LA&PS students receive Aspiration Awards

Two dozen third-year Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) students were recognized for their academic improvement and commitment to excellence.

The Aspiration Award was created in 2017 to help increase graduation rates by focusing on third-year students who have demonstrated academic improvement between their first and second years of study and face financial need. The idea for the awards fund was sparked by student Board of Governors member Elisa Alloul. Alloul expressed to the board that while entrance awards were helpful, it was important to put more emphasis on supporting students who were in the middle of earning their degree. As a response, then-board Chair, Rick Waugh, kicked off the fundraising effort with a gift of $3,000. Since then, LA&PS has made appeals to the alumni community, who also responded with generosity. As a result, the Faculty has established a permanent Aspiration Awards endowment fund that supports multiple students every year.

The 2022-2023 recipients – each awarded $1,500 – represent the wide spectrum of disciplines at LA&PS, including students of philosophy, anthropology, human rights and equity studies, cognitive science, and law and society.

Among this year’s recipients there were a range of positive reactions, indicating the impact the Aspiration Award has on their lives and studies.

“This award is really motivating and will continue to push me until the end of my degree. It is nice to be acknowledged for putting in the hard work, and I’m grateful to have received this award,” said Omead Khodashenas, a honours law and society student.

Fourth-year student Navjot Kaur Nagra, also in law and society, said the Aspiration Award helped boost her academic confidence. “Receiving this certificate is a humbling experience, as it serves as a tangible reminder of the progress I have made during my years studying at York University.”

John Lee, in his third year of philosophy, sees the award as a long-term investment in his academic success. “The LA&PS Aspiration Award has provided the opportunity for me to pursue my academic goals without the burden of financial stress,” he said. “Many people, including myself, view education as an investment into our future with the benefits revealed only after we graduate. However, this award has shown that there are benefits along your academic journey as well.”

“The award recognizes my work ethic which makes me more passionate about my field and the program I am in,” said Lindsay LeBlanc, a third-year majoring in anthropology and advocacy and minoring in public engagement training.

Religious studies student, Farhat S. Malik, credits the award with helping to relieve some of the financial stress he was experiencing. “I am thankful from the depth of my heart for the Faculty, LA&PS. This award has given me the utmost support to save my sinking ship in the financial ocean. Now I am worry-free, and I can entirely focus on my studies.”

Recipients must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents and/or protected persons and/or Ontario residents who demonstrate financial need. To be considered, students must complete a Student Financial Profile. The Faculty will confirm each student’s GPA increase to be deemed eligible for the award. The Aspiration Award will be available during the student’s third year, and is renewable for the student’s fourth year if a similar average is maintained between their second and third year. More information on the award, and how to apply, can be found here.

Here is the full list of this year’s award recipients and the degrees they’re working towards:

  • Abdul Muqeet Ansari, BA (Specialized Honours) in cognitive science
  • Vanessa Crystal Bajnauth, BA (Honours) in law and society
  • Jason Carneiro, BA, undecided major
  • Shinelle Destiny Sincere Grant, BHRM, human resources management
  • Orien King Qin Huang, BCom (Specialized Honours) in commerce (management)
  • Sarah Nael Humidan, BCom (Specialized Honours) in commerce (accounting)
  • Charos Khusheva, BA (Honours) in human rights and equity studies
  • Matthew Mei, BCom (Specialized Honours) in commerce (management)
  • Fatima Mirza, BA, interdisciplinary social science
  • Aman Hussein Mohammed, BA (Honours) in political science
  • Sarah Noor, BHRM, human resources management
  • Huda Hashi Nur, BA (Honours) double major in international development studies and English
  • Richard Mai-Dinh Huy Pham, BA (Specialized Honours) in English
  • Natalie Christine Royer, BA (Specialized Honours) in speech and language sciences
  • Sebastian John Cordeiro Sanginesi, BA, humanities
  • Abdullah Syed, BA (Specialized Honours) in information technology
  • Hajira Taimoor, BA (Honours) in business and society (global economy stream, social economy stream)
  • Tianchai Viboonmethakorn, BCom (Specialized Honours) in information technology (business systems analysis)
  • Justin Michael Walcott, BA, undecided major