Celebrating student leadership

Celebrating student leadership

By Nikta Sadati, Division of Student Affairs

August 10, 2022


Every year, Queen’s Student Affairs celebrates extraordinary contributions made by student leaders at Queen’s to support their peers, and local community members and initiatives.

The Student Recognition Awards honour student recipients – individuals or groups - of the Peer Leadership Award, the Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, Indigenization (EDII) Impact Award, and the Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award. Nominations are submitted by students, faculty, and staff.

“I want to congratulate and express my gratitude to this year’s recipients for their significant contributions, leadership, and engagement, on campus and in the community,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “We are pleased to recognize and showcase the initiative and commitment to positive change these students are demonstrating at Queen’s and in Kingston.”

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 award recipients are:

Landon Montag (ArtSci’20, MSc’22).

Landon has been working with the Student Wellness Services Peer Health Educator (PHE) team since 2017. She was instrumental in creating “Ask Me Anything About Sex,” an online initiative in which she and her team supported a panel of experts in answering anonymous questions from students. As a lead for Health Promotion’s Red Flag Campaign, Landon led the redesign of materials to ensure inclusive language for all genders and sexualities. Among several other outreach and support programs, Landon was an Executive Committee member for Queen’s Chronic Pain Association; she served on the Student Leadership Committee for the Centre for Neuroscience Studies; she supported her peers as an upper-year mentor with the Student Experience Office (SEO); and she was a mentor for the Girls SySTEM program. Landon makes tangible contributions to her community and is passionate about inclusion; she is adaptable and has a passion for change.

Erin Lee (PhD’24).

Erin stepped up to become the Head Coach of the Varsity Swim Team (M/W), drawing on her experiences as a varsity swimmer and former team captain to ensure success. She sought out coaching resources and mentorship opportunities, and worked to develop individualized training for the 36 team members. As a Teaching Fellow for a Mechanical and Materials Engineering course, she launched a weekly Q&A initiative where students could submit questions after lectures which were selected and answered in a weekly write-up. Erin provided mentorship to her fellow graduate students and developed a friendly “self-competition” to incentivize students to meet their healthy active living goals and build community. This successful initiative sparked the formation of a team of students from multiple Queen’s labs to participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure. Erin is also a regular volunteer at student outreach events for her faculty and department; she is a Graduate Student Representative on the implementation team for the Faculty’s Strategic Research Plan, and always emulates a genuine commitment to the wellbeing of her peers.

The Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, Indigenization Impact Award is presented to Queen’s 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 award recipients are:

Victoria Yu (ArtSci’22, B.Ed.’23).

Victoria has been deeply involved with EDII initiatives during her time at Queen’s, including with the Queen’s Student Diversity Project for three years: first as Conference Assembly Coordinator, then as Project Manager, and most recently as Co-President. In her role as Co-Chair at Queen’s Helping Young People Excel (HYPE), she ensured that all tutors were equipped with the resources to provide free services to over 60 local secondary school students. While working at the AMS Food Bank, she collaborated with CODE, a Canadian charity dedicated to promoting every child’s right to read. Victoria also served as Outreach Director for Queen’s Women’s Health Advocacy, distributing free eco-friendly menstrual products to Queen’s students. As Project Specialist at Students for Consent Culture Canada, she has been working on an education toolkit, which will be used to support student-led anti-violence education initiatives on campuses. As Equity Affairs Commissioner for the Concurrent Education Students’ Association (CESA), she created the CESA Inclusivity Award. Victoria has also  developed an Indigenous Plant Medicine Workshop for students to learn more about Indigenous Ways of Knowing and about the medicinal and edible properties of plants in Kingston. In 2020, Victoria co-founded the Dandelion Project, an organization that strives to educate youth about post-secondary opportunities, and works to provide insight on various STEM career paths for students from marginalized backgrounds. The Dandelion Project was recently funded by the Government of Canada.

Caroline Kim (Sc'22).

For the past two years, Caroline has served as Director of Operations, and previously as an Aerodynamics Team member of the Queen’s Formula SAE (QFSAE) Team, which designs, builds, and races a sub-scale Formula 1-style race car. As one of the original Queen's Engineering student competition/design teams, QFSAE has a legacy of achievements and traditions, not all of them positive, and this was raised in 2020, through a series of anonymous posts to the Instagram account "Erased by FEAS." Under Caroline’s direction, the QFSAE has undergone, and continues to undergo, a dramatic transformation into a more welcoming, inclusive team. Caroline has been focused on changing the team’s climate and policies. For example, she has carried out an environmental assessment by surveying current and former team members, and establishing the team’s first EDII committee, first EDII commitment document, and a prioritized action list. Under Caroline's leadership, the QFSAE Team has demonstrated a genuine long-term commitment to change the team culture and promote diversity and inclusion at all levels. To help improve EDII knowledge and practice in other student clubs and teams, Caroline and her team hosted a virtual webinar, attended by the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Head of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and approximately 75 members of FEAS student clubs/teams. As a Teaching Assistant, Caroline mentors first-year students, and volunteers for the Crisis Line and Chat at Sexual Assault Centre Kingston. She was an orientation leader, and outreach volunteer with Women in Science and Engineering.

The Brian Yealland Community Leadership Award is presented to Queen’s 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 award recipient is:

Bags of Promise

Executive: Celina Lovisotto (ArtSci’24), Megan Stellato (ArtSci’23), Makena Sceeles (ArtSci’24), Bridgett Chau (ArtSci’24)
Service Pillar: Kate Dickie (Comm’24), Patricia Roussel (ArtSci’24), Kyran Sachdeva (ArtSci’25), Lauren Pattison (ArtSci’24)
Advocacy Pillar: Erin Mlynaryk (ArtSci’24)
Education Pillar: Zaynab Karimjee (ArtSci’24), Mehak Khangura (ArtSci’25)
Branding/Marketing and Finance: Isabelle Ettinger (Comm’25), Sophie Omoumi (Comm’24)

Bags of Promise was created by Queen’s students and peers from Royal Military College to recognize the challenges faced by local youth experiencing homelessness. Now a government-registered charity and non-profit organization, the group’s overarching goal is to eliminate the use of disposable trash bags and replace them with reusable bags containing basic necessities. To date, Bags of Promise has donated over 80 backpacks to Kingston Youth Shelter, providing youth with items including hygiene products, water bottles, outerwear, dental products, and non-perishable food items. Bags of Promise’s Service Pillar team is preparing for their upcoming 'back to school' bag drive this fall to provide school supplies to vulnerable youth. The Advocacy Pillar is working towards launching a mentorship program called ’The Promise Program’ which will pair at-risk youth with post-secondary students in the Kingston region to provide emotional support and guidance in a one-on-one setting. The Education Pillar is establishing a workshop to be delivered in an educational setting that is centred on the issues affecting homeless youth. The Bags of Promise Team recognizes the growing societal barriers surrounding youth experiencing homelessness. Their organization promotes the idea that everyone deserves to feel dignified and worthy regardless of their circumstances. 

All award recipients receive an award keepsake and their names are included on plaques located in the lobby of Gordan Hall.

To learn more about these and other awards and funding programs, visit the Student Affairs website.