Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal

Jo 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.

2021 Medal winners

Anar Uralova

Anar Uralova


Anar Uralova - July 2021

Anar took responsibility for her learning at every stage of the PEP program. She demonstrated high self-motivation and showed good understanding of the program expectations.  She regularly asked questions for clarification and made thoughtful contributions to class and group discussions. Anar showed a willingness to seek understanding and appreciation of cultural and learning differences and made others feel at ease in her presence. She encouraged her classmates to share their thoughts and she negotiated and collaborated in a positive, confident and respectful manner and could keep groups on track during group tasks. Anar focused on learning the academic skills needed for university studies. Her goals of learning to think independently and critically and to learn to research with integrity were achieved, and she demonstrated this with everything she completed while studying on the PEP.

Shin Inuzuka Jo Kanas

Shin Inuzuka

Shin Inuzuka - January 2021

Shin began PEP with an enthusiasm for learning that did not wane despite the challenging nature of the course. He embraced the new academic culture and took every opportunity to learn new skills. He is a natural and considerate leader, who consistently modelled positive facilitation and discussion skills from the beginning even when not feeling confident in his ability to communicate clearly in the early weeks. He learnt how to respectfully greet classmates in their first language in order to show respect when meeting them online socially. When the course was particularly intense, he found ways to make others laugh and put the course into perspective. He willingly helped other students by showing them how to access information and how to understand tasks. Shin attended many O-Chat sessions in order to develop his speaking fluency skills. He was a strong independent learner who always sought solutions before asking for help; however, would willingly ask for help when needed. His commitment to analysing feedback resulted in significant improvements in his overall language skills. Shin’s approach to relationships and to his studies was respectful in every way.

  • Chitpasong Kousonsavath

    Chitpasong was an excellent role model and leader showing an admirable maturity and dedication for learning within the PEP academic context. She was able to deliver the quality and high-level skills needed to commit to academic studies in the PEP and for future studies at The University of Adelaide. Chitpasong was an excellent contributor and listener in class and helped to support class members effectively in their learning by leading group discussions regularly in the online classroom. Her ability to encourage others has been notable; she has a gift for communicating and working well with others and a strong ability to be able to negotiate and communicate in a professional manner with her teacher. Despite early challenges of arriving in Adelaide during a pandemic, leaving children and family overseas to pursue studies at The University of Adelaide, she demonstrated resilience and the ability to thrive and stay focused on the PEP and her future goal to return to The University of Adelaide for a second degree. Chitpasong’s award is well deserved and she is a welcome addition to the Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal award-winner fraternity.


  • Yuhan Chen

    Yuhan found the PEP course and Academic culture challenging at first but embraced the learning experience with hard work and a sense of humour. She is a highly motivated and questioning student who considered feedback on tasks carefully and asked questions when unsure of things. Yuhan made a big effort to use only English with her colleagues throughout her PEP Program and embraced the challenge and pressures of the PEP. She Is a good reflective learner and was able to identify areas that needed improvement and development and then source suitable materials to achieve this. She was an asset to any group she was involved in and demonstrated that she could balance having fun with being serious and focused; she developed a good rapport with both her peers and her teacher.

    Yuhan with PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton and her teacher David.


  • Chuanghong Zhang

    Chuanghong with his teacher Suzanne, PEP Education Program Manager, Beth Hutton and Associate Director, Learning & Teaching, Grant Packer.

    July 2019

    Chuanghong made an enthusiastic start to the PEP program and maintained this consistently throughout, even when there were some challenges in his learning journey. He showed initiative by attending ELC organised activities such as the ELC coffee and chat, cross cultural conversations, the career workshop, plus wider University programs and local community events where he made valuable networks and connections with individuals. He also actively encouraged his class members to join in. This involvement contributed to Chuanghong 's greater awareness of cross cultural understanding and openness to learning and thinking in new ways.

    He was proactive with feedback, willing to ask questions which enhanced his progress in his English language learning skills. Although there were some roadblocks at times, he continued to persevere and find solutions to these problems. All of the above helped him to successfully navigate his way through the PEP program which resulted in him winning the prestigious English Language Centre PEP, Joanne Kanas Memorial Medal for July 2019.

  • Yi-Xian Siow

    Yi-Xian Siow - January 2019 Medal Winner

    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.

    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.

  • Duc Tuong Nguyen (Brian)

    July 2018 

    Brian with other medal nominees.

    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 Hoang

    February 2018

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

    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.

  • Xiao-Xia Ding

    July 2017

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

    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 Wang

    February 2017

    Xinyue with her teacher Rebecca Belchamber.

    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.

Past medal winners

  • Chitpasong Kousonsavath - July 2020
  • Yuhan Chen - January 2020
  • Chuanghong Zhang - July 2019
  • Yi-Xian Siow - January 2019
  • Duc Tuong Nguyen (Brian) - July 2018
  • Van Thuan Hoang - February 2018
  • Xiao-Xia Ding - July 2017
  • Xinyue Wang - February 2017
  • Marta Pastor Hernández - July 2016
  • Ruoyen Zhang - February 2016
  • Benediktus Lukrisnianto (Beny) - July 2015
  • Liu Zheng (Frank) - February 2015
  • Tan Wenshuai (Sarah) - July 2014
  • Ai Hengyu (Ariel) - February 2014
  • Olivia Gelioli Do Carmo - July 2013
  • Uther Zanin Baldissera - February 2013
  • Liu Yang (Lesley) - July 2012
  • Agostinho da Costa Cabral - February 2012