Voices from the Class will inspire Lakehead University graduates

May 28, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Lakehead University has chosen three students to speak as the Voices from the Class at this year’s convocation ceremonies at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1. 

Masoud Manzouri will speak on Friday, May 31 at 2 pm.

Photo of Masoud ManzouriManzouri’s speech will be about why “going beyond expectations is the key to becoming exceptional and unconventional.”

He said he enjoyed his experiences at Lakehead University.

"Lakehead is a unique and inclusive campus, which offers enormous opportunities to not only improve your academic and research skills, but also to get involved in student life to build your personal, social, and professional skills."

This year he received the Lakehead Leader Award for promoting diversity and inclusion at Lakehead University and in Thunder Bay. He said he is also the first graduate student to serve as president of the Lakehead University Student Union.

He also won the WUSC Campus Award for Event of the Year for Outstanding Leadership and Planning at the 2019 International Forum in Ottawa, for organizing Drams for Justice with Emmanuel Jal, a free event where a former child soldier sang and spoke to students about optimism in the face of adversity.

Manzouri, an international student from Iran, will receive his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and then will be serving students as the LUSU president.

Madison Sameshima will speak on Saturday, June 1 at 9:30 am.

Photo of Madison Sameshima“My speech will be about how we’ve grown academically, professionally, and as people during our time at Lakehead,” Sameshima said.

“In addition to acquiring a comprehensive foundation of knowledge in our discipline, we have had many opportunities for experiential learning and opportunities to learn more about ourselves. These skills and lessons will be just as valuable for our futures.”

She said her experiences at Lakehead were “incredibly rewarding” and that she was able to get to know her professors and peers and “learn in a supportive environment.”

“I gained work experience through the Work Study Program, Co-op, and the RBC Work Integrated Learning Program. I also have so much fun working in the community alongside so many dedicated students in the Shelter House volunteering group and Enactus Lakehead. All these experiences have made me more confident to graduate and enter the workforce.”

Sameshima was on the Enactus Lakehead team last year and then became president. Through both years, she worked with a dedicated team of students on financial literacy projects.

“This year we attended the Regional Competition in Toronto and the National Exposition in Vancouver and placed for the first time in both competitions. Working with this amazing team on these community projects was incredibly rewarding and allowed me to learn many skills in addition to my degree.”

She will receive her Honours Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Human Resources and a minor in Marketing. She will receive the President’s Award for her achievements and contributions to Lakehead University.

Sameshima will study abroad this summer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and complete an internship at an international start-up in China. She will return to Lakehead in September to complete the Master of Science in Management Program.

Vanessa Ervin will speak at 2 pm on Saturday, June 1.

Photo of Vanessa Ervin“I know convocation can be a very pivotal moment in our lives, so I want to help my classmates see how much they have accomplished, to be incredibly proud and excited for convocation, and help them realize what they are capable of,” she said.

“I also want to thank everyone who has helped us throughout our time at Lakehead, and to thank Lakehead for making us into the people that we are today.”

Ervin said she knew Lakehead was the right place for her from day one. 

“The first day I arrived at Lakehead there were people at the entrance waving welcoming signs, cheering us on, and helping us move in.

“It was an amazing day, and I met so many friendly and welcoming people. This was when I knew I was moving into a place that I would consider my home and family. I look back on my first day, and all the moments in between, and see how many priceless memories I have made at Lakehead.”

Ervin said she enjoyed participating in many of the opportunities during her time at Lakehead, and she always strived to get the most out of her time at Lakehead. She was on the executive board within Lakehead’s first and only sorority, Alpha Pi Phi, Kappa. She was also the Vice-President for Lakehead’s Visual Arts Network (LUSU Club), and she studied at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore during the summer of 2018.

She was also selected to co-curate at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery for the By Request: Collective Curation of the Permanent Collection and she receivedthe Department of Visual Arts award for her art at Lakehead’s Annual Juried Show, among other awards for her art.

Ervin will receive an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in Women’s Studies.

This fall she will continue her education at the University Of Ottawa in pursuit of a Master of Women’s Studies.



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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.


Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.