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April Showcase | Amazing YU Faculty, Alumni and Student Accomplishments

At Yorkville University, we’re proud of the accomplishments of all our faculty, students and alumni, both inside and outside of the classroom – be it publishing books and articles, or winning awards and competitions, or being given prestigious grants.

Here are some of the good news stories about Yorkville University’s talented community that we’d like to showcase this month:

BCA Grad Olayinka Jinmi-Ahisu wins 2024 The Verdict Marketing Case Competition

Bachelor of Creative Arts grad Olayinka Jinmi-Ahisu was recently part of a team that took home a first-place finish from The Verdict 2024 – including a cash prize of $10,000!  

“Winning the competition felt unreal to me,” Ahisu said of The Verdict, an annual marketing case competition presented by IMDOINGIT, which offers Black youth in Canada the collaborative opportunity to tackle real-life business challenges for a chance to a cash prize. 

“I’m naturally not a competitive person, and I had never actively participated in a competition before due to the fear of losing. So, when we emerged as the winners, it was an incredibly fulfilling and surprising moment for me and my teammates.”

Over the course of six-week competition, Verdict participants were tasked with working in teams to address business challenges and develop solutions with the guidance of mentors from IMDOINGIT’s mentorMatch program.

For Ahisu and his TOA teammates Toni Agbaje-Ojo and Ayanfe Ayeni, that meant presenting a show-stopping Movember case solution that would blow away the judges – and they succeeded. 

“Our solution for the Movember case can be described in one word: Audacious! We focused on reaching our target audience, men aged 18-35, by engaging with them on the ground, in the sky, and across cities and campuses. Our approach involved meeting these men where they were, ensuring maximum reach and impact,” said Ahisu, who enjoyed every minute of the experience. 

“If I’m being honest, the six-week competition didn’t feel like six weeks at all! It felt much shorter. The experience was intense, exhilarating, and challenging. We worked tirelessly, burning the midnight oil, juggling our jobs and the competition. But all our hard work paid off in the end.”

The Verdict judges agreed – awarding Ahisu and his teammates with the $10,000 prize – a portion of which the Class of 2021 Toronto Film School graduate intends to earmark towards a short film project he’s working on.

His biggest takeaway from the Verdict experience, Ahisu said, was the knowledge that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. 

“Throughout the competition, I held onto a powerful quote that resonated with me: ‘As a man thinketh in heart, so he is,’” he said. 

“From the beginning, I shared with my teammates that I wanted to win, and I was ready to put in the work. It was tough, but we remained focused on the thought of winning, even when it seemed unlikely. The power of that mindset and determination cannot be underestimated.”

In addition to his Verdict victory, Ahisu also recently celebrated the completion of the first feature film he worked on as a Director of Photography – a dual-country production, with the first leg shot in Nigeria and the second leg shot in Canada. He’s also been collaborating with friends and colleagues on short film and spec commercial ideas, and is finalizing the script for his latest short film, which will mark his post-TFS directorial debut.

Follow him on Instagram at @theahudacity and learn more about his work at

YU’s Nicole Rampersaud Nominated for East Coast Music Award, Named Guggenheim Fellow & Receives Pair of ArtsNB Grants

Nicole Rampersaud, Yorkville University’s Associate Director of Admissions, has had a lot to celebrate lately – not only is she nominated for an upcoming East Coast Music Award (ECMA), but she was also recently named a Guggenheim fellow and received two grants from the New Brunswick Arts Board (ArtsNB).

The multi-talented trumpet player and composer received her ECMA nod in the Instrumental Recoding of the Year category for her debut solo album, Saudade, which was released last November by Ansible Editions.

“I have always admired and have been inspired by the depth and breadth of the talent and artistry of the musicians in Atlantic Canada. I am deeply honoured and humbled to be included in the list of artists nominated for an ECMA this year,” Rampersaud said of being nominated for the award, which will be announced during the 2024 ECMA ceremony in Charlottetown, PEI this May. 

Rampersaud was also recently named one of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation’s 2024 fellows in the area of Music Composition. 

Chosen through a rigorous application and peer review process from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants, the 188 members of the Class of 2024 Guggenheim Fellows were tapped on the basis of prior career achievement and exceptional promise. 

Rampersaud and her fellow fellows will receive a monetary stipend to pursue independent work at the highest level under “the freest possible conditions.”

Meanwhile, Rampersaud has also received the support of ArtsNB to launch her new project, Pathways – a long-term project that adapts her solo trumpet compositional approach to large ensembles comprised of music-makers from a wide range of backgrounds, locations, and communities.  

“The project mirrors my lived experience of establishing and nurturing connections within and between communities through collective music-making using compositions that incorporate non-idiomatic improvisation,” she said. 

“The support from ArtsNB will allow me to compose and rehearse new works with a new ensemble of Atlantic Canada-based musicians, as well as produce a documentary that provides an inside look into the music-making process.”

BCA Student William Gauthier’s ‘Each Other’ Wins Big on Festival Circuit

Bachelor of Creative Arts student William Gauthier has enjoyed a very successful stint on the festival circuit with his very first short film, Each Other, over the last year.

Since its completion in June 2023, Each Other has been selected to 16 festivals in 8 countries around the world, garnering 12 nominations and bringing home two awards – including Best Drama Short Film at the Inside Film Festival in Ukraine, and Best First Time Filmmaker for Gauthier at the  Swedish International Film Festival

“I couldn’t be prouder of us, our entire team, for what we achieved together with (Each Other). It may sound cliché, but filmmaking truly is a team sport,” said Gauthier, who wrote and directed the film during his time in the Film Production program at Yorkville affiliate, Toronto Film School (TFS). 

“Initially, Each Other was only meant to exist in the context of being my thesis film at TFS. Then, I took the decision, supported by my co-producers (and TFS classmates) Alyssa Duncan and Matt Dionne, to treat it as a professional short film in every way, from start to finish. It was a lot of work, especially working with ACTRA, but it paid off.”

The end result was an award-winning 12-minute film that follows a young man named Logan who, after realizing his younger brother Jesse’s 15th birthday has been spoiled by their father, takes it upon himself to sneak him out to a party to spend time with his boyfriend.

“Behind all these efforts, the bond and reciprocal love shared by the brothers proves to benefit Logan as much as it does Jesse and proves to be its own reward in an otherwise harsher time in both of their lives,” Gauthier said of the film, a piece of fiction that tackles topics he himself is familiar with as both a queer man and the eldest brother in his family.

Inspired by a similar feature film script Gauthier continues to work on, Each Other’s other festival nominations include: Best Director at Toronto Indie Shorts; Best Canadian Short Film at Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival; Best Ensemble Cast (for Jordan Kronis and Gage Graham-Arbuthnot) at Symbiotic Film Festival; Best Short Drama at Swedish International Film Festival; Best Short Drama finalist at Anatolia International Film Festival; finalist at the KINO Short Film Fest; and Best Drama, Best Director, Best Director Debut, and Best Color Editing (Ralph Pineda) at the Snow Leopard Film Festival

Gauthier credits his time at both TFS and Yorkville University for helping him make long-lasting connections with classmates and instructors he’s confident he’ll continue to work with into the future.

“The best part about Toronto Film School is the immediate opportunity to meet the people who can become your collaborators for decades to come,” he said.

Each Other is a testament to what passionate professionals can achieve together before even graduating. With now just a few months left to my time at Yorkville University, I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”

BBA Prof. Adnan ul Haque Publishes third book

Bachelor of Business Administration professor Dr. Adnan ul Haque recently published his third book –Corporate Management Ecosystem in Emerging Economies

Published by Springer in December, the 464-page text “provides a comprehensive review of the expanding field of management in emerging economies, and offers alternative perspectives to existing frameworks concerning developed country corporate management – specifically, insights from Africa, Latin America and ASEAN countries,” Haque said.  
“We have contributed to the academic world not only by coining a new terminology – ‘Corporate Management Ecosystem’ – but also the alternative perspective to existing framework,” he added. 

Co-edited by Dr. Fred A. Yamoah, Corporate Management Ecosystem in Emerging Economies includes chapters by Yorkville professors including Dr. Ali Sher, Dr. Arif Toor, Irfan ul Haq, Max Rakov, Dr. Negar (Nikki) Sohaee, Riffat Faizan and Tahmina Akhtar.

Haque’s forthcoming fourth book, which is currently in the works, will be a text on Entrepreneurship.

Senior eLearning Specialist Aimee Trafton Publishes New Children’s Book

Yorkville University’s Aimee Trafton recently published her latest children’s book – a collection of funny poetry entitled Purple Popsicles (And Other Preposterous Poems).

The collection comprises of 12 “silly, nonsense poems” that Trafton said aims to inspire a love of poetry in young readers aged 3 to 8 – as well as their parents.  

“My first love as a writer has always been children’s picture books, and I wanted to work on a poetry book specifically. Growing up, my favourite author was always Dr. Seuss, and I fell in love with his silly, rhyming, poetic stories,” said Trafton, YU’s Senior eLearning Specialist.

 “I wanted to write a really fun book that parents would enjoy reading as much as the kids.”

Purple Popsicles marks Trafton’s third foray into writing for younger audiences – she previously published the children’s book Amber Tambourine and the Land of Laugh-a-Lot, and the YA novella The Misfit Crew

She also recently penned Grief Journeys: A Prose and Poetry Chapbook, and her personal essays and stories have appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, Autism Parenting MagazineMedium, and her personal blog, Life Lessons for My Daughter.

Learn more about Trafford’s projects on her author website at

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