Campus Life

Student Leadership Recognition Award

Recipients Spring 2018 pictured seated (left to right): Molly LeBlanc, , Yajie Cao, James Gavin, Sk. Mahamudur Rahman Shovon, Nishka Rajesh, Bijoy Sarker (link to bottom

Back row: Adam Sarty, Lori Francis, Robert Summerby-Murray, Denis Amirault, Tom Brophy, Donnie Jeffrey, Malcolm Bulter, Margaret MacDonald, Patricia Bradshaw



What is the Student Leadership Recogntion Award?

Each Fall and Winter, Career Services and SMUSA organize the Student Leadership Recognition Award (SLRA) ceremony. The award formally recognizes students that possess, display, and apply leadership qualities and skills within the Saint Mary’s University community and beyond. The SLRA was initiated in 2012 and, is awarded to a maximum of three students from each Faculty (Arts, Science, Sobey School of Business, and Graduate Studies).

Why Apply? 

  • Get recognized for your volunteering and leadership skills
  • Be a role model to your peers and encourage them to get involved
  • Add it to your CCR.
  • Looks good on your resume under the significant achievements or under the awards and achievements section.

Available Awards

The SLRA is very competitive.  A maximum of three students are selected each academic semester from each of the four faculties with a total 12 students.

  • Faculty of Arts (including students that are enrolled in the Department of Environment Studies)
  • The Sobey School of Business
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

How to Apply:

Student Leadership Recognition Form Application

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



Student Leadership Recognition Award Spring 2018 Recipients:

Sk. Mahamudur Rahman Shovon is a third-year Finance and Political Science student. The two time Dean’s List and Presidential Scholarship recipient represents true Santamarian values beyond his academics, taking on all the leadership and professional development opportunities presented. As the President of the Speak Up society, he had the visionary goal of making Speak Up more than a fun society through founding campaigns such as De-Stress Week, the International Student Issues poster campaign and by helping host the first International Student Mental Health round-table at SMU. Shovon is also a part of the SMUSA Street Team, Enactus Communications team and Habitat for Humanity society, traveling to Florida to build homes for veterans. As an Engagement Facilitator for Career Services, he built strategic partnerships with organizations in the community and has helped many students pursue their passion by connecting them with relevant volunteer work. After graduation, Shovon hopes to apply his leadership skills in the larger community and pursue a career in policy analysis.

James (Jim) Gavin is a fourth year Commerce student pursuing a major in Economics and a minor in History. In 2017 Jim founded the SMU Debate Society, as the Society’s President he led the society in weekly debates and mentored students in public speaking and argument. Jim has participated in and organized SMU’s involvement in Debating Tournaments across eastern Canada. He has also organized and debated in on campus events such as the SMU inter-Society Debate and the Women4Women Week Debate. Jim has also been an active member and later treasurer of the Saint Mary’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity since 2017. He’s worked locally with Habitat Nova Scotia as well as abroad with chapters in South Carolina and Florida to build affordable housing for low income families to break the cycle of poverty. Upon graduating in January 2018, Jim plans to continue arguing all the way to law school with a focus on trade law.
Please help me in recognizing James.

Yajie Cao is a third-year Asian Studies and History student in the Faculty of Arts. She is not only the Head Student of the BNUZ Arts Cohort, but can also be described as an ‘intercultural leader’. For Canada’s first arts-based 2+2 program, Yajie starts on a path bridging nations and cultures for over nine months, and she plays an instrumental role in transition work. Yajie has assumed a role of bringing together domestic and international students in the spirit of a win-win undertaking: supporting Chinese students in their transition to study here and giving Canadian students the chance of having an “international experience at home”. What is more, she has also been working to better understand the individual and collective needs of her peer group, and shared ideas with SMU and BNUZ faculty members. For the future, she wants to continue her study and share experience into more peer mentor work.

Nishka Rajesh is a fourth year honors student in psychology who is currently the President of the SMU Community Food Room. She came across the Food Room when she was working with the Financial Aid and Awards Centre. She transformed the Food Room into a student run society from September 2018 along with partnering with the Service Learning Certificate which allowed her and her executive team to recruit more volunteers and allowed them to keep the room open for a longer period of time. She also worked as an RA for two years where she facilitated a peer training presentation on racism and micro aggression. Nishka is also part of the Healthy Minds Team on campus whose goal is to reduce the stigma of mental illnesses on campus. In her free time, Nishka loves to learn Japanese and won the Atlantic Canada Japanese Speech Contest- Advanced level. Nishka aspires to continue with her psychology studies and aims to go to Graduate School along with increasing her Japanese skills by teaching English in Japan. 

Bijoy Sarker is a third-year student from Bangladesh, pursuing his Diploma in Engineering at Saint Mary’s University. He has excelled academically and has been heavily involved in extracurricular activities throughout his degree. His passion for engineering, in addition to helping his friends and colleagues, is evident by the many hours he has dedicated to being a Teaching Assistant, Laboratory Assistant, the President of SMU Engineering Society, and a tutor. He has managed to successfully lead a group of students, and put together countless events and initiatives for the Engineering Society even if it meant he had to give up a bit of sleep. He is planning to use his experiences as a leader as he continues his engineering journey at Dalhousie University. He is excited to become a mechanical engineer, and hopes to work in the field of robotics and automation.

Molly LeBlanc is a M.Sc. student, currently researching the effects of contaminated historical gold mine tailings on local aquatic food webs. She is currently an executive member of the newly formed B.E.A.R.S. (Biology & Environment Applied Science Research Society) student group, has participated in the 3-Minute Thesis competition, and volunteered at the yearly Science Friday’s event to run workshops promoting environmental science to junior high students. Off campus, Molly is the Chair of the Program Planning Committee for the Halifax Field Naturalists, where she oversees the planning of monthly environmental talks and guided field trips for the public. For the past two years, she has also worked with the environmental youth group H.E.A.T. (Helping the Earth by Acting Together) where she runs weekly events which promote leadership, community involvement & sustainability. Molly hopes to go on to complete her PhD, and work in the field of habitat restoration and conservation.