2021 Student Leadership Award winners announced

By Melissa Nilan, Student Life

Last night, the Student Leadership Awards ceremony honoured this year’s winners and nominees. Typically an extravagant in-person event, the ceremony was held online for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. Together, attendees watched a video of speeches celebrating the incredible work and leadership of the eight award winners, followed by a virtual social gathering. Over 50 guests logged in to show their support for the winners and nominees.

If you missed out on attending last night, it’s not too late to watch the ceremony video.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees of the 2021 Student Leadership Awards.

Student Leader Award of Distinction

Living Big Student Leader of the Year Award of Distinction

Caitlin Spreeuw, Associate of Science Diploma – WINNER

“Caitlin is passionate about open educational resources (OER) and is dedicated to the challenge of increasing OER use at Douglas College. She is an active member of both the Open Douglas working group and the Douglas College Open Education Strategic Initiative Team, which is newly formed by Senior Management. She passionately and eloquently brings the voice of students to all meetings. Caitlin coordinates all of the DSU events for their activities during Open Access Week and Open Education Week. Open Douglas couldn’t have a better partner in Open Education than in our DSU, and that is thanks to Caitlin’s leadership.” – Debra Flewelling, Open Education Librarian, Learning Resources (nominator)

Cody Goodman, Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing – WINNER

“Under Cody’s leadership as Vice-President of Peer Mentorship in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing, the BSPN Peer Mentorship expanded its purview. Any leader needs to take initiative, have a vision, and be willing to commit time and energy to their cause; Cody has repeatedly demonstrated these characteristics. I have witnessed Cody cultivate a growing community of peer support, actively recruit members of the BSPN community to assume leadership roles and mentors others to ensure their success. Cody is masterful at instilling hope and empowering others.” – Marlene Graveson, Student Coordinator/Faculty, Department of Psychiatric Nursing (nominator)

Community Builder of the Year Award

Melissa Chirino, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Criminology – WINNER

“Melissa is an honest student who has a passion for helping others. Her vision at Douglas has always been to provide assistance and support to students. Melissa is someone who is a leader but also a team player; she will never make anyone feel uncomfortable or feel like there is a hierarchy. During COVID, Melissa – along with others – had to bring the Douglas community online. She thought of ways to interact with students, especially those joining in from other countries. She hosted Netflix parties, game nights and much more.” — Gurpinder Gaidu, DSU Women’s Representative, Criminology student (nominator)

Nikiel Lal, Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching – WINNER

“Nikiel has been involved in several departments around the school, he was a Campus Representative at the Douglas Students’ Union and went on to be the Director of External Relations. He is also the Sport Science Student Council President. He has shown a lot of leadership skills around the College; he exhibits optimism, is a go-getter, kind and enjoys building a community at Douglas.” – Amrita Ramkumar, Campus Representative – NW, DSU (nominator)

NOMINEES for Student Leader Award of Distinction

Congratulations to all the students who were nominated for the Student Leader Award of Distinction.

  • Hannah Bakken
  • Hemnesh Ramwani
  • Jaden Haywood
  • Jennifer Way
  • Jennifer Tong
  • John Paul Escala
  • Kristen Apodaca
  • Luke Stanisavljevic
  • Megan Scott
  • Reid Marriott
  • Suhakshi Arora
  • Sydney Griffin-Beale

Up and Coming Leader of the Year Award

Axel Bernoe, Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing – WINNER

“Axel has been an amazing volunteer with the Student Ambassadors (SA) over the past year. He joined during the pandemic but was noticed by all of us not only for his willingness to help but his dedication to the program. He was recognized for his commitment to the SA program as both SA of the Month and as a recipient of the Student Ambassador Award of Distinction. He had one of the highest numbers of volunteer hours over the past two semesters; while many volunteers struggled to make the reduced minimum hours, he still hit 20 hours. He’s been elected to the DSU board for 2021-2022 and will only become more ingrained within the Douglas community through his bachelor’s program.” – John Kingsley, Future Students’ Office staff (nominator)

Lauren Wittal, Bachelor of Science in Nursing – WINNER

 “Lauren is a very strong and positive student who is committed to improving the world around her. She is active in supporting students in nursing through the peer mentorship program. She also supports the community by working with Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix in creating targeted social media messaging for youth-related to COVID-19. She is a true leader. As a Research Ambassador, she supports students to engage in a community of practice related to research and scholarship via a journal club and supports faculty and fellow students in their own research projects. She helps facilitate the Psychiatric Nursing Research Interest Group as well as the Health Sciences Research and Scholarly Activity committee. She leads by example and is an exceptional student and Research Ambassador.” – Ruhina Rana, Faculty, Health Sciences Research Coordinator/ Nursing, Health Sciences (nominator)

Ariel Ataiza, Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care – WINNER

“Ariel has worked with the Student Life department for several semesters, creating student connection and community on campus. He has been an active student on campus in a number of capacities: as a participant in events and programming, a volunteer, a leader and as student staff. Ariel has demonstrated he has a strong awareness of the ever-changing needs of the student population. His involvement in the community has given him a foundation to develop meaningful programming that supports and engages his peers. In meetings and student group training, he gives space to his quieter peers and demonstrates active listening; giving the floor for others to share their thoughts and ideas in a judgement-free zone. Not only is Ariel a valued member of the Student Life team, but he is also a part of the Douglas College Education Council and Director of Membership at the Douglas Students’ Union.” – Andrea Tran, Student Life Coordinator, Student Life (nominator)

NOMINEES for Up and Coming Leader of the Year Award

Congratulations to all the students who were nominated for the Up and Coming Leader of the Year Award.

  • Arnaldo Fragozo
  • Megan Scott
  • Tanisha Soni

Outstanding Contribution to Student Engagement by College Faculty Member Award

Marlene Graveson, Student Coordinator/Faculty, Psychiatric Nursing Department – WINNER

“Marlene is a passionate, committed exemplary nurse and faculty in Psychiatric Nursing and a strong student advocate. She cares deeply for her students and instills a sense of pride in the profession. Marlene, in her current role, is committed to truth and reconciliation calls to action; she has developed a meaningful partnership with Indigenous Student Services and has initiated exit interviews with recently graduated Indigenous students about their learning experience. She is a silent partner behind the peer mentorship group, self-care booth, monthly student recognition and journal club. Marlene promotes resiliency and success in the student body. During this time of pandemic stress and uncertainly, Marlene had taken the lead in focusing on student and faculty mental health and well-being, arranging the use of a program called ThriveRU, which provides weekly activities for students to do on their own to help develop resiliency. Marlene is sincere and supportive in every situation, and inspires leadership in our next generation of students.” – Joan Crisp, Psychiatric Nursing Curriculum and Program Evaluation Coordinator (nominator)

“Marlene has worked in a faculty liaison position for the PNUR Mentorship program for longer than I have been in the Psychiatric Nursing program. She models a positive and supportive nursing culture. This has translated into a strong and supportive PNUR Mentorship program. She is always excited to help us support the PNUR student population at large, and pushes our leadership team to achieve greater goals. She is encouraging and vibrant, even during these tough times, and she is always receptive to hearing our ideas about creating a supportive and connected PNUR population.” – Cody Goodman, Psychiatric Nursing student (nominator)

NOMINEES for Outstanding Contribution to Student Engagement by College Faculty Member Award

Congratulations to all the faculty members who were nominated for Outstanding Contribution to Student Engagement by College Faculty Member Award.

  • Daniela Pacheva
  • Julie Crothers
  • Ruhina Rana
  • Wesley Snider
  • Tina Fusco
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