York students recognized for impactful leadership

Three students walking on York's Keele Campus

Eleven York University students were recently honoured with the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, which recognizes students whose leadership has contributed to the growth, development and vitality of the University. 

“We are impressed with the calibre of student leaders we have and the many ways they make contributions to the York community throughout their years with us,” says Yvette Munro, assistant vice-provost, student success. “Whether their leadership role supports students across the University, in their Faculty or with a community of students with whom they share common interests or backgrounds, their contributions make York a better place.” 

Now in its 12th year, the award was created in honour of Robert J. Tiffin, who served as York University’s vice-president, students, for nine years. University community members nominate individuals who demonstrate leadership and make valuable contributions to York. 

“It cannot be overstated that the recipients of this award have played a vital role in shaping the student experience at York,” says Tiffin. “Their active engagement in so many aspects of student life has served to unlock their own leadership potential and empower their fellow students to create more engagement opportunities for future students.” 

The winners were celebrated at an on-campus event on May 15. 

This year’s Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award recipients with Robert J. Tiffin at the awards ceremony. Top row, from left to right: Dulce Martinez, Ginelle Aziz, Luca Filippelli, Robert J. Tiffin, Meaghan Landry and Taline Apelian-Sutor. Bottom row, from left to right: Madison Hartley, Nicole Dimitrova and Clifton Grant. Not pictured: April Cole, Ali Bashar and Jennifer Bromberg.

This year’s Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award winners:

Taline Apelian-Sutor, bachelor of science (honours) in biology 
Apelian-Sutor has been actively engaged in York’s student life. As a member of the York University Alumni Board, she works with staff and alumni to enhance York’s reputation, encourage philanthropy and increase community engagement. As a President’s Ambassador, Student Alumni Ambassador and Science Student Ambassador, Apelian-Sutor has collaborated with others to promote the University and voice the student perspective. She has also contributed to York’s legacy project that helps address food insecurity on campus. 

Ginelle Aziz, master of applied science in civil engineering
Aziz has left her mark on the Lassonde community through her involvement with various organizations, including as the president of Engineering Without Borders and by helping thousands of students during Lassonde’s Social Orientation Weeks between 2017 and 2022. Aziz says her most impactful and empowering contribution at York was as a graduate representative for the National Day of Remembrance on Violence Against Women in 2022, where she discussed the importance of representation of BIPOC women in education and engineering. 

Ali Bashar, bachelor of science in biology
While at York, Bashar has raised more than $20,000 during his tenure as the event chair for York’s Canadian Cancer Society chapter. He also serves as the vice-president, finance, of the Bethune College Council and as an elected member of the Science Student Caucus. As a caucus member, Bashar advocated for positive change and student needs during the COVID-19 pandemic by co-authoring a letter to the dean’s office. Some of the considerations were incorporated into the Faculty of Science 2021-25 strategic plan. 

Jennifer Bromberg, bachelor of arts (honours) in psychology
Bromberg’s commitment to positively impacting the York community is apparent through her work as the creator and facilitator of the workshop Taking Care of Your Brain: Study Strategies that Work, which she now runs monthly. She has actively pursued leadership roles and has been active in Calumet and Stong colleges, working as a course representative for five courses to date. Bromberg is also an active member of the Faculty of Health Student Caucus and supports numerous college events. 

April Cole, bachelor of science (specialized honours) in kinesiology and health science
Throughout her degree, Cole has been giving back to the York community as an orientation leader, where she created a welcoming experience for incoming students throughout six Orientation Weeks. As the orientation director for Stong College Student Government (SCSG), she volunteered at student panels, chaired social committees, trained council members and facilitated Orientation Week, Frost Week and Mental Health Week. Cole’s role as an outreach director with SCSG also involved planning multiple charity events, including the Cross-College Food Drive to address food insecurity. 

Nicole Dimitrova, bachelor of arts (specialized honours) in psychology 
As a student leader, Dimitrova continuously advocates for accessibility across campus. She has served as the co-president of the Undergraduate Psychology Student Association (UPSA), where she ensured their services were accessible to all students. Dimitrova also played a pivotal role in the mentoring department of UPSA and has contributed to new student success initiatives. She is also the co-creator of Disability Allyship Training, which focuses on equipping peer leaders with skills and knowledge to better support those with disabilities.  

Luca Filippelli, bachelor of engineering (specialized honours) in computer engineering
Filippelli has been actively involved in academic committees and councils for the Lassonde School of Engineering and has served as the president of the Lassonde Engineering Society since May 2023. During his time as president, he has increased student engagement and leads a team of 50 volunteers in organizing events and initiatives. Filippelli also represents Lassonde’s student body on three Faculty committees, where he helps to amplify Lassonde’s student voice in decision-making processes. 

Clifton Grant, bachelor of arts (honours) in law and society
During his time at York, Grant has served on multiple committees, campus groups and organizations. He has been a peer mentor with the Atkinson Centre for Mature & Part-time Students and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS). He is also the president of the York University Mature Students Organization and a member of the LA&PS Black Inclusion & Advocacy Committee. Grant consistently advocates for students across campus and contributes to building a community where they can grow and succeed. 

Madison Hartley, bachelor of engineering in software engineering 
Hartley helped create safe and inclusive spaces for students through the foundation of York’s EngiQueers chapter, which helps to promote awareness, education and advocacy for the Lassonde School of Engineering’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Hartley has also made an impact as the chair of Lassonde’s Orientation Week and as a member of the Undergraduate Student Advisory Council, where she contributed to discussions about campus life, academics, and decolonizing, equity, diversity and inclusion issues on campus. 

Meaghan Landry, bachelor of arts (bilingual specialized honours) in psychology
Landry is a champion of 2SLGBTQIA+ student rights and a strong advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion at York. They served as the co-coordinator and treasurer of the Glendon Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer + Organization, where they worked to strengthen the queer community and advocated for the needs of queer students. Landry also raised awareness about food access on campus while serving as the vice-president, finance, and co-president of the Glendon Cooking Club. 

Dulce Martinez, bachelor of fine arts (honours) in music
Martinez has been an active leader in the Music Department, where she advocated for diversity in York’s curriculum by successfully petitioning to create the course MUSI 1056 – Private Lessons in Gospel Voice. She has also made many contributions to the York community while serving on the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee, the Chair’s Leadership Council and the Creative Arts Students Association. Through these roles, Martinez has advocated for improvements in student study spaces, communicated student concerns and drawn attention to accessibility challenges.

For more information about the award and how to nominate a student, visit the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award web page.