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Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal

Joanne Kanas

The Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal is awarded twice yearly to graduating Pre Enrolment English Program (PEP) students who demonstrate initiative, teamwork, motivation, collaboration and the development of academic skills. The ELC's Academic Management team select the student most worthy of the medal, which is presented at the PEP Completion Ceremony.

Joanne Kanas was the Coordinator of the ELC's Pre Enrolment English Program (PEP) from 2003 to 2008 and following a long period of illness, passed away on 31 August 2011. The Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal honours her legacy of dedication and commitment to the teaching of English language to international students.


2019 Medal Winners

Yi-Xian with PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton and her teacher Alan.

Yi-Xian with PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton and her teacher Alan.

Yi-Xian Siow

January 2019

Yi-Xian Siow’s development from a shy, reticent member of the class to a confident, strong personality is a credit to the way Yi’s time and progression was self-managed. Yi is tri-lingual, but utilised this great ability appropriately and did not use Mandarin or Malay in class. Yi was open and frank, yet modest about academic successes and resilient and determined on the rare occasions of disappointment.

There was a real effort made to immediately grasp underlying principles from teachers and lecturers, but a ready willingness to help classmates catch up if necessary. Yi was welcoming and friendly in the Cross-Cultural sessions and was always an active, willing participant. Yi’s ‘lead-by-example’ style demonstrated the skills of a natural leader who, by following PEP lessons and requirements, developed logical thinking methods and could clearly articulate arguments in both speech and writing. Yi-Xian Siow is an outstanding candidate for the Jo Kanas award.

  • 2018 Medal Winners
    Brian with other medal nominees.

    Brian with other medal nominees.

    Duc Tuong Nguyen (Brian)

    July 2018

    Duc Tuong made an outstanding contribution to his PEP class and was a role model in development of both academic skills and life skills.

    The challenge of working independently was embraced by Duc Tuong and the starting point for this was his high level of self-awareness of the academic areas he needed to develop. Because he always spoke English during the PEP and was proactive in speaking English with local Australians, a big improvement in his speaking level was achieved.

    Another skill which Duc Tuong developed during the PEP was the ability to use critical thinking. Rapid improvement was made and he became a key mentor in assisting other classmates to meet the challenges of the Integrated Reading and Writing (IRW)  tasks and other assignments.
    He approached the Independent Research Project (IRP) with enthusiasm and with a fresh perspective.

    A genuine team player, Duc Tuong enjoyed group work and demonstrated active listening skills and showed a genuine interest in all other students. He was highly motivated to make the most of his opportunity of studying in another country and has already made plans to do an internship after finishing his Master degree. Being involved in the local community and playing  tennis on a regular basis also allowed Duc Tuong to enjoy the experience of studying abroad to the full.

    Duc Tuong is a highly motivated student and was generous in helping other class mates succeed which truly exemplifies the PEP qualities in a ‘Joanne Kanas’ medal winner.

    Van Thuan with PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton, his teacher Chris Wasow and Associate Director, Learning & Teaching, Grant Packer.

    Van Thuan with PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton, his teacher Chris Wasow and Associate Director, Learning & Teaching, Grant Packer.

    Van Thuan Hoang 

    February 2018

    Overall, Van Thuan’s contributions and engagement have been absolutely invaluable, to himself and for his own drive for improvement, to myself as a teacher, and to his classmates as peer-learners.

    It was evident that, to Van Thuan, the value that from this experience on the PEP was not one just for achieving a passing grade and starting at the University; but he consistently and explicitly made it clear through his actions and behaviours, correspondence and communication, relationships and collaboration, apparent self-efficacy and motivation, inquisitiveness and critical thinking, and speaking of English and negotiation, that his goal as a PEP student was to truly develop both as an effective English communicator, and as someone who is genuinely committed to the development of their capacity to fully engage in the academic culture of the University of Adelaide. 

    Van Thuan, engaged with all other students in the class in a meaningful way. Consistently, he was both extremely compassionate and constructive in his assistance to other students. Van Thuan’s approach to leading his peers to understanding, demonstrated ineffable tact, empathy and sympathy. His attitude to self-improvement was almost infectious, and his positivity and clear-headedness has been a life-boat in times when the PEP workload has put a strain on the class as a whole. Despite being in a cultural minority, Van Thuan  also through his friendly nature, wholeheartedly integrated into the class and built considerable social capital with his peers.

    As a student, his view of learning is long-term. He consistently sought further complexity in his learning, challenged himself, and, while seeking guidance when genuinely necessary, also aspired to greater autonomy. Van Thuan has shown a remarkable reception to the teaching methods and course material on the PEP, and has adapted to the process in a way that has undoubtedly maximised his improvement over the course of the program.

  • 2017 Medal Winners
    Xiao-Xia with Associate Director, Learning & Teaching, Grant Packer, PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton and her teacher.

    Xiao-Xia with Associate Director, Learning & Teaching, Grant Packer, PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton and her teacher.

    Xiao-Xia Ding

    July 2017

    When Shao-Sha joined the PEP course, she brought with her a natural ability to focus and attributes of flexibility and determination. These basic elements of Shao-Sha’s character have enabled her to progress steadily and surely. She can concentrate on a teacher’s feedback and immediately ask perceptive and relevant questions; she is prepared to persist in attempts to overcome obstacles until full understanding comes; she is resilient in failure and modest in success.

    Shao-Sha’s quiet good humour has consistently been an asset to PEP 7. She supports her class mates in both their academic endeavours and also with practical support when it is needed. In interactions with others Shao-Sha’s obvious self-reliance is infectious and has been helpful in increasing the numbers of PEP 7 students who are able to take on full responsibility for their own learning. As a team member, she is reliable and cooperative; as a leader she is energetic and decisive.

    Shao-Sha’s professionalism makes for impressive oral presentations. Adaptation to PEP and university culture came easily to her. For example, she understood the concept of the PEP wedge quickly and took it as her guide from the beginning. Shao-Sha has a perfect attendance record. Her time management and other organisational skills have grown stronger as the course has progressed and now - at the end of the course - she is capable of using it to her own learning advantage by finding windows of opportunity within it, rather than simply being content to serve it.

    Xinyue with her teacher Rebecca Belchamber

    Xinyue with her teacher Rebecca Belchamber.

    Xinyue Wang

    February 2017

    From the beginning of the PEP, Xinyue stood out as a confident and active class member. Her manner was always positive and she was enquiring and very motivated. Within class she elected to take on responsible roles for oral presentations, and accepted the chance to participate in an Interclass Discussion (online) with Waseda students in Tokyo.

    Additionally, her aim has been to optimise opportunities to use English and learn about Adelaide culture and lifestyle.  With this in mind, she showed significant initiative in involving herself in activities outside the classroom. Even before starting the course, she joined the Adelaide City Library to borrow books as a way of immersing herself in English. 

    Events during the course included attending the ELC Social Club, and participating in the University’s Ride to Uni day. She attended the Government House Open Day, which was quite relevant as she was currently researching the Vietnamese as a cultural group. Also, she took advantage of a Volunteer Information Day and has become involved with Vision Australia.

    Xinyue plays the clarinet and has joined two bands since arriving here. They are the Payneham City Concert Band, and the Adelaide City Council Band. She participated in Christmas concerts for both bands.

    All these activities have been balanced with a focus on the course requirements. Even when faced with disappointments, Xinyue remained resilient and reflected on the aspects that can be improved in the future. She was a role model for her classmates and engaged enthusiastically with all course tasks.

  • 2016 Medal Winners
    Marta with her teacher Natasha Vassilieva and PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Marta with her teacher Natasha Vassilieva and PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Marta Pastor Hernández

    July 2016

    Marta has earned the respect of her peers by being intelligent, hardworking, humble, respectful, dependable, conscientious, and always ready to help. She showed good initiative, assisted other class members in understanding skills and tasks, and shared her knowledge, experience and skills. Full of questions, Marta was an outstanding contributor and active listener in all class discussions and never hesitated to offer her ideas and opinions regarding any subject. PEP 18 students will never forget Marta's method of organising notes and her leadership strategies.

    Marta was very enthusiastic and showed a high level of dedication to develop her English and academic skills to a higher standard by continuously asking for advice, reflecting on feedback and negotiating own learning needs.

    Marta created efficient personal learning plans and timetables which enabled her to be ahead of schedule, turn in assignments early and work on tasks well in advance. As a result, Marta demonstrated a significant improvement in her writing and speaking.

    On a weekly basis, Marta participated in the Language and Cultural Engagement Program in Adelaide. This participation helped her to improve not only her English but also cross-cultural understanding and communication. Marta was not afraid to experience things outside of her comfort zone.

    Her progress in critical thinking and research skills, along with passion for learning and genuine interest in Social Sciences allowed her to prepare a conference paper: “Ethics challenges and global dynamics in cities” and present it successfully at the 23rd Annual AAPAE Conference at the University of South Australia in June 2016.

    Marta can be considered as an exceptional role model who represents the spirit of PEP and carries true endeavour which makes her genuinely worthy of Joanne Kanas Award.

    Ruoyen with her teacher Marie Fitzpatrick and PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Ruoyen with her teacher Marie Fitzpatrick and PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Ruoyen Zhang

    February 2016

    Ruoyun entered the PEP class as a quiet and reserved student. During the first few weeks, it became evident that she was absorbing every piece of information and was willing to clarify this to her peers. The introduction of new and challenging academic skills did not overwhelm her; instead, she took the opportunity to use the tools given to her and in her own time applied these to all the tasks and produced outstanding outcomes over time. She is to be commended on her ability to maintain self-motivation and extraordinary independent learning skills.

    Her quiet voice was an area she needed to improve for oral presentations and seminars. In response to feedback, she managed to overcome this and was nominated to be the MC for a class presentation activity. To witness a student overcoming a lack of self-efficacy in a particular area of language skills and actually taking control of the situation was astounding.

    Her clear, strong and deliberate delivery of speech that day was just the beginning. Since then, she has not only learned how to project her voice but is now able to use her voice as an engaging instrument, using intonation, volume and stress to capture an audience's attention.

    Ruoyun is an active team member who is willing to share her knowledge with others. Her involvement in group work is valuable to her peers as she is now confident to speak up and ensure that all criteria are met.

     Ruoyun also has developed excellent time management skills which has opened up available time to join the HUB gym, spend time with friends, and to travel to parts of Australia such as Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road; these extra-curricular activities are cherished by her to maintain equilibrium in study and stress management.

    Critical thinking alarmed Ruoyun in the beginning of her PEP journey and she related this issue with concern. Again, she worked hard to grasp the concept and applied these tools to now be the one who produces exceptional critical analysis in IRWs and class discussions. This is also related to her willingness to address her language issues through self-reflection and initiative to create effective strategies to improve. She has improved at a solid and steady pace. Through this dedication and the unshackling of self-doubt, Ruoyun demonstrates the qualities that this medal represents.

  • 2015 Medal Winners
    Beny with the ELC Education Advisor, Kathy, Coutts and PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Beny with the ELC Education Advisor, Kathy Coutts and PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Benediktus Lukrisnianto (Beny)

    July 2015

    Beny was seen as an inspiration and guiding light for many of the students. All the students who had a group project with Beny commented that they had learnt a lot from him, particularly with regards to time management and organisation. He led the way with providing insightful critical comments during small group and whole class discussions and was an integral part of encouraging his classmates to improve their speaking skills by asking them follow up questions on their opinions and ideas. Beny also encouraged other students on the PEP to continue to speak in English in and around ELC in order to maintain the English speaking policy, as well as model this himself by respecting cultural differences. He demonstrated a strong understanding of the demands of the PEP and was able to balance his studies with spending time outside of lessons with classmates during the study break. He realised the importance of having down time so that he could study at the optimum level. He regularly used the universities gym facilities, commenting that ‘working out’ cleared his mind and relieved any build-up of stress. Also, during this down time he went on driving trips and out to dinner with fellow classmates so that they could get to know each other’s’ cultures better, as well as improve their speaking and listening skills in English.

    Despite being away from his family in Indonesia and missing the birth of his new daughter, whose middle name is Adelaide, Beny focussed on improving his pronunciation and writing skills in order to achieve the ‘C’ he needed to enter his Master’s  programme. Not only did he improve in these areas, but due to his dedication to his studies he improved in all areas of learning. His willingness to accept feedback enabled him to develop his skills accordingly. Demonstrating his ability to ‘unshackle’ himself from self-doubt, he took on an ambitious topic for his IRP on a particular law in Australia, which had never been researched before and has continued to persevere to gain a successful PEP experience.  In the true sense of PEP values, Beny’s progress was due to his own diligence and motivation. It is for all of the above reasons that he was nominated by his teachers Alison and Marie.

    Frank with his PEP teacher, Kogi Naidoo.

    Frank with his PEP teacher, Kogi Naidoo.

    Liu Zheng (Frank)

    February 2015

    From the first day of the 20-week PEP, Frank’s humble, polite, respectful, enthusiastic, encouraging and motivating mannerisms set him apart from the other students. He demonstrated courage and determination when he shared his passion for design. Frank had completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering, a career pathway chosen by his parents. However, as he is inspired by the famous Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi, he realised that in order to fulfil his dreams he had to prove to himself and his parents that he could successfully pursue a career in design. He taught himself design skills by enrolling in a short course and spent hours practising and learning completely different skills from the field of Engineering. These accomplishments convinced Frank’s parents of his innate creative talents.

    In PEP 6, Frank started out with very average language and academic skills. Keeping focused on achieving his short term goal of passing the PEP to pursue a degree in Architecture, his determination and perseverance to succeed made him the ‘go-to’ person in class for support and advice. His leadership was demonstrated consistently throughout the program. Frank was able to work well, both as a team member and leader showing initiative to collaborate, motivate and inspire others. This was evident in his critical thinking and problem solving abilities in how he used models and analogies to help colleagues learn.

  • 2014 Medal Winners
    Sarah with her PEP teachers, Kathy Bernadi and Suzanne Piovesan.

    Sarah with her PEP teachers, Kathy Bernardi and Suzanne Piovesan.

    Tan Wenshuai (Sarah)

    July 2014

    At the beginning of the PEP Sarah's level of competence in listening and speaking was fairly low; however, her improvement was dramatic. She actively helped other students, during lessons and outside class times. She was a consistently positive and encouraging member of the PEP 5 class, always having a positive word for other students and teachers. We found her to be a very modest and humble person. Sarah demonstrated initiative in many areas. For example, she willingly organised oral presentation set up without needing to be asked and always made herself available to help others. She contributed actively at all stages of team work and showed a diplomatic approach in negotiating with others and when problem solving.

    Sarah demonstrated a high level of motivation by responding actively to feedback on her skills and made good progress in all areas. Her time management skills reflected a strong ability to work independently. Despite having been in the work force for a length of time rather than at university, she was able to adapt well to the academic environment and during the research process was able to solve her problems and recognise when she needed assistance. Sarah was active in her neighbourhood and made friends with locals. She built some lasting relationships that allowed her to have useful cultural exchanges with others. These interactions were significant in the improvement of her spoken English. In addition, Sarah is a great cook and shared some delicious Chinese treats with others. Overall, Sarah earned the respect of her peers and both teachers were very proud of her progress.

    Ariel with her PEP teacher, Sumati Chakravarti-Cook.

    Ariel with her PEP teacher, Sumati Chakravarti-Cook.

    Ai Hengyu (Ariel)

    February 2014

    Ariel is a most generous and enthusiastic human being. She brought the human element into PEP 6 through her initiative and spirit in facing any task and challenge with a smile regardless of how difficult it may have been for her. Her honesty in communicating her thoughts was a strong influence on her classmates becoming independent learners and working with each other positively. By week 2, she was organising the class BBQ and got everyone involved. This set the pace and dynamics for the whole class to work together as well as it did over the 20 week program. She spent a lot of time out of class with her classmates to learn more about people and other cultures. She was a great support to those of her classmates that had had to deal with personal difficulties and needed a friend to help them through their hard time. Ariel’s teacher, Sumati and classmates are grateful to her for this.

    Ariel has accepted Australian academic culture and used it to approach all the tasks in PEP in a positive manner. She listened to her peers and shared her ideas and experiences freely. She has been a source of inspiration for her teacher because of her sense of humour when situations   became stressful. She had the ‘bigger picture’ in mind and strived toward that vision. She is the hope that her teacher holds for this next generation of global citizens to apply the experience of PEP to life at university and the future. She represents the essence of PEP as well as kindness. She carries the philosophy of ‘endeavour’ that also honours this award.

  • 2013 Medal Winners
    Olivia with the PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Olivia with the PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton.

    Olivia Gelioli Do Carmo

    July 2013

    From anyone's perception, Olivia, from Brazil, would be considered a successful PEP student. Her academic achievement, personal development and commitment to her studies impressed her teachers immensely during the 15 weeks of her study at the ELC. However, what makes Olivia an outstanding candidate for the Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal goes beyond the improvement she has shown academically.

    Olivia's personal motivation, consistent, thoughtful consideration of other class members and engagement in teamwork made her an invaluable and popular member of her class. These qualities not only reflect the ideals embodied in the Joanna Kanas Memorial Award, but also stand her in good stead to meet her future academic and professional goals. Her teachers, Sally Harris and Amy Brown congratulate Olivia on the work she has done to deserve her nomination for this important award and wish her the best of luck in her further studies.

    Uther with his teachers Heather Sparrow & Denise MacLeod

    Uther with his teachers Heather Sparrow & Denise MacLeod

    Uther Zanin Baldissera

    February 2013

    Uther, from Brazil, was a model student and leader. During his study he quickly became a role model that all of his class peers looked up to and sought advice from. As a young undergraduate student he participated fully in the international learning environment with undergraduate and postgraduate peers and demonstrated all of the skills that this award honours at such a high and consistent level.

    Uther fits all of the award criteria perfectly and demonstrated impressive leadership in the class, including mentoring of fellow classmates. Uther was caring, patient and supportive when working with his classmates, and demonstrated a natural grace in the classroom in terms of turn taking. Although he was always willing and able to offer a response, he would often allow someone else to take centre stage. At the same time, he contributed critical ideas and asked valuable questions that helped keep class interesting and forward thinking. Uther was always searching for new ways to improve his already outstanding command of English and regularly sought advice from his teachers in a consistently polite and respectful manner. His teachers Heather and Denise could not imagine a better candidate to receive the Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal. Uther is a young man with great potential for the future and they are certain that his future achievements will bring even further respect to the award and the memory of its namesake.

  • 2012 Medal Winners
    Lesley with Grant Packer the Associate Director (Learning and Teaching) and other nominees Jorge Garcia Garcia from Mexico and Luis Manuel Garcia from Argentina.

    Lesley with Grant Packer the Associate Director (Learning and Teaching) and other nominees Jorge Garcia Garcia from Mexico and Luis Manuel Garcia from Argentina.

    Liu Yang (Lesley)

    July 2012

    Yang is from China and calls herself Lesley. She began class in PEP 6 as a very quiet, unassuming student, but soon became known as a team player who was good at organising and supporting the whole class, so was referred to as the 'other mother'. She became well respected for her enthusiasm, willingness and consistency in speaking English at all times. Early in the PEP, Lesley said that she was tired, lacking energy, and unable to concentrate, so she joined a tennis club in order to gain fitness and be out in the fresh air more often. Not only did this result in improved concentration and energy, but she had the added benefit of having to speak English, so then urged others in the class to join her.

    Lesley was a model PEP student in her attendance, participation and demonstration of independent learning skills and continued to develop her academic results through sheer determination and positive attitude. Peer support groups set up regularly in the Uni Hub were a feature of the daily routine for PEP 6 and Lesley was integral to the continuation of this support.

    Agus with Grant Packer the Associate Director (Learning and Teaching).

    Agus with Grant Packer the Associate Director (Learning and Teaching).

    Agostinho da Costa Cabral

    February 2012

    Agostinho (Agus) is an AusAid student from East Timor. He received the medal for demonstrating excellent initiative; for taking a leadership role and giving of his own time and resources for classmates whenever he could; for submitting most major assignments three or four days prior to the due date and for responding to feedback with gratitude and an active inquisitive approach.

    Agus also demonstrated a deep care towards his new social environments. He regularly attended PEP Social Club events and extended his social network beyond his immediate group. He connected with community groups and demonstrated his social qualities in the exchange of both personal information and ideological opinions. He has a robust social conscience and the capacity to negotiate alternative perspectives on a range of issues.

    His teacher, David O'Brien, considers that Agus embodies the spirit of endeavour that Joanne always tried to instil in her students and is destined to become a valued voice in his Master of Education program in which he can apply his vision and talents.

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