Imogen Sloss, an undergraduate student who recently completed a degree double majoring in PACS and Psychology, has been awarded the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal for the highest GPA of the 2024 graduating Arts students at the University of Waterloo. The award recognizes a student graduating from the Faculty of Arts with the highest overall average. Imogen also attained the top cumulative average of all Arts students who finished in spring 2023, fall 2023, and winter 2024— by extension, she is also receiving the Department Award for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) and the Currie Scholarship. When asked how it felt to be recognized for such achievements, she shared, “I was shocked to be the recipient of these awards and felt rewarded for my hard work over the past four years.” Imogen continued, “I am someone who loves learning, and have so benefitted from my experience as a student at Waterloo and Grebel.” 

Imogen decided to pursue psychology because she has "long been interested in understanding people and relationships.” She added “I thought that psychology was a great way to dive deeper into these topics.” She recognized that understanding interactions and others is critical in designing interventions that facilitate individual and societal change. Imogen’s passion for social justice is also why she chose PACS. She explained, “I grew up in a Mennonite family that valued peacebuilding, but I wanted to take PACS to learn more about what I could actually do to work towards a more peaceful world.” Imogen has valued the bigger-picture approach of PACS in examining larger-scale societal factors that impact peace and war, sharing that “PACS has allowed me to better understand intersectionality, and the complex, interconnected-nature of issues in our world.”

Imogen Sloss

Imogen has a strong connection to the Grebel community, first living at the College as a resident and then in the apartments for her final two years. “I really appreciated being in such a unique and supportive community and having the chance to form relationships with other Grebelites, especially during the pandemic lockdowns when there were not many opportunities for connection,” she recalled. At Grebel, she developed friendships with other students who were also passionate about their academic programs. “Having friends in PACS definitely enriched my learning, because I was able to have discussions about what I learned in class and was exposed to different ideas and perspectives,” she said. “These discussions provided a space for us to reflect on what we’d learned, and to bounce ideas off of each other.” Imogen also appreciated being a Grebel resident because it provided her with opportunities to engage in clubs and student groups, fostering a sense of community, and allowed her to develop a sense of meaning outside of her academics. 

Imogen has not only excelled academically, but she has also been involved in many different leadership roles throughout her undergraduate studies. She has served as Peace Society Leader at Grebel and helped organize restorative justice training for Dons, she was on a PACS faculty hiring committee, she was a peer-support volunteer with MATES, and she is currently volunteering with The Ripple Effect Education in elementary schools to practice some of the conflict management skills she learned from her PACS courses. Imogen volunteered at two psychology labs before being hired by a professor at the Family Psyche Lab, where she has worked as Lab Manager for the last two years. During her summers, she also volunteered in the parent-child centre at Jessie’s Centre, as a mentor with the Youth Enrichment Academy, and as a tutor with The Neighbourhood Organization. 

Over the next year, Imogen plans to continue working as the lab manager for the FamilyPsycle Lab, a Clinical Psychology research lab at the University of Waterloo. She is excited about her ongoing involvement in this research, as she is hoping to pursue clinical psychology and will be applying to clinical psychology graduate programs for fall 2025 admissions. Reflecting on her academic and career choices thus far, Imogen stated, “all these experiences allowed me to develop relationships with others and put what I learned in my classes into practice." 

By Natasha Forth