Student Experience Awards
2021 Award Winners
Each spring, the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students, celebrates student excellence at the Student Experience Awards. Although the 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID-19, we wish to congratulate each winner for their success and contributions to the Ryerson community. Thank you and congratulations!
"Sure, we all wanted the moment of recognition to be a joyous occasion, a moment of celebration. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, caused many plans to be shifted and added many new challenges to our lives. However, even this situation can not eclipse the shared values that we hold dear to our hearts. Strong commitment towards our community, passion to serve, and the perseverance to overcome any hurdle are some of those shared principles that are essential in this period. Ryerson not only helped us nurture these values but also gave us a platform to utilize them to experiment, innovate and succeed. We all probably have a long list of people who hold various roles in this institution or beyond, who mentored us, stood by us, guided us and most importantly helped us to leap towards a better future for ourselves and the broader community. Our recognition, therefore, is not just an acknowledgement of our effort, but to a great extent is also a token of gratitude towards those who shaped our experiences."
Community Engagement Award
This award recognizes an individual whose efforts have strengthened engagement or expanded connections between their employer and the Ryerson community (students, staff, alumni or the broader public).
Award Recipient: Eyosias (Yosi) Samuel
Innovation & Problem Solving Award
This award recognizes a Career Boost student whose new thinking and approaches have had a positive impact on their employer, team and /or broader community.
Award Recipient: Tatiana Estrina
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Award
This award recognizes an individual whose efforts have helped to increase equity seeking groups’ engagement with their employer’s services and programs.
Award Recipients: Alexandre Roberge-Milanese & Samantha Tome
Outstanding Professional Development Award
This award recognizes a Career Boost student who has grown significantly through their Career Boost experience.
Award recipient: Natalie Pavlovich
Personal Development - Collaboration Award
This award recognizes an individual who has made an impact in fostering a collegial environment, using exceptional interpersonal skills to proactively seek out collaborative ways to work with colleagues in their department and / or across the community (Ryerson and beyond).
Award Recipient: Emilia (Mila) Kayko
The Dennis Mock Student Leadership Awards recognize graduating students who have made outstanding voluntary extracurricular contributions to their school or academic program department, their faculty, or to Ryerson University as a whole. The awards acknowledge and encourage student participation in university affairs.
In naming the awards after Dennis Mock, Ryerson recognizes his commitment to higher education. His leadership and dedication, demonstrated during his 28 years at the university, are qualities embodied in students chosen to receive this award - students committed to ‘making a difference’. This is a prestigious, non-monetary award.
Faculty of Arts
Faculty Award: History
Program Award: Arts and Contemporary Studies (ACS)
Justine Almira Parungao
Program Award: Criminology
Program Award: English
Program Award: Environment and Urban Sustainability (EUS)
Program Award: History
Program Award: Philosophy
Program Award: Politics (POG)
Program Award: Psychology
Program Award: Sociology
Program Award: Geographic Analysis
Faculty of Communication and Design
Taelor Lewis Joseph
Faculty Award: Professional Communication
Program Award: Professional Communication
Program Award: Creative Industries
Program Award: Image Arts - Film
Program Award: Image Arts - Integrated Digital
Program Award: Fashion
Program Award: Performance Production
Program Award: Interior Design
Program Award: RTA - Sport Media
Program Award: Graphic Communications Management
Faculty of Community Services
Faculty Award : Social Work
Annabelle De Jesus
Program Award: Child and Youth Care
Program Award: Disability Studies
Program Award: Early Childhood Studies
Program Award: Midwifery
Czarielle Dela Cruz
Program Award: Nursing
Program Award: Occupational Public Health
Program Award: Social Work
Program Award: Urban and Regional Planning
Program Award: Food and Nutrition
Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science
Faculty Award: Aerospace Engineering
Program Award: Architectural Science
Program Award: Aerospace Engineering
Program Award: Civil Engineering
Program Award: Electrical Engineering
Program Award: Computer Engineering
Program Award: Biomedical Engineering
Program Award: Industrial Engineering
Program Award: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Science
Faculty Award: Biomedical Sciences
Program Award: Medical Physics
Eisa Keramati Nejad
Program Award: Computer Science
Program Award: Biomedical Sciences
Program Award: Financial Mathematics
Program Award: Math and Its Applications
Program Award: Chemistry
Program Award: Biology
Ted Rogers School of Management
Faculty Award : Business Management
Program Award: Accounting and Finance
Program Award: Business Management
Sheniese Van Heer
Program Award: Business Management
Edie Lynn Assinewe
Program Award: Retail Management
Program Award: Hospitality & Tourism Mgmt
Program Award: Business Technology Management
Yeates School of Graduate Studies
YSGS Environmental Applied Science and Management
YSGS Communication and Culture
YSGS Documentary Media
YSGS Civil Engineering
YSGS Master of Health Administration (Community Care)
University-wide Award: Urban and Regional Planning
University-wide Award: Politics and Governance
University-wide Award: Environment and Urban Sustainability
University-wide Award: Aerospace Engineering
University-wide Award: International Economics and Finance
Josel Angelica Gerardo
University-wide Award: Politics and Governance
University-wide Award: Psychology
University-wide Award: Business Management
University-wide Award: Business Management
Kashif Ahmed Bin Arif
University-wide Award: Image Arts-Photography Studies
The Raymond G. Chang School of Continuing Education Program for 50+
Program Award: Programs for 50+ ACT II STUDIO
A student's development is enhanced when volunteer or work opportunities are available outside the classroom. These experiences provide students with chances to apply their learning to real life. This approach to education can be further enhanced when a student chooses to step into a leadership role.
The Student Leadership Awards provide staff in the Vice Provost, Students division with an opportunity to recognize students that have taken on the challenge of being a leader, or by acknowledging their growth and celebrating their achievements. Student leadership comes in many forms and is valued not only at Ryerson, but also in the student’s communities. These awards aim to include activities from outside of Ryerson’s traditional boundaries, along with contributions made on-campus, which are related to the student's development and impact as a leader.
Emerging Leader Award
This award recognizes and celebrates the contributions of new leaders at Ryerson. Recipients will be in their first or second year at Ryerson and will have made an impact on their surrounding community through burgeoning leadership involvement(s).
Award Recipient: Kyle Bollers
Community Development Award
Creating a positive and safe atmosphere that is open for everyone is a vital component in any learning environment. The Community Development Award recognizes student leaders that have helped to build a sense of community through their caring attitude, outstanding interpersonal skills and their ability to connect people to each other and to their community (Ryerson and beyond).
Award Recipients: Lora Charbonneau, Diane Gutierrez & Vivian Le
Black Student Leadership Award
This award recognizes and celebrates the contribution that Black-Identified Ryerson student leaders have made outside the classroom. Recipients of this award will have shown a high level of commitment, led by example, shown initiative and made a strong contribution to their community (Ryerson & beyond).
Award Recipients: Cheo Bannis & Eyosias Samuel
Heather Lane Student Leadership Award
This award recognizes and celebrates the contribution that Ryerson student leaders have made outside the classroom. Recipients of this award will have shown a high level of commitment, lead by example, shown initiative and made a strong contribution to their community (Ryerson & beyond).
Award Recipients: Cole Sabaot & Ina Benkova
Marion Creery Award
This award is named in honour of Marion Creery who from 1988 to 2008 served as the Director of Student Services. In keeping with the example set by Marion, this award will be presented annually to two Ryerson students whose leadership demonstrates passion, creativity, and perseverance in making Ryerson a better place for students to learn and to realize their potential.
Award Recipients: Josel Angelica Gerardo & Jasmeet Rattan
Personal Development Award
This award is given to an international student who has overcome a significant challenge in their own personal life. The recipient has demonstrated a significant resilience in overcoming barriers and has thrived through their engagement on or off campus. The personal growth demonstrated should be exemplary and an inspiration for the Ryerson community.
Award Recipient: Julie Magritte
Excellence in Mentoring Award
This award is given to a student who exhibits exemplary mentorship abilities and contributes positively to the personal development of students.They have played an important role in providing positive mentorship to their fellow international students or WUSC Scholars at Ryerson. The recipient of this award meaningfully assisted new students through their transition to Ryerson University and to Canada.
Award Recipient: Jacqueline Chung
Off Campus Community Builder Award
This award is given to an international student who has played a significant role in raising awareness about the international student experience outside the Ryerson community OR showed community involvement and leadership skills off-campus. The recipient of this award works to build connections between Ryerson University and the external community to enhance the experience of international students in a meaningful way.
Award Recipient: Priyanka Kapadia
On Campus Student Leader Award
This award is given to an international student who has demonstrated strong leadership and passion for improving the quality of the student experience at Ryerson University. An on-campus student leader makes an impact as a positive role model and is a great mentor for students. The recipient of this award made a special contribution to an academic or support department of Ryerson University.
Award Recipient: Zainab Zulfikarali Damji
Mental Health Outreach Champion Award
This award is given to an international student who has been a strong advocate in raising awareness about the mental health of International students. The student demonstrated positive initiative in de-stigmatizing and lifting the taboo placed on mental health issues as they relate to the international student experience.
Award Recipient: Elvina Raharja
The Alterna Prize for Women Social Change Leaders Award
Recognizing female identifying students across campus who have demonstrated social change leadership at Ryerson or in their community.
Award Recipient: Emily Wilson
Brian Segal Award
Recognizing an outstanding contribution to the cultural and/or athletic life of Ryerson on a voluntary basis.
Award Recipient: Jyoti Ruparell
Denise O'Neil Green Student Leadership Award
Recognizing Black women in undergraduate studies who reflect the leadership and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) of Dr. Denise O'Neil Green, Ryerson's first Vice-President of Equity and Community Inclusion.
Award Recipients: Rahima Ahmed & Hilda Oni
Errol Aspevig Award
Recognizing a student for their academic achievement and broader intellectual interests.
Award Recipient: Amara Digout
The George Vari Award for Good Citizenship
Recognizing outstanding extracurricular contributions to university life, to school or academic department, or to Ryerson as a whole.
Award Recipient: Maheen Maryam
John Austin Leadership Award
Recognizing students that identify as LGBTQ2+ and demonstrate service and leadership qualities outside the classroom - on the Ryerson campus or externally.
Award Recipients: Shanice Walters & Wei Yu
Michelle Monkhouse Memorial Award
Recognizing a student for their academic achievement, passion and demonstrating a positive impact on those around them.
Award Recipient: Shamimah Nyamekye
Pride Award for Diversity and Inclusion
Recognizing an undergraduate student for their work in the LGBTQ+ community that has contributed to belonging, diversity and inclusion.
Award Recipient: Rahim Kanji
Ryerson Black Faculty and Staff Community Network Award for Student Leadership
Recognizing a Black identifying student for academic achievement and community leadership both on and off Ryerson campus.
Award Recipient: Abigail Allen
Ryerson University Alumni Association Award
Recognizing a student who has a commitment to furthering and enhancing Ryerson's relationship with the external community.
Award Recipient: Sadia Chowdhury
Ryerson Faculty Association Leadership Award
The award acknowledges the efforts of students who have been involved in varied service activities – both on and off campus – and who have assumed leadership roles in these activities.
Award Recipient: Victoria Ross
Sheila (Angus) Cecchetto Award
Recognizing a student who has sustained involvement and/or dedication to the Ryerson community.
Award Recipient: Cole Sabaot
Student Learning Centre Student Engagement and Leadership Award
Recognizing students who have showcased high levels of student engagement and leadership across Ryerson University.
Award Recipient: Samantha Sanayhie
Woman in Leadership Student Award
This award was established by the Women in Leadership Student Group to provide a yearly award to a female student who demonstrates social activism and involvement with student group life at Ryerson.
Award Recipient: Haymattie Beer
Featured Acceptance Speech
Josel Angelica Gerardo, Dennis Mock Award Recipient
Many of us started our student leadership journey surrounded by the vibrancy of Yonge and Dundas, bright lights, innovative education and the unlimited potential we can grasp from our fingertips as university students. In March of 2020, our journeys changed when we suddenly moved every part of our experiences virtually and left our campus behind, the place that brought us together. We were met with new challenges in continuing student life through online spaces, and ensuring that we support our student peers as we tackle new environments together while advancing the values of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.
Hello everyone! My name is Josel Angelica Gerardo, I’m a fourth year Politics and Governance student and I’m a proud bisexual Filipino immigrant woman. I am deeply honoured to join my predecessors in delivering a speech as the Marion Creery Award recipient and Dennis Mock Student Leadership University-wide award recipient. I am also deeply honoured to be joining student leaders to celebrate our student experiences and accomplishments.
I would like to congratulate all Student Experience Awards recipients for the year 2021. Your contributions to the community have greatly impacted yourself, your supervisors, your peers inside and outside the classroom, and yes that includes the one student in the back of the class, the student you would pass in the hallway and the student in the corner of your Zoom screen.
The moment I stepped on campus for the first time was to attend the open house. I knew I wanted to be the student behind the program booth sharing their experiences at university. I wanted to share my experiences with incoming students and fellow peers as well.
However, fear started to creep in when I sat on the bleachers of Kerr Hall upper gym filled with eager and nervous first-year students during orientation. Our course union president at the time passed around a black shirt with the course union logo, and I felt a sense of belonging. Fear is the feeling we felt as we sat in our classes for the first time, anxious for the professor to start. Fear is the feeling we felt when we were waiting for the results of the student government elections that we ran in. Fear is the feeling we felt attending the first meeting as a student group executive. Fear is the feeling we felt when we moved online trying to figure out how to join Google Meets or Zoom. Fear is the feeling we felt as we navigate between our school, volunteer, work and personal commitments, while recovering from a burnout. And now, with many of us graduating in a few or several months, we are fearful of the future.
At the end, we conquered our fears and we can continue to do so. This fear stemmed from wanting to belong. And as we became student leaders, we wanted others to feel like they belong in our communities filled with diverse people and identities. We wanted to erase the feelings of fear from our student peers who recently heard about the importance of getting involved. We wanted to encourage students to explore their interests beyond the classroom. We wanted to provide a sense of comfort. We wanted to welcome anyone into our communities. We are entering a future equipped with skills, experiences and memories of being a part of a team serving the community.
This year, in particular, has been filled with innovation and necessary steps in enhancing the community. We needed each other to move forward in increasing equity, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility in every space that we take up. We shared resources, shared insights, and advocated for our voices to be heard. Most importantly, we helped each other. From these small or large gestures, people like myself are now proud to speak up and say our identities out loud. Yes, I am a proud bisexual Filipino immigrant woman.
Student leadership is more than joining a student group or running on an election for student government. Student leadership has changed the trajectories of our lives, transformed our mindsets, brought in long-term relationships and friendships, and gave us extraordinary skills and opportunities that are beyond our expectations. Student leadership taught us how to face our fears, embrace the space outside of our comfort zone, and see the value in community inclusion and belonging. It opened windows and doors of opportunity to make a difference for ourselves and, of course, for others.
Personally, I would like to thank the staff and faculty in the Faculty of Arts, especially to Avala Moore who is an exceptional Manager, Student Relations and Development, to the Ryerson Career and Co-op Centre, the Faculty of Law, the Department of Politics and Public Administration, the Tri-Mentoring Program and the Ryerson Liberal Arts Society. I would like to thank all departments and offices across the university that provide us services and support, constantly adapting to our needs. Thank you to the course unions, student groups and student societies for creating a community based on our unique interests and programs.
Thank you to my family, my sister, my partner and my friends for being a wonderful support system throughout my student experience. All of you have significantly supported me through guidance and encouragement.
And, of course, I would like to thank the creators and donors of these awards. Thank you for making these awards possible to recognize the hard work and dedication of student leadership.
A week ago, words from the movie ‘Coach Carter’ were spoken aloud by one of the people I look up to in Student Life, Allysa Martinez. I would like to share it with all of you with a few small edits: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of the universe within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Every single one of you has let your light shine to show your successors the endless possibilities from student leadership and contributing to the community. Thank you.