Student Recognition Night Honours the Outstanding Achievements of McMaster Undergraduate Students
The annual MSU awards gala, Student Recognition Night was held on March 10. Co-hosted by MSU President, Denver Della-Vedova and McMaster University President, Dr. David Farrar, Student Recognition Night honours the outstanding contribution made by students to the campus community and/or student life at McMaster. With dozens of exceptional nominees across eight award categories, the evening was a celebration of remarkable student achievement. A complete list of awards and their respective descriptions can be found here.
2022 MSU Award Recipients:
Part-time Manager(s) of the Year:
Mitchell German (MSU Spark) & Morghen Jael (MSU Food Collective Centre)
Student Representative Assembly (SRA) Members of the Year:
Fraser McCauley (Engineering) & Aisha Baig (Kinesiology)
J. Lynn Watson Award for Community Engagement: Smiling Over Sickness (SOS)
Since its establishment in 2002, McMaster Smiling Over Sickness (SOS) has grown to be one of the largest and most influential student-run charitable McMaster organizations, currently boasting over 500 members. By the end of this school year, SoS will have provided over 1,500 hours of community service and is projected to raise over $7,000 in support of pediatric patients and their families. SoS’s commitment to charity and community support is evident in its ongoing partnerships with McMaster Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Ron Joyce Center, McMaster Children’s Developmental Rehabilitation Program, Camp Trillium, Children’s Miracle Network, and A Child’s Voice Foundation.
MSU Merit Scholarship (Overall Achievement): Josephine Ding
As a student who has been actively involved in many facets of the McMaster community, including her faculty society, MSU clubs, and multiple student services, Joesphine has demonstrated outstanding commitment to campus life. Whether it be adapting Welcome Week planning in the face of COVID-19 to spearheading new initiatives to fundraise money for pediatric patients, Joesphine has consistently pushed the limits to overcome various challenges. In addition, as a peer support volunteer within the Student Health Education Centre, as well as a promotions executive member for both Horizons and Spark, Joesphine’s dedication to campus life, mentorship, and service to students has been tremendous.
MSU Merit Scholarship (Single Year Achievement): Vivien Trinh
Citing how the mentorship of others helped shape her early years at McMaster, Vivien has since fervently given her time to support the growth of students within the campus community. With a long list of involvement inside the MSU Clubs Department, along with leadership roles inside a multitude of MSU services including Spark, SWHAT, SHEC and the Food Collective Centre, Viven has given so much of herself in the pursuit of making campus life better for all students. Further, as an Archway mentor and a representative of the faculty of Science, Viven’s efforts to welcome and support new students on campus is demonstrably remarkable.
MSU Spirit Award: MSU Spark
MSU Spark realized record-setting engagement with first year students this past year. Despite most of the academic year continuing to operate in online and virtual spaces, Spark was able to connect with students at an unprecedented level. Their Sessions Program – the backbone of Spark’s service delivery – was revamped to work with students for the whole year, rather than semesterly. In addition, Spark’s winter registration levels were up 350% over past years. Further, Spark innovated its ambassador program, creating more opportunities for first year students to work with the executives. At the same time, Spark introduced a new scholarship program, titled Achievement in Leadership, to financially support students who demonstrate a commitment to the McMaster community. The level of passion, dedication, and resilience demonstrated by the MSU Spark Team is unparalleled and worthy of recognition through the MSU Spirit Award.
Rudy Heinzl Award of Excellence: Salsa Sarhan
Salsa has demonstrated truly impressive levels of student life involvement over her undergraduate career. She boasts a long and varied list of extra-curricular involvement, volunteerism, mentorship, advocacy, and leadership experience across her faculty society, student government, community groups, and university services. Currently serving as the President of the Social Sciences Society, Salsa has also held leadership roles with the Black Students Association, the Student Representative Assembly, and the MSU’s Municipal Affairs Committee. Having also served on McMaster’s Undergraduate Council, as a Welcome Week representative, and as an Archway mentor, Salsa’s commitment to student life enhancement is unparalleled. A strong supporter of all things Hamilton, Salsa embodies a true passion for working within her community.
Honour M Award: Anika Anand
As a student of the Bachelor of Health Sciences Honours program with a minor in Psychology, Anika has extensive research experience, which includes involvement with The Royal Institute of Mental Health Research. She currently holds the position of Director of the Student Health Education Centre within the McMaster Students Union, and thus, is responsible for overseeing an inclusive environment in which all marginalized groups feel welcome and safe to embrace their identities. Anika and her team aim to make an impact on student lives through providing free peer support, health supplies, referrals, and educational materials. Anika’s list of extracurricular and volunteer experience cannot be overlooked. She currently holds the following roles: Peer Tutor with McMaster University, Shelter Assistant with The Hub, Tutor for Disable The Difference and Assistant Director for Cooperative of Indigenous Studies Student and Alumni Association.
Honour M Award: Alyssa Benitez
Alyssa is in her final year of Honours Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology. With numerous leadership roles to her credit, she has repeatedly demonstrated her academic capacity in the areas of Kinesiology and Athletics and Recreation. She has held various mentoring roles throughout her academic career, more recently serving as Vice-President Social of the McMaster Kinesiology Society, Welcome Week Representative with her faculty, Archway Mentor with the McMaster Student Success Centre and Varsity Student Field Therapist with the McMaster Sport Medicine Program. Through these roles, Alyssa is able to connect directly with peers whether it be gaining feedback and connecting with her faculty, facilitating meet and greet events, or helping first years explore the University’s many resources. As a Student Field Therapist for McMaster’s Varsity Cross Country/Track Team, Alyssa mentored 75 first-year students during the COVID-19 Pandemic, while tutoring children with learning disabilities. Alyssa’s passion for Kinesiology is evident in her accomplishments. Not only has she been employed by the McMaster’s Athletics & Recreation department, she has volunteered considerable time and effort across various organizations on and off campus. These organizations include: the McMaster Kinesiology Department, the McMaster Science Department and the City of Hamilton, to name a few.