University of the Fraser Valley

Governor General’s Bronze Medal 2024: Pandora Siganakis finds a new passion in library program

Governor General’s Bronze Medal 2024: Pandora Siganakis finds a new passion in library program

Governor General’s Collegiate Bronze Medal winner Pandora Siganakis.

Pandora Siganakis hopes the skills she’s learned during her educational journey have set her up to help future students at UFV. The winner of this year’s Governor General’s Collegiate Bronze Medal for 2024, Siganakis has achieved the highest academic standing of any student in a diploma program. She completed the Library and Information Technology program with a GPA of 4.31 and is now setting her sights on returning to the university as a full-time library technician.

“I live in Abbotsford, and I like this university,” says Siganakis, who is currently auxiliary at the library. “UFV has supported me and the staff at the library are great. I could go elsewhere, but if I have a choice of which academic library to work at, it will be this one.”

Her background makes her well suited for the path she’s chosen. Siganakis has long had an interest in language and writing, spending 11 years teaching English in Japan, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Canada.

“I love literature, and because I was a teacher for so long, I love working with students and being able to help them,” she says with a smile. “It’s rewarding helping people find the information they need and helping them to understand the world and be connected to the community.

Siganakis enters the field at an exciting transitional time for libraries. Nearly gone are the days of microfiche and dusty shelves loaded with periodicals.

“Technology is huge now, and physical journals and books are almost tertiary to a library now with all the online resources,” she says. “The main floor at the UFV library is computers and students using those computers to get the information they need. Doing well in my computer classes helped me feel more comfortable with the changing tech, and there’s also the realization that you can’t get away from it. You must accept it and adapt or get left behind.”

Siganakis says Karen Sharkey, associate professor of information studies, played a key role in her educational journey.

“Karen is so positive, encouraging, and supportive and all the students just love her,” she says. “Wanting to get into a new career at this point in my life after doing other things for so long, it’s not easy. But Karen was my number one champion.”

Siganakis powered through up to five classes per semester, plus summer courses, achieving high grades the entire way. Despite that, she says she was in “complete shock” to win the Governor General’s medal.

After taking time to process, she’s shifted from shock to gratitude.

“There are so many students that I know who are amazing, even within my own program, so I’m shocked it was me,” she says. “I was happy with myself because I put a lot of work into it. It’s nice for that to be recognized.

“It feels good.”