2023 UTSLA Recipients
New College would like to congratulate all the students who have been awarded a 2022-23 University of Toronto Student Leadership Award (UTSLA). These awards recognize graduating students whose exemplary leadership contributions have significantly impacted U of T and the university experience of their peers. Recipients of the UTSLA will join the distinguished community of past Cressy Award recipients in being honoured for their exemplary leadership and service to U of T. New College is thrilled that eight students who have played key roles in our community have been honoured this year.
New College is extremely proud of the achievements of these exceptional student leaders, and we have no doubt of the significant impact they will continue to have on their colleagues and communities.
Giuliana has made many impactful contributions to U of T, including helping in the development and advancement of a Latinx COVID relief fund with Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS).
Guiliana’s leadership is strongly connected to giving third-culture kids a safe forum to grow and find a home. As she grew up in the third space, being born in Calgary but growing up in Latin America and coming to school in Ontario, the home has never felt directly proportional to a location but instead a group of people. Because of this, organizations where she held a leadership role while at U of T have been places that act as a haven for people who look for “home” within people.
Throughout her role as co-president of the University of Toronto Women’s Student Association (UTWSA), Giuliana has regularly supported and been a part of many New College initiatives such as Orientation Week and Consent Talk Community Hours. Giuliana is currently leading the UTWSA team to develop and plan the annual LeadHERship conference that is open to all women-identifying students which supports student professional development, provides networking opportunities, and helps build community for hundreds of students throughout the college and university annually. Beyond her impactful work with UTWSA, Giuliana is also involved in mentorship roles and Latinx student organizations which also exemplifies her impact in boosting community engagement in student led activities.
Marianne was honoured to have been part of the orientation team throughout her undergrad as it provided her an outlet to welcome first year students into the University community.
Marianne is a highly-involved student at New College, as well as being a community contributor to the Newman Centre on campus. Through her roles, Marianne has played a key role in building community as she aided in the planning and execution of events and socials which enable U of T students, regardless of their world views, religious practices, program of study, gender identity, and leadership background, to bond and grow with each other. As an orientation executive in the Volunteer Management Executive role, Marianne was a leader in creating an integral program that welcomed more than 600 students into our space fully in-person for the first time since 2019. Her leadership made the New College community more lively and caring.
Beyond supporting the overall orientation program, Marianne was responsible for training, creating community, and caring for almost 100 volunteer leaders who were upper-year undergraduate students themselves. Marianne prioritized the care of undergraduate students working under her leadership to ensure they felt safe and welcomed into the New College and U of T community.
Aghaghia has helped invoke intellectual curiosity among her peers by hosting a series of podcasts with local scientists and overseeing various committees to carry out this initiative.
As an actively engaged student in UofT-based research projects, Aghaghia has helped graduate and senior scientists synthesize and disseminate knowledge across the local community and beyond. Through her leadership and contributions, Aghaghia has fostered an environment of inclusion and personal growth for students at the University of Toronto. In her role as president of the student group, A Moment of Science, Please! (AMOSP), Aghaghia has extended hospitality and developed a welcoming community for students to interact and interview prolific scientists within the UofT community. Under her leadership, AMOSP has created over 15 podcasts and facilitated an inclusive, engaging, and fun environment for students to grow their professional network. This initiative bridges the gap between research initiatives across the various departments at UofT and allows students an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by faculty, indirectly. As a student mentor in the Human Biology Student Union, Medical Sciences Student Association, UTiran (Iranian Student Association) and the UofT Student Experience Program, Aghaghia’s commitment to sharing knowledge and improving the student experience for her peers is indispensable.
Nuzhat Raidah Namiha
Nuzhat’s enthusiasm for scientific communication and student success resources has led to many successful written and video projects found on UofT departmental websites and social media accounts.
As Vice President of Student Life for New College Student Council (NCSC), Nuzhat participated in numerous New College events such as being a panelist for a live Q&A session encouraging first-year students to join NCSC. In this position, she has re-instated many programs that were lost, including the New College locker rental service, New College graduation photos, NCSC Student Group grants, and leading the move of NCSC to their new office space that was completed just before the beginning of the pandemic. As a senior leader for the Cell and Molecular Biology Learning Community, Nuzhat was able to showcase an article they had written on the Stem Cell and Developmental Biology website which in turn encouraged 10 students to write articles for the website enhancing their knowledge in molecular biology and scientific writing.
Alyssa Gabrielle Nurse
Due to Alyssa’s leadership, Connections: A Group for Black Women was officially recognized as a Student Group and members were able to have their positions recognized on the CCR.
From the inception of her undergraduate career, finding and fostering community has been a top priority for Alyssa. Her student leadership spans multiple communities, including the Caribbean Studies Program, the Black Identifying University Community at large, and as the President of Connections: A Group for Black Women. What started out as a small, ambitious gathering of female, black self-identifying students at UofT has exponentially grown in membership, and due to Alyssa’s leadership and initiative, they were formally recognized as a Student Group. Alyssa’s work in this group has provided multiple opportunities for Black female-identifying students to find community through events, and meet-ups, often which have more than 50 student attendees. These types of spaces are vital to students from equity-deserving groups as they navigate the institution and contribute to a better academic and social space for all.
Etienne is proudest of his work with Modele Kuforiji of Student Life. They are doing their utmost to create Black spaces, scholarships, funds, initiatives, events, etc. to better our Black community.
U of T’s Black Students Association has benefited from Etienne’s ongoing leadership as an executive for the past 3 years, and this year, as President. The BSA’s work and advocacy has been foundational to the University, but more importantly, the Black student experience. Etienne’s leadership has impacted students by creating events that allow students to feel welcomed, heard, and understood. His work focuses on facilitating discussion towards changing racist pedagogies at UofT, creating Black spaces for Black students, and creating spaces that are accessible to all. Examples of this include a graduation for Black Students to promote Black Excellence, an event that brought deans and faculty together to discuss the anti-racist pedagogies that persist within UofT, and a Ramadan event that welcomed Muslim students with open arms.
Gauri Sachin Patki
Gauri is proud of how volunteering as a peer leader/student mentor has helped first-year students feel welcomed within the New College and UOFT community and knowledgeable of important resources.
Being a peer leader and mentor for New College’s Office of Residence and Student Life, in multiple roles over the past years has allowed Gauri to build upon and enhance the New College community. She has helped to guide groups of first-year students through their first year, by providing knowledge and experience on academic areas, spaces, and resources and facilitating their social connections within the community. Her experience as an international student allowed Gauri to provide impactful advice and support to other international students as they adapted to life at U of T.
Gauri has been involved in New College’s First Year Experience programs every year after she completed her first year. She has been involved as a Peer Leader, SPROUT Mentor and E-mentor, and Head Peer Leader. Her roles are extremely important in developing community throughout New College as she provides direct connection and support to students looking for someone to talk to. While the Head Peer Leader role focused on orientation, Gauri continues her community building work throughout the year with her role as a mentor which allows her to work one-on-one with students. She regularly connects with them and sets meetings while balancing her own rigorous academic schedule and graduate school applications.
Danica Emiliana Yanes
Danica is most proud of co-speadheading the Linangin Mentorships program. She wanted to help guide first and second year students to navigate resources and learn about opportunities available to them at U of T.
Danica has been involved in a variety of mentorship, leadership, and student group activities throughout her time at the University of Toronto. As current Co-President and former Co-Education and Philanthropy Coordinator for the Filipino Students’ Association of Toronto, she promoted events and programs to support the well-being not only of the Filipino community but of the UofT community in general. In addition, she hosted multiple academic and social events, such as Networking Night, monthly Tagalog classes, and monthly Mentorship events that can help students develop their skills, explore different opportunities, and become more involved in their community.
Beyond Danica’s continued dedication in FSAT, she is also involved in many co-curricular academic-focused activities. This includes leadership roles within the Faculty of Arts and Science for Recognized Study Groups and mentor roles with the Psychology Students’ Association. She is passionate about supporting students throughout both their academic and social journeys at U of T. These acts of regular service and support to the campus community help expand student’s community engagement and personal development.