Student Stories | Fall 2023

Head of the Class

Julia Carvello Wins Coveted Fellowship

Julia Carvello seated and wearing a black dress

Even before Julia Carvello graduated with her Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science (HBASc) in May 2023, she'd scored her first big career break.

Julia is one of only two people to receive a 2023 TD Insurance Meloche Monnex Fellowship in Advancement from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE). The CCAE is an organization that encourages excellence in educational advancement—a field encompassing alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, and relationship building.

TD Fellowships provide emerging educational advancement professionals with valuable job experience, and the competition to secure a fellowship is fierce. Universities, colleges, and polytechnics across Canada submit applications in the hopes that their candidate will be chosen.

"Advancement education is the backbone of universities," explains Julia, who is completing her fellowship at Lakehead's Orillia campus. "I love that I'm helping students."

Helping people is the reason she opted to major in criminology and minor in psychology for her HBASc degree.

She was drawn to these disciplines, she says, "because I was interested in working with communities and victims of crime, either through the Ontario Provincial Police's victim services department or another organization. I was also considering becoming a crisis responder."

Julia's connection to Lakehead extends well beyond her academic studies. As a first-year student, she joined the Lakehead University Student Alumni Association (LUSAA) to support Lakehead and its graduates.

"The most common advice people give students starting university is to get involved, so LUSAA is how I dipped my toe in the water," Julia says. "It was great because I got to meet so many people from different years and different programs that I wouldn't have met otherwise."

Throughout her four years with LUSAA, Julia was an exemplary mentor who put her compassion for others to good use. During the pandemic, for instance, she organized 25 LUSAA virtual events, many of which focused on mental health.

"The events allowed students to feel engaged with the University and their peers at a time when they were feeling isolated and disconnected," External Relations Associate Jacquie Kent says. "Julia's contributions were instrumental in Lakehead receiving a 2020 CCAE Prix d'Excellence bronze award for the Best Student/Young Alumni initiative," she adds.

And her passion for helping others extends outside of Lakehead to the wider community—Julia enjoys volunteering with organizations such as the Elpizo Counseling Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Her work ethic caught the attention of Lakehead staff and, as a student, Julia was hired by the External Relations department on several work-study contracts. Her responsibilities included organizing events and travelling to events throughout Simcoe County to promote Lakehead Orillia. Julia also learned how to pull alumni and donor information from Lakehead's database, create spreadsheets, and ensure the integrity of Lakehead's data.

"Julia far exceeded my expectations," Jacquie Kent says. "She showed her ability to lead with a quiet and gentle hand, to encourage by doing, and to see the bigger picture."

Now, Julia is putting her skills into action.

"I'm really excited about the Fellowship," Julia says. "I'm mostly focusing on developing mental health resources—such as chat rooms, live streams, and events—for Lakehead alumni. In addition, I'm collaborating with Lakehead's Office of Indigenous Initiatives to develop events hosted by Lakehead or the Indigenous community."

During Julia's limited spare time, she relaxes with online gaming and watching horror movies.

"When I was a kid, my parents accidentally left a scary movie on. My older brother had nightmares for weeks, but after that, I couldn't stop watching them."

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