2012 3M National Student Fellows

Cameron Bell
3rd Year, Arts—Environmental Studies
University of Northern British Columbia

The foundation of Cam’s leadership skills came from his experience in Katimavik, Canada’s national youth volunteer service program. Within his first week at UNBC in Prince George, moving from his hometown of Barrie, Ontario, he volunteered for a leadership role as a floor representative for Residence Council.

He works towards a sustainable campus as a member and past President of Students for a Green University (SGU) where his leadership and dedication have led to the construction of a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse on campus this summer. As Associate Director of Campus Sustainability on the Northern Undergraduate Student Society, Cam represents students and contributes to projects like the University Farmers’ Market. He is active in goBEYOND, promoting sustainability education in post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. Roles in a musical band and Bike to Work Week add to the story of this exceptional young man.

Cam is someone who doesn’t wait for invitations to get involved. Rather, he sees opportunities and seizes them. He “lives his leadership,” leading by example and as a leader of people, a leader in ideas, and a leader of, and for, the future.

Selena Demenoff
3rd Year, Health Sciences—Biomedical Studies
University of Northern British Columbia

A model “people person”, Selena makes a case for a culturally inclusive teaching and learning environment and is a strong advocate of peace and empowering our youth. Her transformative experiences are also rooted in her work with communities and to make her environment better. Her leadership experiences stem from her work with early childhood development initiatives. She has volunteered in both her hometown of Grand Forks, British Columbia, and Prince George. Examples include Respectful Relationships, Restorative Justice (for which Selena is a founding member), Prince George Native Friendship Centre and local Metis Associations.

In the health promotion community projects, OPTions for Sexual Health and Boundary Family Centres, Selena works to meet the needs of people who deserve health education and awareness as a right, not a privilege. Volunteering with the Northern Health Authority in Prince George, Selena’s work has included environmental hydrology and toxicology assessment, drinking water public outreach, and commercial health promotion. Recognizing the parallelisms between leadership and education, this young woman strives to reciprocate educational experiences to leadership and vice versa.

Pascal Genest-Richard
3rd Year, Bioresource Engineering
McGill University

From the youngest age, Pascal has been striving to make things move forward. A successful athlete and coach, he has also volunteered at a microbrewery in Ireland, an organic farm in Chile, and, as a volunteer consultant in agribusiness management helped to organize a Youth Leadership Conference gathering over 80 students from high schools in Ghana. An active member of McGill’s Music Club, Pascal qualified for three consecutive Quebec Engineering competitions, and was elected to be the student representative to the Faculty Environmental Committee. He speaks passionately about Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a non-governmental organization (NGO) with student chapters across the country, focusing on poverty issues as well as the actions to be taken both in Africa and in Canada to tackle the root causes of the problem. He has been instrumental in the creation of a bilingualism team within the NGO to institutionalize the translation of documents into both of Canada’s official languages.

Pascal shows the markers of someone who recognizes challenges for student engagement and acts to create awareness among his peers in engineering. This combination of abilities, combined with the other leadership traits of commitment, curiosity, passion and generosity, shows that he meaningfully engages people for change.

Ray Charles Howard
2nd Year, International Economics and and Finance
Ryerson University

In his leadership experience, both academically and professionally, Chuck has identified actions that he feels are of particular importance for creating successful outcomes in group environments, including engaging interests, employing strengths and identifying and resolving possible weaknesses.

Chuck acted as volunteer events manager for Cross Town Kitchens, a group of restaurants that raises funds for Toronto based community food centre ‘The Stop’. He is a study session leader in mathematics. His involvement with the Canadian Opera Company’s OperaNation fundraiser in 2010 contributed to over $90,000 being raised. He co-chairs the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research Conference at Ryerson. He has volunteered in Vietnam and Rwanda. This summer he will spend four months in Malawi through Engineers without Borders.

He genuinely speaks from experience – for example, how to get students at his commuter-campus institution to take part in more extra-curricular activities. He has acted as a role model for his classmates and his junior students, encouraging them to participate in a variety of activities. Chuck is an exceptionally motivated and talented young man who is certain to make his mark in the world.

Jolène Labbé
2nd Year, Arts and Sciences, International Development, Biology and Economics
University of Guelph

Jolène has integrated her activities with her educational goals, with leadership potential emerging during a course on world hunger. In introducing a transformational educational experience, Jolène begins with her story of traveling to India to volunteer in a medical clinic.

Reflecting on the nature of leadership and mentoring, she sees the primary role of education to serve society and enhance social well-being. She co-facilitated a first-year seminar, Confronting Cultural Dilemmas, volunteered to help bring Kim Phuc to campus to speak about the aftermath of the napalm bomb attack on her village during the Vietnam War and helped to coordinate the Stop-Hate, Promote Acceptance Campaign. She has been a Multi-Faith Team program facilitator, providing resources for students about religious groups on campus, as well as a chance for students from different faith groups to meet, celebrate their diversity and learn from each other’s traditions.
Passionate about sustainability, Jolène tries to incorporate principles of living simply, resilience and awareness of one’s impact on the environment in all that she does. She writes that leadership opportunities allow for one to share their experiences and knowledge and inspire others. It is clear the many ways in which she does this.

Johanna Lewis
3rd Year, Double Major, Global Health; Women and Gender Studies
University of Toronto

After working a few weeks through a Women’s Health Summer Experience Award at the Women’s College Research Institute, Johanna’s supervisor put her in charge as the National Research Coordinator of a cross-Canada community based research project. She helped to develop the mission, vision and mandate of the research, and worked to further integrate principles of anti-oppression throughout the project.

She has engaged in much social justice work and leadership at the university, elected as Victoria College Director on the University of Toronto Student’s Union, organizing with the U of T General Assembly, and serving on the board of the Ontario Public Interest Group, among others.

The same analysis of the challenges in post-secondary education that motivate Johanna’s involvement also drew her to apply for this fellowship. She notes that the financial barriers that limit access to post-secondary education represent a clear site of injustice, and advocates for universities as spaces for critical thought tied to action for the public good.

Johanna identifies the conversations she’s had with students, professors, and others she’s worked with as one of the fundamental components of her learning environment. She goes beyond leadership to activism. Her commitment to making a difference stands out.

Mimi Liu
2nd Year, Joint Specialist in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies
Minor in Asia-Pacific Studies
University of Toronto

Mimi is a remarkable leader whose vision, dedication, and passion for empowering the marginalized is inspiring. She founded Vivace, a youth-driven, community-based organization that helps make music education more accessible to children from families with limited means. This year, she co-chaired INDePth, a new, annual conference that brings Canadian and international students from diverse disciplines together to discuss development in Asia.  As well, she works for Prof. Joseph Wong on a multidisciplinary research project on health innovations for the global south.

Mimi is also interested in China’s development and foreign relations. She hopes to help ameliorate tensions between China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific and facilitate international cooperation on global challenges. She recently conducted field research on the dynamics of democratic deepening during the January 2012 Taiwanese presidential elections.  She spent last summer in China, where she interned with International Bridges to Justice, which works to strengthen rule of law in developing countries. Mimi has continuously sought experiences that deepen her understanding of complex social problems and enhance her ability to facilitate solutions.

Sarah Nichols
3rd Year, Commerce
Carleton University

Sarah feels that leadership is a skill that can be developed through self-study, education, training and experience. She has engaged herself in a number of student leadership positions, including working as a Summer Orientation Leader, Orientation Coordinator and giving back to the community of Ottawa through Community Service-Learning. She has taken on roles that encourage others to get involved as leaders, such as through helping to develop and promote a Co-curricular Record at Carleton, which serves students with official transcripts of their extra-curricular involvement to use in future career-seeking opportunities and applications to graduate study programs.

Sarah has served for the past two years as a mentor for First in Family, a government program to help incoming students who are the first in their family to attend a post-secondary institution; the goal is to reduce the drop-out rate of this group who can face unique challenges without a support network. Sarah has a rare level of understanding of the needs and goals of students and university bodies (such as how orientation could be improved) and ways to position the needs of students to meet institutional goals (such as through a holistic education experience.)

John Alex Pritz
3rd Year, School of the Environment; Ecological Determinants of Health
McGill University

Alex’s nomination presents a remarkable story of international conscience and willingness to do difficult and impactful work in developing countries, including Haiti after its devastating earthquake. Emerging work on campus, in Senate and elsewhere, augments this work. Alex is making a difference in some very challenged and challenging environments. He is a very good relationship builder, especially across cultures. As a result of the Haiti work, Alex co-founded Developing Pictures, a now international student film group with chapters at McGill and Cornell University.

After receiving an inaugural McGill Dalai Lama fellowship for the Iwastology Program (Iwasto being Fillipino for to make right and wastology being the study of waste), Alex spent two months in the Philippines putting this project into action, teaching high schools students about our world of waste through the lens of exploratory filmmaking.

Alex does not use many “I” statements, but rather gives credit to anyone else that he has worked with. He says he came to University to gain the tools necessary to start working on what he considers to be the most pressing issues facing his generation. He has a grasp on the challenges that face students and leads by example.

Alannah Robinson
3rd Year, Honours Recreation and Leisure Co-op
University of Waterloo

Through Alannah’s definition of a leader, and its cyclical, ongoing process, she explained how as she began her post-secondary education; with passion and enthusiasm she wanted to be instrumental in creating change and leave her mark at the University of Waterloo. She sees gaps and actively finds solutions to fill them such as organizing uWaterloo’s first-ever invocation ceremony which officially welcomed over 4000 students to their post-secondary experience. She sees potential in others, and does everything she can to help them reach it, as demonstrated through her involvement with a conference called Action Minded People Empowered to Dream. She actively seeks opportunities to help others gain the skills they need to improve.

Alannah has highlighted an important and common issue present on campus:  segregation. She sees community as a tool to break down barriers and recognizes its essential role to a well-rounded educational experience and one that is central to her involvement at the University of Waterloo. She has been a community-builder for the last two years as Residence Life Don, where she supports the academic and personal needs of students living in residence.