3M National Student Fellowship


The 3M NSF is now closed for 2020 and adjudication is underway. Expect to hear results by early April, 2020. Best of luck to all of the applicants. Regards, Cynthia Korpan, 3M National Student Fellowship Coordinator.

Call for Nominations – 2020 Award

The 3M National Student Fellowship honours up to ten full-time diploma and undergraduate students at Canadian post-secondary institutions who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their lives, at their post-secondary institution. These students embrace a vision of education that enhances their academic experience and beyond.

Nature of Award

Awardees will be invited to the annual conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) in June, where they will participate in a 3M National Student Fellowship Program retreat and lead the closing plenary. Awardees will receive a contribution towards their cost of travel, accommodation during the conference, and conference registration. While at the conference, they will have the opportunity to develop a cohort-based collaborative project with the goal of enhancing teaching and learning at the post-secondary level. The cohort commits the year following their award to implementing and sustaining their project. A facilitator supports the cohort in the development, implementation and sustainability of their project and advises on synergies with STLHE SIGs and previous 3MNSF cohorts. Each recipient will also receive an award of $5,000 to be spent at their discretion.


Nominees must:

  • be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree or college program at a post-secondary Canadian institution.
  • have completed at least one full semester of study at the time of nomination
  • have not previously received a 3M student fellowship

For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions


The adjudication committee considers an applicant’s nomination as a unified whole, not simply an assemblage of compartments. Each section of the package should reinforce its overall unity. Narrative flow unfolds and reveals the nominee’s character and achievements, and each section adds substance and evidence, constructing a compelling nomination.

Because this is an educational leadership award, the package’s greatest challenge is defining and demonstrating educational leadership, which goes beyond transcripts, lists of committees chaired, and clubs and/or groups joined. The individual will have to be “brought to life” through concrete evidence, examples, quotes, compelling anecdotes, persuasive support letters, and the inspiring believability of the nominee’s own words. Applicants tell their stories as learners, thought-provokers, visionaries, and community members in action. Applicants use clear and authentic narrative style and need not rely extensively on disciplinary or academic jargon.

The adjudication committee is interested in applications reflecting the applicant’s creativity, distinctiveness and personality, and shedding light on an exceptional leadership profile. The nominator (see below) is encouraged to “make a case” for the applicant’s leadership profile by connecting the material within the package to show how the applicant is deserving of this Fellowship. See the additional material “What Adjudicators are Looking For: Tips for Students and Nominators” to see more about what adjudicators are looking for when they read each file.

The adjudication process will support equitable distribution of the awards across all post-secondary sectors.

Application Procedure

Formatting and page limits:

Nomination packages are not to exceed fifteen (15) numbered pages, including all material requested. A package in excess of 15 pages will not be considered. The package must be submitted using 2.54 cm (1″) margins, double-spaced (except for letters which may be single- or double-spaced) in 12 point Times New Roman font. No video, web content or web links will be accepted. The only materials to be included that do not count as part of the 15 pages are your transcripts (Section 3 below) and Cover Page. Do not include as part of the nomination package your required picture and bio (see further information below).

Here is a checklist/template of what to include:


Cover Page – please complete this cover page with the below requested information

  • Your full name (as you would wish it to appear on certificate if you are named a 3M National Student Fellow)
  • Email address
  • Phone number where you can be contacted
  • Mailing address during the academic year and if different, permanent mailing address or address after academic year is over
  • Your program of study and major and the number of years of the program
  • The year in which you are currently registered e.g. 2nd, 3rd
  • Email addresses of nominator, writers of letters of support, and the Vice-President of Students or person in an equivalent role.
  • Name and email address of the president of your institution, as well as any others at your institution you would like to be notified if you are named a 3M NSF, such as Communications or Public Relations representatives.


Nomination Letters, Letters of Support and Statement from Vice-President of Students (or person in equivalent role). [all letters and statement count within the 15 page limit]

Nomination letter: Written by a person of the candidate’s choice. Self-authored letters of nomination are not accepted.

Letters of support: The number of letters is up to the candidate. Letters should complement the narrative flow. Effective nominations will demonstrate the nominee’s excellence with concrete examples and not repeat information.

All letters, which must include signatures and, if from an institution or organization, be on letterhead, are part of the 15-page limit. They may be single- or double-spaced.

Statement from Vice-President of Students (or person in equivalent role, such as Vice-Provost, Students or Associate Vice-President, Students): Your nomination package must be viewed in its entirety by the Vice-President of Students or person in an equivalent role at your institution. That person then writes one statement, noting that he/she/ze has seen your complete nomination package, and verifying that your transcripts are recognized as being representative of your institution, adding his/her/per name, role and signature. Note: this position is NOT a position in student government. It is a senior administration position.


Academic Performance

As an applicant, you must be in good standing academically, in your program and in your institution. Please provide all post-secondary institutional transcripts for all years of post-secondary education, plus all available grades from the first term/semester of your current year. Transcripts are not part of the 15-page limit. If there are anomalies on your transcripts, briefly explain them in this section. Since you will likely have to scan your transcripts, you will have the Vice President, Students (or equivalent) verify that your scanned transcript is indeed the transcript of your institution.



“Leadership” by itself is not a term that has easily identifiable boundaries. For this reason, it is impossible to provide a precise definition. It is important for you as an applicant to describe your leadership capacity and leadership potential in relationship to other people. Therefore, a quantifiable list of activities/events/situations/experiences that a student was “in charge” of does not demonstrate leadership in the context of this award. Please describe and demonstrate your personal leadership profile by considering different examples of your capacity for leadership beyond being in the position of “boss.”

As part of your package, please provide a definition of leadership in the context of your educational experience. The definition should then be applied in detail and creatively through examples of personal activities drawn from your time in post-secondary study. Please do not use jargon or abstract description of leadership, in general; instead, paint a picture of who you are as a leader using clear examples from your experience.

Explain why you aspired to these leadership roles. Your examples should demonstrate how your initiatives have led to, or been part of leading, events in the post-secondary environment.


Challenges in Post-Secondary Education

Describe the most significant challenges in your institution based upon your personal experience. How do these challenges impede learning? What are the possible concrete solutions to these challenges? What are the biggest challenges facing post-secondary education in Canada, as a whole? If you had the resource capacity, how would you implement concrete solutions to these challenges?


Transformational Educational Experiences

Describe one or a few experiences that you have had outside of the classroom and off your campus. Describe how these experiences influence your academic performance, your attitudes toward teaching and learning, and your approach to leadership. You may want to situate yourself in terms of your identity, privileges and challenges. You may wish to reference educational issues beyond your immediate environment.


Awards and Recognition

Describe academic or non-academic awards or recognitions you have received, not simply listing them, but contextualizing them to show how this record aligns with your leadership and transformational educational experiences.


Selection Process

Packages will be reviewed by a team of adjudicators comprised of students, faculty and staff members, including 3M National Student Fellows and National Teaching Fellows, from post-secondary institutions across Canada.

Submission Deadline and File Naming Protocol

Packages should be submitted electronically on or before 31 January 2020.

Please name the file using the following protocol: nominee’s family name-first name.pdf, for example: Smith-Heather.pdf

  • Hard copies will not be accepted.
  • Please do not include any images or photos as part of the nomination package.
  • Please do not have blank pages or section dividers or section title pages.
  • The complete nomination package, with all seven items noted above, should be submitted electronically in a single PDF through the following location: https://www.hightail.com/u/STLHE-SAPES
  • On a separate page and not included in the 15 page limit, submit a 50-word and a 200-word “citation”, describing yourself, plus a high resolution (1500 pixels minimum at 300 ppi) digital ‘head shot’ with a plain background of yourself (this will be used for our website and promotion if you are successful).
  • All packages received here will be acknowledged upon receipt by an automated email reply so applicants will know their submissions have been received. We anticipate being able to publicly announce the new 3M NSF cohort in early April.

For publicity and promotion, please note that if you are named a 3M National Student Fellow:

  • Your email address will be shared publicly