The University of Winnipeg



Meet UWinnipeg’s 2024 Spring Convocation Valedictorians

Left to right: Ava Stokke outdoors, Damilola Ashaju in front of a white background, and Indigo Wiebe outdoors.

Left to right: Ava Stokke, Damilola Ashaju, and Indigo Wiebe

The University of Winnipeg congratulates Ava Stokke, Damilola Ashaju, and Indigo Wiebe, valedictorians for the 124th Convocation ceremonies on Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14.

Ava Stokke, Bachelor of Arts in English and Mathematics

Ava Stokke will address graduates being conferred degrees in Arts on Thursday, June 13 at 9:30 a.m.

Ava is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and English. These areas of study are not commonly taken together; however, Ava said the principles behind each area can often overlap.

“A major focus of my math degree has been developing logical skills,” said Ava. “I have found those same logical methods needed to formulate a mathematical proof can also be applied to constructing a successful paragraph, albeit a different form.”

Ava chose to study at The University of Winnipeg because of its small class sizes, but also because of its reputation as an excellent liberal arts university. Since she was uncertain about what degree she wanted to pursue, it was important the university had the flexibility of choosing an arts or science degree.

“I enjoyed taking a variety of different classes,” said Ava. “I was able to take breaks from each type of assignment to help keep the topics exciting.”

During her studies, Ava received prestigious scholarships in both mathematics and English. In 2022, Ava received the Peter Pauls Scholarship in English, and in 2023, she received the Dr. Jessie Blackwood Lang Scholarship from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Ava won a highly competitive NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award which enabled her to participate in an undergraduate research project in mathematics. Her research project, Quadrature Rules Involving Derivatives, was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Wiersma.

“It was an amazing learning experience working with Dr. Wiersma,” said Ava. “I was incredibly fortunate to have amazing professors throughout my time at the university, which elevated my classroom experience. Every professor I have had at the university has gone above and beyond to provide helpful feedback and has always been open to answering questions.”

In the fall, Ava will attend the University of Manitoba Robson Hall Faculty of Law. “I am hoping the written communications skills I have fostered in my English degree, coupled with the logical skills I have learned as a math major will be a great combination to help me prepare.”

Damilola Ashaju, Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Economics

Damilola Ashaju will address graduates being conferred degrees in Science, as well as Business and Economics, on Thursday, June 13 at 2:30 p.m.

Damilola chose UWinnipeg because of its strong reputation in academics and supportive community atmosphere. “The University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, along with its notable small class sizes, made it an ideal place for me to pursue my studies,” he said.

Damilola initially leaned towards studying Applied Computer Science, but with an open mind, he explored various subjects including macroeconomics and microeconomics. Instantly, he found a passion.

“I love and appreciate economics,” he said. “It is a combination of everything, math, history, psychology, philosophy, sociology, politics, etc. It is so relevant and crucial and relates so closely to our everyday life.”

Given Damilola’s interest in the field, he took all the finance courses offered at UWinnipeg including BUS/ECON 4800 and 4801. Damilola even completed level one of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program, scoring above the 90th percentile in the exam, which is unusual for a student at his stage.

“The amazing professors at UWinnipeg increased my curiosity and love for economics with their teaching methods and passion to see students succeed.”  

He served the Finance and Economics Students’ Association (FESA), first as its Vice-President (Academic Services) in 2022-23, and then as its President in 2023-24.

During his final term, Damilola helped lay the groundwork for launching the inaugural student-managed investment fund in the Faculty of Business and Economics.

Even during a time following COVID when student engagement declined, Damilola competed in external competitions including the CFA Research Challenge (2024), CFA Ethics Challenge (2023), JDC West Finance delegate (2023), and Bank of Canada Governor’s Challenge (2021, 2024). He also served as a volunteer for Siloam Mission and United Way Winnipeg.

Following graduation, he will step into the role as Commercial Banking Associate with TD Bank. “If you can align your passions with career pursuits, that’s the ultimate fulfillment.”

Indigo Wiebe, Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (Athletic Therapy)

Indigo Wiebe will address graduates being conferred degrees in Education, Kinesiology and Applied Health, and Marriage and Family Therapy on Friday, June 14 at 9:30 a.m.

She said UWinnipeg’s Kinesiology BSc in Athletic Therapy aligned with her longstanding interests in sports and healthcare.

Wiebe, 22, grew up in Winkler and entered UWinnipeg in the fall of 2020.

“I wanted a place where I could walk down the halls and recognize my classmates, and show up to my professor’s office and have a good conversation, not only about school, but also about life,” she said.

Wiebe said her professors and classmates became “like a second family” to her.

“I built really incredible relationships in the Athletic Therapy program. I’m positive that many of them will last a lifetime.”

Wiebe said professors like Val Pelleck, Glen Bergeron, and Ben Trunzo pushed her to succeed and “become the best version of myself.”

Classmates like Hayley Arpin helped get her through long days of studying. On the final day of classes, the two friends celebrated by popping a bottle of sparkling apple juice visiting faculty offices. When Wiebe gets married next month, Arpin will be a bridesmaid.

Wiebe said it feels “bittersweet” to be finished her degree.

“It all goes by so, so fast. You look back and you realize just how much you’re going to miss it. Overall, I just feel so incredibly grateful for my time at UWinnipeg.”

Wiebe distinguished herself through academics and through extra-curriculars like serving as the Wesmen women’s basketball team’s student athletic therapist, coaching high school and club volleyball, and volunteering at a community centre.

She is a recipient of the Chuck Badcock Scholarship in Athletic Therapy, the Gord Mackie Scholarship in Athletic Therapy, and an Ongoing Education Support Award from the Winkler Community Foundation.

After graduation, Wiebe plans to work at a multi-disciplinary clinic in Winkler and pursue ongoing education.

“I’m not done with learning yet,” she said. “There’s so much more out there for me.”

In recognition of exceptional service, achievement, and distinction, The University of Winnipeg presents a variety of awards to deserving members of the University and wider community at our Convocation ceremonies. Learn more about our 124th Convocation.

Media Contact