2017 SAMRU Award Winners

Congratulations, 2017 SAMRU Award Winners!


Inspiring Culture Award

Louis Obukohwo

Louis moved to Canada from Nigeria in 2011, all by himself. Not having a strong support network was hard for this student, and the instability in his life caused his grades to suffer as a result. Thankfully Louis found ways to stay connected on campus, and he started volunteering with SAMRU, in spaces such as the Peer Support and Global Citizen Centres. He switched programs (he is now working toward a Bachelor in Business Administration), started a student club, PoetsProspect, and received straight A’s for the first time. Louis believes every student deserves to find their place at MRU and he strives to enhance the lives of others by showing them that they do belong.

Beyond Disabilities Award

Leticia Vicentino

Leticia moved to Canada from Brazil four years ago, not knowing anyone or speaking any English. The first few months were rough, but she met some good people and started giving back. Now she is in her second year of Nursing at MRU and is still volunteering – as much as three times per week. With a focus on children with disabilities, she works with groups such as Between Friends and MRU’s TVP program. She is also a coordinator in the Student Nursing Society on campus. Leticia has worked extremely hard in the past four years and she wants to be a nurse so she can give back to the community that helped her when she was new to Canada.

Gender and Sexual Diversity Award

Eddy Robinson

It was Eddy’s childhood experiences working with children at summer camps that led them to want to work with at-risk youth, specifically LGBTQ+ youth, in an outdoor setting. To make this dream come true, they are majoring in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership, with a double minor in Women and Gender Studies and Anthropology. They are also an active SAMRU volunteer, working as a key organizer in many programs such as Gender Bender, Sex Toy Bingo, Queer Book Club, and Crafternoon. Eddy wants to continue to learn and engage with their community, as it fuels their passion for the future.

Deanna Cardinal Memorial Award

Andrea Heron

A single mother of two, Andrea has been at MRU since 2013. After completing the Aboriginal entrance program with honours, she is now majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Indigenous Studies and Women and Gender Studies. Having experienced many social and personal obstacles throughout her life, Andrea found support in the Iniskim Centre, where she is now a consistent volunteer and mentors other students. It is in the completion of her education, however, where Andrea sees the future for her and her children, and her commitment to that is immeasurable.

Excellence in Community Service Club Award

Afghan Children’s Society

The Afghan Children’s Society focuses on advocating for children’s rights. The mission of the club is to ensure all children meet their basic needs and ensure they have the means of educational tools. The club fulfills its mission by raising awareness on human rights, doing charity work, and hosting educational events. Some examples of their work include participation in MRU’s Cultural and Interfaith fair, and a shoebox drive which involves collecting school supplies, clothing, and personal hygiene products. As they are so passionate about their cause, members of the club will be going to Afghanistan in person to deliver the assembled donations.

Excellence in Membership Service Club Award

Education Undergraduate Society

The mission of the Education Undergraduate Society (EUS) is to provide professional development opportunities for all education students, offer volunteering that gives back to children, and organize events that foster connections between students and faculty. So far this year the club has hosted eight professional development experiences, two community volunteer opportunities, and three large social events. Even with such a busy schedule, the EUS still strives to offer more, and just started Passion Talks, an annual event aimed at strengthening connections and forming potential research partnerships for its members.

Teaching Excellence Awards

Nancy Angel Doetzel

Nancy is a Sociology professor at MRU who truly loves teaching and cares about all her students. It is noticed She goes above and beyond in her role as a responsible, committed, and compassionate instructor. Her students appreciate her encouragement of classroom discussion and of connecting course material to real life situations, as it makes course material easier to understand. Nancy draws inspiration in her students by teaching from her mind and heart, and she evokes a strong sense of community in her classrooms.

Manuel Diaz-Avila

Even though he has been an instructor at MRU for ten years, Manuel still does his best to make students feel at ease. He starts every course with introductions of himself and of his students, and makes it his goal to remember every name by the end of the semester. His popularity is due to his ongoing support, accessible lecture style, fair testing methods, and strong belief in his students. Manuel is a professor whose genuine personality has a positive effect on all students, not just those enrolled in his classes.


Champion Awards

Wilfred Taylor Cole

Wilfred is a part time instructor at MRU who teaches Sociology. Despite his part time schedule, he still supports students by writing reference letters, providing advice on grad schools, and advocating for human rights. His work is also appreciated by student clubs. By providing mentorship and encouragement, he has helped many SAMRU clubs in their projects and proposals. Wilfred is a passionate teacher who goes above and beyond his responsibilities to enrich the lives of the students he meets at MRU.


Citizenship Awards

Emily Bartlett

Since Emily’s second year at MRU, she has been very active within the campus community. She is the current president of the student club, Enactus Mount Royal, and has led a team of 70 students through 6 award-winning projects. Then there is the work she does on Green Cup, a social enterprise she co-founded aimed at changing the face of waste through compostable coffee cups. Lastly, she also works part time on campus at Design4Change, an advertising and branding agency located in MRU’s business building. Emily believes MRU has created a launch pad for her future initiatives in life, and she will always have the university to thank for that.

Vivian Ly

As a student in the Bachelor of Nursing program, Vivian’s volunteer career started before she was a teenager. Whether it was the “Advanced Learning Program” at a local high school or the Between Friends organization, Vivian has logged many hours with programs aimed at helping others with disabilities. It was her work with Kids Cancer Care, however, where she had the realization she wanted to pursue pediatric oncology and work with children affected by cancer. All these interactions have given Vivian the chance to develop her abilities, and to truly discover her self worth and the passion she has for her chosen career of nursing.

Christopher Shaw

For approximately three semesters, Chris has been a loyal SAMRU volunteer. When he isn’t making coffee for the Free Breakfast program or planning events on the Relationships, Identity and Sex Programming Planning and Implementation Committee, Chris is studying Science, the program in which he wants to receive his degree. Life has not always been easy and learning has been a challenge, but Chris has worked hard and managed an impressive GPA. As much as he enjoys school, Chris knows it is not the only thing that characterizes him; his extracurricular activities do as well, and have made him the person he is today.


Committed Learner Award

Mohsen Esmaeili

Mohsen’s path to becoming enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at MRU has been extraordinary. Having immigrated to Canada from Iran four years ago, he has faced many struggles such as language barriers, financial concerns, and obtaining a post-secondary education. However he knows that not many people are allowed the opportunities he has been given, and he is determined to succeed. His feeling of gratitude has led him to become a tutor to his classmates and a volunteer with seniors. Mohsen’s unwavering commitment to succeed in his post-secondary education is clear, as is his dedication to embracing his new home and community.


Outstanding Governor of the Year

Cordelia Snowdon

As a third year Policy Studies major, Cordelia has been a member of the SAMRU Governing Board since August of 2015. During that time she has taken on the role of chair in many work groups, such as the Board Building group, the Executive Director Performance Review group, and the Social Planning group. This is in addition to volunteering over 160 hours last semester and working part time at the Distress Centre. Cordelia hopes that she can make a difference in the world by modelling her values of volunteerism, accountability, and community activism.


Bronze Awards

Kayla Pearen

It was personal loss that led Kayla to want to pursue a Psychology degree. Now a second year student at MRU, Kayla has a goal of being a counsellor. Despite the hardships she has faced, Kayla still wants to give back, and does so through her work as an executive member of the Psychology Student Society and the Behavioural Science Undergraduate Journal Committee. When she is not swimming, playing soccer, or working, Kayla enjoys being involved in the community, helping those that have experienced loss similar to her own.

Ritika Nanda

Ritika started volunteering as a way to add content to her resume, but this Criminal Justice student soon realized she actually enjoyed the positive difference she was making in her community. She has been on the Board of Student Conduct, which helps maintain order and safety on the MRU campus, and as the Vice-President of the Criminal Justice Student Society, she organized a career fair to help students interested in the Criminal Justice field. She may have started volunteering to help with her resume, but Ritika now knows her efforts have created positive outcomes on campus and have given students a chance to advance in their professional lives.

Diana Kurila

Diana is a second year student in the Bachelor of Education program. Through her role as VP External of the Education Undergraduate Society and as a New Student Orientation leader, she has made inspiring and enriching connections within her program and across campus. She organized a resume building workshop, helped coordinate eight professional development events, and planned the LGBTQ Youth and Mental Health: Supporting Gender and Sexual Diversity in the Classroom workshop. Diana loves it when her peers take part in professional development opportunities, and strives to create them whenever she can.


Silver Awards

Fareshta Ali Bik

Originally a refugee from Afghanistan, Fareshta arrived in Canada and struggled daily to learn English. Now a fourth year MRU student in the Bachelor of Child Studies program, she has a dream of becoming a Child Psychologist. Knowing what it is like to feel unwelcome, one of Fareshta’s core values is that everyone should feel like they belong. Whether it is organizing the Cultural and Interfaith Fair, volunteering with seniors, collecting donations for Syrian refugees, or leading new students through campus on new student orientation day, Fareshta volunteers her time at MRU and in her community, to make her admiration of inclusivity a reality.

Laurie Gaal

It wasn’t until she utilized a service through the Peer Support Centre that Laurie realized there was more to MRU than just academia. Now an avid volunteer herself, Laurie is a member of the Relationships, Identity and Sex Programming Planning and Implementation Committee, logged the most hours in this year’s Season of Caring campaign, and sits as an executive on three different student clubs. In 2015 she started the #TrustYourGut campaign with MRU security, which will continue for a second year. Laurie has come a long way from when she first started at MRU, but feels she can reach her potential with community involvement and volunteering.


Gold Award

Djordje (George)  Calic

What George values most in his roles at MRU are the opportunities to collaborate and to learn from his peers. While his academic year has been challenging, it has also been rewarding. This Management student has kept busy volunteering as a peer tutor, working on SAMRU’s Academic Advisory Committee, acting as a Montreal Exchange Ambassador, and serving as President of the Financial Students’ Organization. When this honours student walks through the halls of MRU, he is blessed by the generosity of his community and very grateful for the opportunities he has been given.


Outstanding Student of the Year

Imogene Blyth Roulson

As a fifth year student, Imogene has dedicated her time at MRU to having a impact on campus. Her journey volunteering began in 2013 when she applied to be a Peer Diversity Educator. From there she contributed to events such as the Colour U Blue run, the REDx Talks, and Commemorating the Komagata Maru. She has also sat as a student representative on one council and two committees to be sure the student voice was being heard. Imogene is working towards her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Religious Studies, and it is her hope that her volunteer work will have a lasting impact on the students of MRU, even after she has graduated.