your peers and those conversations you have with your peer and professors that can be life-changing. And don’t forget to laugh and take care of yourself. Not everything is as serious as you think. At the end of the day, what matters is not the overwhelming to-do list you’ve completed, but the conversations with your friends, peers, and mentors that bring joy and purpose to your life.”

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