Celebrating Outstanding Individuals with Student Experience Awards

Each year, the Student Experience Awards honor the achievements and contributions of campus leaders who have made a lasting difference in students’ lives and in campus-community relations.

Each year, the University community is invited to submit nominations for the Student Experience Awards. The various awards honour and celebrate involvement at U of G and in the greater community. Nominations are welcome from students, faculty and staff.

“I continue to be inspired by our student leaders who have embraced our Gryphon values of determination, caring, engagement, respect and authenticity and who through these values, have created communities and opportunities that enhance both the student experience and a sense of belonging among their colleagues,” said Irene Thompson, interim vice-provost (Student Affairs).

Learn more about this year’s inspiring winners.

André Auger Citizenship Award

Amal Zeidan – College of Biological Science, Environmental Science
Celebrating an undergraduate or graduate student who has consistently demonstrated a sense of personal responsibility and commitment toward community

Amal Zeidan

A passionate and involved student leader, Amal Zeidan has made outstanding contributions to the campus community in her time at U of G. As president and founder of the Palestinian Student Society Association, Amal organized successful campus events and social activities, led advocacy campaigns, and became a key spokesperson for Palestinian students on campus.

Amal works diligently to bring campus groups together and has worked collaboratively with the Central Students’ Association and the Guelph Black Students’ Association on several events and initiatives across campus.

Amal’s passion for mental health and wellness is exemplified through her efforts as director and co-founder of the not-for-profit organization Steps2Flourish, a resource-sharing platform that promotes positive mental health and wellbeing.

Erin Angus Graduate Student Engagement Award

Lauren McLean – PhD Candidate, School of English and Theatre Studies
Presented to a graduate student who has made significant contributions to graduate and all student life through their engagement within the campus community during the past year

Lauren McLean

Lauren McLean is a PhD candidate in Literary Studies/Theatre Studies in English, and an active member of and advocate for the graduate student community at U of G. As the president of the English, Theatre and Creative Writing (ETC) Student Council within the School of English and Theatre Studies (SETS), Lauren has worked diligently to create a sense of community among SETS students. Through events and opportunities Lauren organized and facilitated, participation in the ETC Student Council and the SETS graduate student community increased significantly.

Nominators praised Lauren for organizing extremely useful professionalization events and workshops where grad students could develop new skills and gather helpful resources. Lauren also successfully acquired funding to update the furniture in the SETS grad lounge. She further demonstrated her deep commitment to the students she serves by assembling the furniture herself!

R.P. Gilmor Student Experience Award

Jamie Horner – Indigenous Student Centre, Coordinator, Indigenous Programs
This award is presented to an individual student or student group and an individual staff or faculty member/group who are committed to improving the student experience and have contributed to the betterment of student life at the University of Guelph.

Jamie Horner

Jaime Horner is a U of G alumna with a master’s degree in public issues anthropology, a former U of G teaching assistant (TA), and the current coordinator of Indigenous programs in the department of Student Experience. Through her various roles and extensive involvement within the U of G community, Jamie has demonstrated a passion for working with Indigenous students and creating a strong sense of community.

As a TA, Jaime went above and beyond to ensure student success wherever possible and would frequently meet with other students on her own time to assist them with understanding course content. After graduating, Jamie quickly dove into her role as coordinator of Indigenous programs. Adjusting to a new position in a virtual environment, Jamie hosted multiple successful events and increased engagement amongst the Indigenous student community. Jamie has demonstrated unwavering commitment to the Indigenous student community at U of G and has offered continuous support for students across campus.

Kishaadigeh Award

Emma McNeill – College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Water Resource Engineering
This award is presented to a First Nations, Métis or Inuit student who is engaged in co-curricular activities that enrich their educational experience and is achieving well academically. The recipient is also connected in meaningful ways to the larger community, actively encouraging others to become involved and is a role model for other Indigenous learners.

Emma McNeill

In her time as an undergraduate student at U of G, Emma McNeill has been involved in several student initiatives, clubs and volunteer opportunities. A member of Nunatsiavut, and an executive on the Indigenous Student Society, Emma has planned and supported numerous events and shown a passion for getting more students involved at the Indigenous Student Centre. As a member of the First Response Team at the University of Guelph, Emma works with other responders to provide 24/7 confidential emergency medical response to the University community.

Emma’s passion for mental health and well-being extends into her role as a student representative on the Student Wellness Advisory Group, where she is a strong advocate for student mental health initiatives.

Carl Rom Colthoff Experiential Learning Award

Jinal Manek – M.Sc., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
This award recognizes a student who has participated in a University-organized experiential learning opportunity and, because of their experience, has taken initiative to contribute more significantly to their community.

Jinal Manek

Jinal Manek, currently pursuing her master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology, is a true ambassador for experiential learning. She has engaged in numerous experiential learning opportunities across campus as a Senior Peer Helper, a co-op student and undergraduate researcher, and as part of the executive leadership for various student associations.

Over her six-semester tenure as a Career Services Peer Helper, Jinal facilitated various resume and career planning workshops and helped fellow students in their job searches. As an undergrad, Jinal was president of the Microbiology Student Association and is now the activities communications coordinator for the Graduate Student Association. Jinal has leveraged her networking and creativity to develop connections between Peer Helpers and leaders within student clubs and associations. This effort has helped to further improve students’ experience and wellbeing on campus and supports students’ career readiness.

Learn more about the Student Experience Awards.