Celebrating student and staff leadership
Student Affairs is celebrating the important leadership role students play on campus and in the local community, as well as outstanding service provided to students by staff and faculty, outside of a teaching role.
This year’s recipients of the Peer Leadership Award, the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Indigenization (EDII) Impact Award, Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award, and Michael Condra Outstanding Student Service Award were honoured at a reception on March 20.
“I want to congratulate and express my gratitude to this year’s recipients for their significant contributions, leadership, and engagement across our community,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “Their achievements are building community and belonging, promoting wellbeing, helping students develop important skills, and advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity at Queen’s.”
Nominations are submitted by students, faculty, and staff.
Peer Leadership Award
The Peer Leadership Award is presented to students who, through their commitment, skill, dedication, and interest in helping others, have exemplified excellence in peer-to-peer assistance and outreach. The 2022-23 award recipients are:
Queen’s local World University Service Canada (WUSC) committee: Ayden Harrison, Alaa Khalaf, Aidan Sander, Nazanin Soghrati, Princess Talabi
This group worked with staff to plan and support the Fall 2022 arrival and transition of the university’s seven WUSC-sponsored students. WUSC facilitates an admission pathway to Canadian universities for students who have been forcibly displaced by war, conflict, and political instability, and Queen’s has been participating in WUSC’s program for 34 years. Group members are paired with the WUSC-sponsored students, who may be experiencing significant culture shock. The group members apply their lived experience to be the person they say they most needed when they first arrived at Queen’s, building trust and community. They take their peers shopping, tour them around campus and Kingston, explain how the healthcare system works, show them how to use bank machines, the university’s software systems, even how to use a laundry card in residence. They also help them with English language skills, and finding off-campus housing and jobs. The Queen’s group recently received national recognition from WUSC.
A PhD candidate in Education, Jacob shares his expertise in research ethics and processes with new master’s and PhD students, and mentors Teaching Assistants. He is a member of the faculty’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization committee, and serves as a Graduate Inclusivity Fellow for the School of Graduate Studies and Post-Doctoral Affairs. Jacob is a longstanding member of the university’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Task Force, and sub-committees. He has worked as a peer Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention Facilitator, helped develop disclosure response guidelines for faculty and staff, and has been a student organizer for the national Courage to Act initiative.
Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, Indigenization Impact Award
The Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, Indigenization Impact Award is presented to students who have demonstrated their commitment to empowering the diversity of the Queen’s community, and have worked to further understand the interplay and intersections among different identities. The 2022-23 award recipients are:
Layla is Equity Commissioner for the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS), and a past Equity Director of the AMS Orientation RoundTable. A fourth-year Life Sciences student, she is involved in the Queen’s Arab Student Association, and served for two years as conference chair for Queen’s Student Diversity Project. As ASUS Equity Commissioner, she leads advocacy initiatives, and launched an art market, creating an opportunity for equity-deserving student artists to sell and promote their work to the campus community. She has also worked to improve physical accessibility on campus, and expanded a grant program that provided funding to more than 40 ArtSci students. As Equity Director for the AMS Orientation Roundtable, she lobbied to make orientation clothing more accessible to accommodate for religious and cultural practices.
Clarissa de Leon
Clarissa is an Education PhD candidate, and is described as a ‘spark of change’ by her faculty, staff, and peer nominators. Clarissa has done anti-racism education work with the Social Healing and Reconciliatory Education Research Group, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning, developing workshops, and professional development modules for graduate students. She has also led anti-racism and critical inquiry sessions with local primary school teachers. Through the Faculty of Education’s Teacher Candidates of Colour group, Clarissa mentors teacher candidates, and is a member of the faculty’s EDII committee. She has also worked in Student Affairs’ Student Experience Office, developing programming to facilitate critical conversations about social justice on campus, and create affirming spaces for marginalized communities. Clarissa is also lead curriculum designer and a co-director for Roots and Wings, a local organization that aims to educate, empower, and create community for girls, trans, two-spirit and gender non-confirming youth of colour.
Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award
The Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award is presented to students who work with, and encourage, area youth who are experiencing social, behavioral, economic or other challenges by helping them realize their worth as individuals and their potential to achieve. It was created in honour of Brian Yealland, Chaplain at Queen’s University for 32 years. The 2022-23 award recipients are:
Israa Abou El Nour
Israa has tutored children and youth living in local shelters, as well as Immigration Services Kingston and Area’s multicultural youth groups, helping them increase their literacy and numeracy skills. She currently serves as Literacy Outreach chair with Queen’s Students for Literacy, the campus chapter of United for Literacy (formerly known as Frontier College). In this position, she has established a hybrid tutoring platform, and strengthened communication with the organization’s community partners. Israa also volunteers for Revved Up, which provides adapted exercise programming promoting physical activity for community members with mobility impairments and developmental disabilities. On campus, Israa connects with prospective equity-deserving students as an equity ambassador with Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment in Student Affairs; she is a Residence Don, and has served on a Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Action Table for EDIIA working group, and the Health Sciences Society’s Academic and EDII working group. A third-year Health Sciences student, Israa is an undergraduate student Senator, educational officer for the African and Caribbean Students Association, and co-president of the Queen’s Board Games Club.
Jane is involved in many initiatives, on and off campus, that support marginalized youth and communities. They founded the Gender Affirming Assistance Project that aims to connect transgender individuals to gender affirming care in Kingston, provide gender-affirming apparel, bursaries, and build community among QTBIPoC individuals. They also developed and delivered trans-inclusive lifeguard training at the ARC in support of all-body swim events open to trans individuals in the campus and Kingston communities. A master’s student in the Faculty of Education, Jane is working with the Limestone District School Board on the use of inclusive terms and resources in schools; they have curated staff workshops on supporting transgender students, and created social networks of queer youth. Jane also develops and leads solidarity-building workshops for Kingston girls and nonbinary youth of colour. On campus, Jane has served as co-chair of the Education on Queer Issues Project; they are a longtime Residence Don, they have been part of Queen’s Coalition against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, and are currently the SGPS Equity and Diversity Commissioner. In this role, Jane collaborates with Yellow House on programming for QTBIPoC graduate and professional students.
Michael Condra Outstanding Student Service Award
The Michael Condra Outstanding Student Service Award is presented annually to Queen’s staff or faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to providing outstanding service to students, outside of a teaching role. It was established to honour Dr. Condra, longtime director of Student Wellness Services, when he retired from Queen’s. The 2022-23 award recipients are:
Teresa recently retired from her position as Associate University Registrar (Student Awards), and for many years, was Queen’s point of contact for the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), responsible for setting up WUSC-sponsored students’ funding and connecting with various offices to prepare for their arrival. Teresa has ensured a network of comprehensive support is in place, including pathways to academic advising, language testing, the move into residence, as well as working closely with the student committee that has received Student Affairs’ Peer Leadership Award. Teresa was nominated by colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Student Affairs, with several WUSC student recipients providing letters of support. They wrote that Teresa’s kindness, generosity, mentorship, and expertise in financial literacy and planning had a profound impact on their academic and personal success.
Heidi is Clinic Coordinator of the Q Sports Medicine Clinic in Athletics & Recreation, and is described by her nominators as someone who always goes out of her way to make the clinic a welcoming and inclusive space. She squeezes students in for last minute appointments, blocks out time after competition weekends, and opens the clinic as a safe space for students to relax and take a break. There is nothing at the clinic that Heidi doesn’t know how to do – fit a brace, fill a kit, schedule, organize, wrangle athletes, make referrals to community specialists - and she does it all with a level of care and compassion that is entirely unparalleled. She also supports more than 40 School of Kinesiology students in the Athletic Therapy mini stream each year, organizing and delivering clinical trainings and shadowing sessions, answering questions, providing advice, and creating a positive learning environment.
Amber is the co-Clinical Manager of Counselling Services in Student Wellness Services (SWS), and is described by her colleagues as the embodiment of what it means to be student-focused. She jumps in in a crisis, models calm and mindful leadership, and provides a solid grounding foundation for the counselling staff, who work tirelessly to support student mental health, which in turn promotes an outstanding community of care for students. Amber has expanded quick student access to care with an increased pool of casual psychotherapists who can cover for staff if they are ill or away. She has expanded opportunities for student curricular placements at SWS, developing a clinical internship program, and she demonstrates a strong commitment to health promotion, and “upstream” wellness work. Students greatly benefit from her expertise, empathy and commitment to care.
Learn more about Student Affairs’ student leadership awards and recipients.
Learn more about the Michael Condra Oustanding Student Service Award and recipients.
Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.