Each year, the Student Experience Awards honour the achievements and contributions of campus leaders who have made a lasting difference in students’ lives and in campus-community relations. Students, staff and faculty are eligible for specific awards.
Although we were not able to celebrate with our winners in-person this year, their accomplishments deserve to be shared.
Recipients of the 2021 awards are listed below. Read their full stories on the Student Experience Instagram account.
André Auger Citizenship Award
Simran Bhullar – Ontario Veterinary College, Biomedical Sciences
As a master of science candidate, Simran Bhullar balances her studies of Alzheimer’s disease with her lab work and community volunteer work. She is active with the City of Guelph’s Big Brothers Big Sisters and Snow Angels programs and led the fundraising committee for United Way at the Ontario Veterinary College. She is passionate about encouraging women to explore STEM and participates in many events for prospective students.
Brian D. Sullivan Student Leadership Award
Sooraj Modi – College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Computer Science
During his time at U of G, Sooraj Modi has been involved in many clubs, organizations and initiatives. He has served as director of the CSA, executive member of the Society of Computing and Information Sciences, member of Jack.org, co-chair of the Student Senate Caucus and member of the Board of Undergraduate Studies.
Carl Rom Colthoff Experiential Learning Award
Harrison Levine – College of Biological Science, Biomedical Science
Over the last four years, Harrison Levine has served in multiple roles with Guelph Hillel, Guelph Model United Nations Club and TEDxGuelphU. Inspired by his peer helper experience with Makerspace, he began an experiential learning opportunity focused on 3-D printing research for the veterinary community in September 2020.
Diversity & Inclusion Award
Taylor Ross – College of Biological Science, Microbiology
Taylor Ross has served as president of the American Sign Language club and has helped the club remain successful throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. A strong advocate for the LGBTQ2IA+ community, Ross has volunteered with Project Serve and taught workshops to grade school students. She is the senior volunteer of operations for SafeWalk, an orientation volunteer, a U of G ambassador and volunteer campus tour guide.
Erin Angus Graduate Student Engagement Award
Sara Stricker – PhD, Department of Plant Agriculture
Sara Stricker has been deeply involved in student engagement activities during her time at U of G. She has served as a representative on University and national committees relating to her field of study. In the past year, Stricker has facilitated “Take a Break” sessions to support graduate students, volunteered for the Canadian Association for Girls in Science and attended information sessions throughout the pandemic to advocate for graduate students.
Hasnul F. Abdollah International Student Award
Lisa Kazhuara – College of Biological Science, Nutritional and Nutraceutical Science
Improving the international student experience has been Lisa Kazhuara’s passion throughout her undergraduate career. She has volunteered for the LINK program and was a START International program facilitator and a peer helper for the English Language Program. As co-president of the International Student Organization for the past three years, she has advocated for international students’ interests and hosted events for students who are interested in getting involved.
Dani Nowosad – M.Sc., Department of Integrative Biology
Dani Nowosad is a citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation and a graduate student in the Department of Integrative Biology. She actively facilitates meetings between SIKU – an Indigenous Knowledge Sharing Network app – and the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at U of G. She is developing communication strategies for Indigenous students in the College of Biological Science and is a mentor through the CBS Undergraduate Mentorship Program.
Laurie Schnarr I Am a Gryphon Award
Swathy Sethuraman – College of Biological Science, Bio-Medical Science
Recognizing the challenges international students have faced over the last year, Swathy Sethuraman created a new program: Gryphons World Tour. This innovative program connects international students to Canada and other countries and encourages friendship between domestic and international students. Sethuraman is an international student ambassador peer helper and online community manager for Gryphons Nest.
Roberta Mason Award
Kiyan Kheradvar – College of Biological Science, Bio-Medical Science
Kivan Kheradvar has played a crucial role in the Canadian Association for Research in Regenerative Medicine over the last year. In September 2020, he became the executive of research and he now aspires to make long-term contributions to the newly formed Journal Club branch, where undergraduate students present the latest findings in regenerative medicine to their peers.
R.P. Gilmor Student Experience Award
Zante Botha – College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Mechanical Engineering
An active participant in University athletics, Zante Botha is a student athlete, part-time Department of Athletics employee and chair of the Athletic Advisory Committee. She led the initiative to develop a club tennis program that became the first Gryphon team to compete in a Tennis Canada National event. She advocated for NRG passes to be provided free to students with financial need, leading Athletics to provide five annual bursaries. Botha has been involved in Interhall Council and with the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Council in the Ontario Engineering Competition. As a volunteer, in 2020-21 Botha helped run a virtual Women in STEM conference.
Congratulations to this year’s honourees!