Eleven York University students were recently honoured with the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, which recognizes students’ leadership at the University and their contributions to the growth, development and vitality of the York community. Now in its ninth year, the award was created in honour of Robert J. Tiffin, who served as York University’s vice-president, students from 2005-12.
York University students, faculty, staff and alumni nominated students based on their engagement and leadership roles at York. An in-person ceremony was not possible this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, winners were notified in a congratulatory letter from Lucy Fromowitz, vice-provost, students.
“All candidates for this award are role models who exhibit leadership, dedication, integrity, enthusiasm and the demonstrated pursuit of excellence. On behalf of the entire York University community, thank you for your hard work and commitment to excellence,” Fromowitz wrote.
Tiffin also recognized the students’ achievements and their dedication to leadership amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Each year, students are encouraged to become proactively engaged with their educational experiences through their academic studies, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. You definitely embraced that challenge and, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic in the past two academic years, have not only enhanced the student experience of your fellow students, but also shaped the foundations for future students to become engaged within the York community,” he said. “I’m always impressed by the diversity of ways in which leadership occurs at York, and this was truly evident in the ways you contributed.”
Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award recipients this year:
Hatamnejad is pursing a bachelor of science in the Kinesiology and Health Science program in the Faculty of Health. He has held a variety of roles within the Kinesiology and Health Science Student Organization, including president. He helped to transition the program fully online amid the pandemic and created two new chapters: Discover You and the Alumni Network (YUKSAN). Hatamnejad has also worked as a leadership coach, course representative co-ordinator and orientation co-ordinator at both Calumet and Stong Colleges, and has served as a student senator and a president’s ambassador.
Cherry, an environmental studies student in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), is the president of the EUC’s Student Association (EUCSA). He was part of the Black Excellence YU Student Consultations, whose input contributed to the actions outlined in York’s Anti-Black Racism Framework. Cherry also served as a president’s ambassador, alumni ambassador and a as student representative on several Faculty committees while pursuing his studies.
Darboh is a doctoral student in clinical neuropsychology in the Faculty of Health and an MBA student at the Schulich School of Business. She has held many advocacy roles, including doctoral student representative, Black Students in Psychology (BSIP) graduate student representative, member of the Diversity Committee and peer mentor in the Autism Mentorship Program. She is also a student affiliate at the Canadian Psychological Association, the Ontario Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. Throughout her time at York University, Darboh has also created several new workshops, planned events and participated in student groups.
Humayra Rashid Safa
Safa, an international development studies student in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), fundraised with LA&PS’s Advancement team to help visible minority students experiencing financial difficulties. This effort allowed more than 200 students to take classes last summer. Safa has also held several roles on the International Development Students’ Association, including co-president, vice-president and treasurer. She also helped to co-ordinate the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals Hub and served as both a president’s ambassador and LA&PS dean’s ambassador.
Moke, a psychology student in the Faculty of Health, is dedicated to improving the lives of Black students at York University through his many leadership roles on campus. He is a co-founder and president of the BSIP and a member of the Department of Psychology Undergraduate Studies Committee. He sat on both Calumet and Stong colleges’ Student Success Councils and is a volunteer with York University’s Black Student Alliance. Moke also contributed to the development of York’s Anti-Black Racism Framework and is currently working on establishing a proprietary mentorship program for Black psychology students at York.
Kajo, an economics and French studies student at York University’s Glendon Campus, has been an active leader throughout her time at York. She has contributed by serving Glendon Campus as a school director for Peace by PEACE Glendon. She also held the positions of Chair of Glendon’s Student Caucus and co-founder and vice-president of the Glendon Economics and Business Club. In addition, Kajo was an RBC student ambassador for York University with RBC Wealth Management.
Mahafarid (Fara) Seddigh
Seddigh, a psychology and law and society student in the Faculty of Health, has held various roles with the Undergraduate Psychology Student Association, including being promoted to co-president after serving as vice-president of student success and as a peer tutoring co-ordinator. She founded LetsStopAIDS at York, the local chapter of a youth HIV charity. She is currently a Daughters of the Vote Delegate for Equal Voice and a member of the Richmond Hill Constituency Youth Council.
Mingyu (Matthew) Lim
Lim, a biology (biomedical science) student in the Faculty of Science, has held several leadership roles throughout his time at York University. He has served in many capacities, including as a president’s ambassador, science student ambassador, vice-president of communications and first-year representative on the Bethune College Council. He also contributed his time as a Residence Life don. Lim is currently working as a research assistant in the infant clinical psychology field.
Shafik, an international development studies and law and society student in LA&PS, has been an active volunteer and social justice advocate, completing more than 4,200 hours of community service. She is the director of ancestral services for Future Ancestors Services, an Indigenous- and Black-owned, youth-led organization that advances climate justice and equity with an anti-racism and ancestral accountability focus. Shafik has also been a Go Global student ambassador for York International, a student advocacy co-ordinator for the Student Academic Support Centre in the York Federation of Students, and a student ambassador and dean’s ambassador for LA&PS.
Sahota, a psychology and business student in the Faculty of Health, has been dedicated to helping others reach their full potential. Her success as a Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) leader led to faculty inviting her to co-present about PASS at York’s 2019 Teaching in Focus Conference. She has also been a leadership coach, and as project lead of the Financial Wellness Project, she leads a team of research assistants, script writers and video editors.
Joshi, a social anthropology student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, was York International’s first graduate international student engagement liaison and was invited to represent York University during the High Commission of Canada’s Women’s Day Celebration. As co-chair of the Social Anthropology Graduate Students’ Association, she was involved in creating a COVID-19 emergency fund for graduate students in her program early in the pandemic.
To learn more about the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, visit the Vice-Provost Students website.