Celebrating student leaders

Celebrating student leaders

By Dana Mitchell, Intern, Division of Student Affairs

March 12, 2019


Queen’s students play an essential leadership role in providing support and promoting inclusivity on campus and in the Kingston community.

The Division of Student Affairs is celebrating student excellence with the presentation of the Peer Leadership Award, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Impact Award, and the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award. Five individuals and one group who work and volunteer across campus and with local organizations were recognized by their peers, staff, faculty, and Kingston community members during a special celebration event on Monday, March 11.

“This year’s award recipients are undergraduate and graduate students who have strengthened our community in many ways,” says Ann Tierney, Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “Their contributions to their peer communities and to the Kingston community are vital to fostering student engagement, well-being and a sense of belonging for all. We are delighted to recognize their initiative and accomplishments, as part of our annual leadership program.”

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 2018-19 award recipients are:

Meghann Grenier (Sc’19), president of Queen’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), has developed relationships with every member of her team, providing individualized support, motivation and encouragement to help them develop their professional and personal skills. She has helped expand WISE’s mentorship program, helped to launch the graduate-level program, and worked with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied as well as the Engineering Society to enhance the reach of WISE in the community, connecting with more schools and industry partners to raise awareness of, and interest in, science and engineering among girls and youth.

Taylor Bluhm (NSc’19) has taken on many leadership roles connected to the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre throughout her time at Queen’s. She has mentored students through the centre and through Student Affairs’ first-year transition programs, Q Success and Bounce Back. In these positions, Taylor has shared her personal story, the challenges she has overcome, reflections about her identity, and about self-identification at Queen’s. She is an empathetic listener, full of compassion, and effectively refers her peers to campus services.

Named in honour of Brian Yealland, Queen’s chaplain for 32 years, the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award is presented to students who work with and encourage youth who are experiencing social, behavioral, economic or other challenges by helping them realize their worth as individuals and their potential to achieve. The 2018-19 award recipients are:

Lindey Felske (MA’20) is a regular volunteer with Loving Spoonful, helping low-income families with budgeting and healthy eating, and teaching elementary school-aged children cooking skills. She also volunteers at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s Hotel Dieu site in the Children’s Outpatient Clinic, aiming to reduce stress among patients and their families waiting for appointments. She also assists in the recovery unit, working with patients and relatives. Lindey’s volunteerism includes tutoring new immigrants in English language skills, and community outreach programs that engage youth in learning about science and engineering.

Adrienne Fanjoy (JD’20) is involved in many student groups that advocate for and support marginalized youth and families. As co-president of Queen’s Law Litigation Society, she developed a culturally-based workshop to teach social justice and self-advocacy skills to racialized girls in Kingston and empower them to speak up in their social groups, school and community. Since 2013, as a member of Queen’s Students for Literacy, she has worked in local shelters helping children there with their literacy and numeracy skills. She also spent a year as a case worker at Queen’s Family Law Clinic, promoting the best interests of children.

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Impact Award, established in 2018, recognizes individuals or groups who have demonstrated involvement in, and a commitment to, social justice causes that impact the Queen’s community on a broad or small scale; their contributions reflect efforts to furthering an understanding of the interplay and intersections among different identities on campus. The 2018-19 recipients are:

Rebecca Gordon (Ed’19) is the founder of Teacher Candidates of Colour, a group with a mandate to foster inclusivity by sponsoring events aimed at educating peers about diversity, Indigeneity, inclusivity and equity. The group has a diverse membership and is open to all students. Teacher Candidates of Colour has, to date, organized campus-wide events under Rebecca’s leadership, including an “Ask Me Anything” roundtable with a follow up planned for April as part of the Faculty of Education’s Indigeneity, Inclusion and Equity Series. Teacher Candidates of Colour also worked with the Limestone District School Board on Black History Month activities, and is planning more community engagement projects.

The Executive of the African and Caribbean Students’ Association (ACSA): Nirosha Balakumar (Artsci’19), Dainelle Chase Barham (Artsci’19), Bunisha Samuels (Artsci’19), Abigail Yee Ken (Artsci’22), Chenoa Hope-Tomlinson (Artsci’19), Asantewa Nkuah (Artsci’19), Hilary McCulloch (Artsci’19), Mone Flower (Artsci’20), Samantha Hollis (Artsci’19), Rachel Miller (Artsci’19), Chidera Ekeanyawu (Artsci’21), Ampai Thammachack (Artsci’20), Lois Vaah (Artsci’22), Evan Munroe (MSc’20) and Tosin Animashaun (MA’19). ACSA is a longstanding AMS club that strives to be home and family for students within the African-Caribbean diaspora during their time at Queen’s. ACSA engages students from different backgrounds and lived experiences, and collaborates with other student groups and local organizations to build community and create inclusive networks. ACSA organizes regular events that include monthly community meals held at QUIC, an annual culture show, social activities, outreach to local schools and community groups, panel discussions, study hours, and dance workshops.

More information about these and other awards and funding programs is available on the Division of Student Affairs website.