Seventh Annual Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Awards recognizes student contributions to York University

York University Student Awards – Certificate of Recognition. June 2019

Ten students were honoured with the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award. The awards were presented at a recent reception held to recognize their leadership roles at York University. Each of the students has contributed to the growth, development and vitality of the York University community through various endeavours undertaken during their studies.

The Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award was created in 2012 in honour of Robert Tiffin, who served as York University’s Vice-President, Students from 2005 to 2012.

Student recipients of the Robert Tiffin Student Leadership Awards. Pictured from left are Shir Grunebaum, Alexia Brown, Lauren Dick, Iris Yusupov, Maddisyn Fisher, Vice Provost Students Lucy Fromowitz, Robert Tiffin, Tiffany Joseph, Althea Parala, Nathaniel Penhearow, Abdeali Hatim Saherwala. (Missing from the photograph is Shalyn Isaacs.)

Students were nominated by members of the University community (students, faculty, staff and alumni) for the award on the basis of their engagement and leadership roles at York. At the reception, students were addressed by Vice-Provost, Students Lucy Fromowitz and Robert Tiffin. Both congratulated the students and thanked them for their contributions to the University.

“I really want to acknowledge and thank you. I congratulate you on what you have achieved, but I thank you because you have fundamentally changed this university and made it a better and more humane place and space, for all the other students who you worked with, and who you supported and who you helped,” said Fromowitz, at the beginning of the reception.

Robert Tiffin noted he was honoured to have his name associated with these award recipients. “You have enhanced the experience of your fellow students and the broader York community with your leadership and the diversity of your contribution,” he said. “You embody the principles of a York education: mobilizing new ways of thinking, preparing engaged global citizens and building stronger communities.”

This year’s recipients of Robert Tiffin Student Leadership Awards are:

Maddisyn Fisher, a theatre student in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, is president of the Winters College Council and Orientation Chair. Fisher advocates for student mental health support and coordinated the first college referendum vote in over a decade.

Abdeali Hatim Saherwala, a student focusing on urban and regional environments in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, has served on various equity committees at York University and works as an Indigenous law researcher, writer and editor at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Lauren Dick, a professional writing student in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Dick has supported a team of bloggers on the #YUBlog, amplified the voice of many students and student groups through her work, and created an experiential education opportunity for undergraduate students in the Writing Department.

Alexia Brown, a student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies who is working towards a master’s degree in political science, was recognized for her focus on creating and fostering safer spaces, allowing for the execution of safer events during her role as president of the Glendon College Student Union.

Althea Parala, a psychology student in the Faculty of Health, built a sense of community and engagement among various groups of students by organizing activities and events. Parala also helped various streams of students in their transition to York University

Iris Yusupov, a student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies who is completing a PhD in psychology with a functional area in clinical psychology, has supported the success of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder through her role as a Campus Awareness Leader. Yusupov also created workshops to improve student mental and physical health.

Nathaniel Penhearow, a nursing student in the Faculty of Health, supported the Second Entry Nursing Student Association by organizing academic and social events and creating experiential education opportunities. Penhearow advocated for nursing materials to be offered at a discounted price and greater mental health supports for his colleagues.

Shalyn Isaacs, a psychology student in the Faculty of Health, provided training for students to develop their leadership skills through various campus groups and initiatives.  Isaacs also worked to raise awareness of mental health initiatives and founded York University’s Women’s Mental Health Talks club, which works to enhance the mental health and leadership capacities of more than 500 women at York.

Shir Grunebaum, a kinesiology and health science student in the Faculty of Health, supported the development of Peer Tutor and Mentoring Programs. As Stong College’s Peer Health Educator, Grunebaum created a culture within Stong in which students are encouraged to advocate for their personal health and well being.

Tiffany Joseph, a space engineering student in the Lassonde School of Engineering, is committed to the leadership development of engineering students. She organized a pan-Canadian Engineering Society conference and has also mentored students as a Residence Don.

The students’ names will be displayed in the Vari Hall Rotunda in recognition of their contributions to the York University Community.