September 9, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

By Shirley Wong, Candidate Bachelor of Arts, History 2017

Congratulations to King’s students, Emily Denommé, Chris Ginou, and Wyatt Merkley for their recognition as Highly Commended Entrants for the prestigious international Undergraduate Awards 2016. The Undergraduate Awards recognizes the world’s top performing students in their undergraduate coursework, and provides them with support, networking, and other opportunities to further their scholarly paths.

Emily Denommé, a recent graduate in 2016 with an Honors Specialization in English and a Major in French, had two essays shortlisted for the award. "Reclaiming the Female Melancholic Artist in Charlotte Smith’s Elegiac Sonnets" explores some of the sonnets of a lesser-known late-eighteenth century poet, Charlotte Smith.

“Though she is often considered a kind of proto-Romantic poet, whose work influenced more famous Romantic poets like William Wordsworth, I look at how her sonnets are part of the late eighteenth-century trend of celebrating the performance of melancholy, and how her status as a female poet in particular shapes her poetic expression of melancholy,” says Denommé.

Denomme’s second shortlisted essay, “Beyond Borders: Nature, Revelation, and Identity in Atwood’s Surfacing,” examines how identity — national and otherwise — is constructed around literal and figurative borders. Denommé explains, "the borders (of nationality and gender, for example) that define the protagonist's identity are ultimately harmful to her, and how her process of healing can only take place when she moves beyond these constrictions.”  

Denommé is now pursuing a Master’s in English at Queen’s University. At King’s, she worked at The Write Place as a peer tutor, and was involved as a KAMP mentor. “All in all, I loved my time at King's. I made great friends, was always supported in my academics by my professors, and received an education that continues to benefit me, sometimes in unexpected ways,” says Denommé.

Chris Ginou, is a recent graduate in 2016 with an Honors Double Major in BMOS (Global Commerce) and Political Science. Ginou’s essay, for Dr. Erin Hannah’s 3357E: International Political Economy course, “The Permanence of the Sustainable Development Complex,” was shortlisted for the award. Ginou’s essay is a critical assessment of the sustainable development discourse that the world has taken in an attempt to re-stabilize the economic, social, and environmental pillars of the environment. “I can't thank Dr. Erin Hannah enough for all of her guidance and mentorship while I was writing that paper,” says Ginou.

At King’s, Ginou was on the Dean’s Honor List every year and was his graduating year’s valedictorian. Ginou was on the Soph Team for three years, and a member of the King’s University College Student Council for two years.

Currently, Ginou is working for Emco Corporation completing their Management Development Program before he is relocated to St. John’s Newfoundland for the next phase of his training. “I am looking forward to exploring where my current job takes me and sometime down the road I will be strongly considering completing my Masters in International Business,” says Ginou.

Wyatt James Merkley, a fourth year King’s student in Honors Specialization in English Language and Literature, was recognized for his paper titled “Literary Amplification: Jon Krakauer’s Use of Intertextual References in Into the Wild and Their Role in the Formation of ‘The McCandless Phenomenon.’” Merkley wrote the paper for Dr. Coby Dowdell’s course, “Studies in Solitude and Isolation,” a seminar half-credit course. 

Merkley explains the background for his paper, “basically, ever since Krakauer's book was published in 1997, there's been a “cult” worship of Chris McCandless, the subject of the story, a 24-year-old who died alone in the Alaskan Bush. In 2007, the Paramount Pictures movie was released, and from then on the “followers” of Chris McCandless  grew exponentially. Most people love McCandless because he had the courage to give up the trappings of our society and live freely, and yet at the same time, many people hate him and view him as a criminal, a freeloader, or a drag on society,” says Merkley.

“I wanted to focus more on how Krakauer assembles the story in a literary sense. However, I eventually realized that Krakauer takes all these quotes and ideas from other books in the Outdoors/Adventure/Survival literary canon and uses them to elevate the status of his own story—which is, without the additions, simply the tragic story of another person dying in the backwoods. With the additions Krakauer puts in, though, quotes from Henry David Thoreau, Jack London, and Leo Tolstoy, among others, the book becomes elevated to a whole new literary calibre, brought more to the philosophical level of Thoreau or Tolstoy, and the High Adventure level of London. This, my paper claims, is largely the impetus behind the “Cult of McCandless” and the ‘McCandless Phenomenon,’” explains Merkley.

“Overall, I could never have done so well without Professor Dowdell's help. He guided me through the editing process, which was essentially me chipping away at a paper that was far too long for Undergraduate Awards standards. His guidance was wonderful, both in the writing process and in the editing/submission process. I can't recommend him enough,” says Merkley.

Merkley is involved at King’s through the King’s Players Theater Company. He says, “they did workshops when I was in high school, and I attended one. I knew right then that I was meant to be at King's, it was just such a great place. The school itself was so inviting and welcoming, it was great. Now I'm president of King's Players, so that was meant to be too!”

King’s congratulates Denommé, Ginou, and Merkley for their exceptional work, and we wish them the best on their future endeavours!

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