Campus Life

Student Leadership Recognition Award

Fall 2016 Student Leadership Recognition Award Recipients

Recipients pictured seated (left to right): Kazi Rahman, Ross Arsenault, Nicole MacPherson, Ossama Nasrallah, Flavio Preti, Rebecca Johnson, Ifenna Mbaezue, Sydney Hull, and Andrew Jones. Back row: Alex Krimer, Cathie Ross, Tom Brophy, Blair Jones, Donnie Jeffrey, Jodi-Ann Francis, and Patricia Bradshaw.  Recipient not pictured: Garrett Chase. 

Kazi Rahman is a fourth year international student from Bangladesh, majoring in Accounting. He is currently serving as the elected President and CEO of the Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association (SMUSA), where his main focus is to serve the best interest of the students and oversee the day-to-day operation of the association. Prior to this role, he worked as the full-time supervisor for Aramark Canada Ltd. on campus where he supervised 20 part-time student staff. He also worked as a Residence Service Officer with the Residence Department and as a LEAP Peer Mentor, a position in which he helped 10 first year students transition successfully into university. Kazi served as the Secretary for Saint Mary’s University’s Bangladeshi Student Society with around 200 members, where they primarily assist incoming Bengali students in transitioning and adapt to the university and broader Canadian culture. On a personal level, he is actively involved in the university community and invests his time to advise students with their various concerns. Kazi endeavours to attend law school in the future and continue his involvement in the community.

Nicole MacPherson is in her final year of the Bachelor of Commerce program, with a major in Accounting. She currently works as a Project Coordinator at the Sobey School Business Development Centre, as well as a Teaching Assistant for Management and Accounting courses. Nicole is the Director of Finance for Enactus, a student-run society that aims to improve the community through entrepreneurship. Enactus runs multiple projects, some of which include working with incarcerated women to help them integrate into society after they have been released. She also works with Enactus to help Syrian newcomers create a local business selling jams, and provide at-risk youth in Halifax with entrepreneurship skills to help break the cycle of poverty. She is responsible for securing project funding and sponsorship to ensure all 10 projects are maintained. Nicole is also actively involved with Saint Mary’s Model United Nations society, and will be traveling to New York to represent the University at the Model UN National Conference in 2017.

Ossama Nasrallah is currently in his third year majoring in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. As an international student who moved here to study at The Language Centre, he is proud to now call Halifax home. He immediately engaged in the SMU community by working as a Pack Leader for Welcome Week in 2015 and became a member of Habitat for Humanity, Enactus, and Commerce societies. He also joined the SAGA team and worked with the International Centre to assist international students with their transition. After becoming engaged in the SMU community, he was the first second-year student in over a decade to be offered a VP position with SMUSA. As the Vice President of Student Affairs, he oversees over 60 on-campus societies and student-life initiatives, and sits on many university and national student-led committees representing the student body. Ossama was Master of Ceremonies at various university events and was the Captain of the Intramural Soccer Team. Within the community, Ossama volunteered to help Syrian newcomers by meeting with families at varsity games as well as in their homes. Additionally, he helped organize and build homes in Florida, USA to provide affordable, permanent housing for the economically disadvantaged families and will be traveling to South Carolina in 2017 to continue this work. He is excited to follow his entrepreneurial dreams in Halifax.

Ross Arsenault is completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree with majors in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Throughout his time at Saint Mary’s, Ross has developed effective teambuilding skills and has learned the importance of diverse collaboration when working to accomplish big-picture goals. Ross is currently the Co-President of Enactus Saint Mary’s, a student-leadership organization focused on creating social, economic, and environmental impacts through innovative projects and social enterprises. During his time with Enactus, Ross has managed both local and international initiatives, and represented Saint Mary’s on a national scale. This year, Ross Co-Founded the Enactus Saint Mary’s Pipeline, a social enterprise accelerator that challenges students and other demographics to see opportunities in the challenges that mean the most to them. Ross also co-founded Square Roots, a social enterprise that works with at-risk youth to deliver bi-weekly bundles of fresh produce to communities across Halifax. In addition to his work with Enactus, Ross is a student consultant through the Sobey School Business Development Centre, a graduate of the Saint Mary’s Co-operative Education Program, and an ambitious academic. Ross is excited to pursue graduate studies in the near future and continue his journey as a part of the Saint Mary’s community.

Andrew Jones is a fourth year international student in the Faculty of Arts pursuing an Honours Psychology degree and a Certificate in Human Resource Management.  Upon transitioning to Saint Mary’s University, Andrew became a Peer Mentor in the LEAP Arts community and supported 13 new students as they navigated the challenges of university life; he provides mentorship and facilitates organized activities designed for the students’ development. He is the Co-Founder and Vice President of On-Point Volunteer Association (OPVA) – a unique non-profit organization that provides year-round, group volunteer opportunities for over 130 members – to foster the overall personal growth of a diverse student population. OPVA supports over 30 other non-profit organizations in the community. Andrew currently works as a Psychology TA where he uses his prior teaching experience to facilitate workshops and tutorials for over 30 students. Additionally, he is a member of the Psychology, Enactus, and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) societies. Andrew is a humanitarian who endeavours to complete a Masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology that will integrate his interests in business, education, and psychology. As a mature student, he believes that true success is not defined by how quickly you achieve, but by how quickly you learn from all experiences because life is filled with both challenges and endless possibilities. 

Sydney Hull is a fourth year Honours Political Science student, whose current academic focus is on left-of-centre political movements in Canada and Britain. Sydney has been heavily involved in the Political Science Department’s Model United Nations (MUN) program, which provides Saint Mary’s University (SMU) students with the opportunity to debate pressing international issues at the National MUN conference in New York City. Since 2014, Sydney has volunteered with Shinerama, a Canada-wide organization that raises funds and awareness for Canadians living with Cystic Fibrosis. She has been involved directly with Shinerama at SMU, and has also been a part of the Shinerama’s National Leadership Team as a Campaign Advisor. As a Campaign Advisor, Sydney eagerly oversaw campaigns at four universities on the East Coast—including the campaign run by SMU.  This year, Sydney is most excited to partake in SMU’s Conflict Resolution Project through Peaceful Schools International. This meaningful SMU tradition delivers peace education workshops to local children in HRM as well as in Catholic, Protestant and Integrated Schools in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Garrett Chase, originally from Nova Scotia, is a second year Bachelor of Arts student enroled in the Psychology Honours degree. Garrett has accrued extensive leadership experience from coast to coast in Canada and internationally. A fourth degree Black Belt in karate, Garrett is involved in the Halifax community, where he introduces martial arts to students of all ages, both at his karate school and in various after-school programs. As a national-level referee, Garrett volunteers his time officiating karate events at many provincial, regional, and national tournaments. Additionally, he also serves on the Executive Board of Directors for his organization and provincial sport governing body. When he is not developing tomorrow’s leaders through youth karate programs, Garrett is also involved on campus through the Psychology and Medical societies. He volunteers with the QE2 Health Sciences Centre, IWK Children’s Hospital, and Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. He is planning for future studies in medicine and graduate-level research.

Flavio Preti is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology; he is also enroled in the Diploma of Forensic Science Program. Flavio balances a full course load, while maintaining a 4.11 CGPA, and being involved in numerous leadership positions on campus. Flavio is also the Co-President of both the Biology and Medical societies; he engages students by organizing events. Since January 2016, he has been hired by the SNAP Centre where he tutors students in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Biology. His appreciation for science education led him to become a Teaching Assistant for a Chemistry Lab course over the last term. Outside of Saint Mary’s, Flavio volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, both locally and internationally. Flavio plans to continue into graduate studies, with the ultimate goal of obtaining a PhD in Biology.

Ifenna Mbaezue is a fourth year Bachelor of Science student who is completing an Honours in Chemistry with a major in Biology. As a volunteer with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, Ifenna provides meal assistance to veterans and rehabilitation patients. In addition to his volunteer activities, Ifenna helps new science undergraduates become familiar with the requirements for a successful academic year through his role as a SMU Peer One Mentor. With years of active research in the fields of Organometallic and Computational Chemistry, Ifenna received multiple awards at the 2015 and 2016 Science Atlantic Chemistry Conferences and the 99th CSC Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition; Ifenna has also co-authored an article in a peer reviewed journal. Ifenna’s future interests lie in the discovery and synthesis of novel pharmaceutical compounds which will be compatible with healthy body cells and effective in combating resistant pathogens.

Rebecca Johnson is in her fifth year of study and will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in psychology. Rebecca is a dedicated and passionate student who values making a positive impact on others. During her first 4 years at Saint Mary’s she was a member of the Varsity Women’s hockey team and as a student athlete she has been named to the Dean’s list and as an Academic All-Canadian for three years. Throughout her undergraduate career she has worked as a Teaching Assistant in the psychology department and has completed 3 co-op terms as a Psychology Assistant with the IWK Community Mental Health and Addictions. With a passion for mental health education and advocacy, Rebecca started the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative Campus Team at Saint Mary’s is a member of the Counselling Centre’s Healthy Minds Team and the face of the Saint Mary’s #mydefinition mental health awareness campaign. Rebecca has also dedicated her time to working with the Study for the Centre for Sport and Health at Saint Mary’s and is currently developing a mental health awareness workshop for athletics coaches. Outside of the Saint Mary’s community she enjoys giving back to the community through the Ronald McDonald House and Eating Disorders Nova Scotia. In addition to her academic and community involvement, Rebecca is a member of Team Canada Women’s National Floorball Team and is the coach of Team Nova Scotia’s girls U19 Floorball Team this upcoming year. After graduation she hopes to continue her community involvement while pursuing a career in Clinical Psychology.


The Student Leadership Recognition Award, SLRA, formally recognizes students that possess, display, and apply leadership qualities and skills within the classroom, the Saint Mary’s University community and beyond. 

Semi-annually, the SLRA recognizes up-to three students from each Faculty (Arts, Graduate Studies, Science, and Sobey School of Business). The award can only be received once in an academic year.

Applications re-open in January 2017

 Enrolment Requirement 

Requirement Undergraduate Students Graduate Students
Enrolment Status Completed at least 15 credit hours Full time status

Non-Academic Requirements 

  • Must currently be volunteering OR must have accumulated over 60 hours of volunteer service in the past 12 months
  • Must have assisted or organized at least two (2) significant on-campus events in the past 12 months 

Demonstration of Leadership Qualities

Must be actively involved at Saint Mary's University and or the greater community. See examples below: 

  • An active member of a student-run society
  • A teaching assistant, a Residence Assistant or a LEAP Peer Mentor
  • An athlete
  • An active off-campus volunteer / leader