The York University Alumni Board has recognized four distinguished York students with 2021 Alumni Awards and Scholarships for their academic excellence and leadership.
The Alumni Awards and Scholarships started in 2009 and are adjudicated by the York University Alumni Board every year. Awards include the Silver Jubilee Scholarship, the Alumni Golden GRADitude Award and the Harry Arthurs Alumni Families Entrance Scholarship.
Alumni Silver Jubilee Scholarship
The Alumni Silver Jubilee Scholarship is awarded each year to a graduating student who has demonstrated excellence both in and out of the classroom. This year’s recipient, Meena Shanmuganathan (iBBA ’21), has been recognized for her significant contributions within the Tamil community and the considerable leadership she displayed during her time as an international bachelor of business administration (iBBA) student at the Schulich School of Business.
“Schulich placed a lot of emphasis on excelling outside of the classroom as well as inside,” she says. “There were so many opportunities in the last four years to participate in case competitions and research studies, and not just go to school and come home.”
In 2020, Shanmuganathan became vice-president of academics for the iBBA program and faced the challenge of making Schulich still feel like Schulich for students, despite the global pandemic. This involved planning the school’s annual flagship conference virtually for the first time, which saw 125 delegates and 100 alumni successfully come together in an online environment.
Outside of York, Shanmuganathan has been a member of the Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham since 2009, working to educate communities about Tamil culture in an effort to preserve it for future generations. Most recently, she helped spearhead the first month-long Tamil mental health awareness campaign, which included planning four successful events and securing over $3,000 in sponsorships.
In September, Shanmuganathan will attend the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law to pursue her interest in human rights.
“It is such a big honour to be recognized, not just within the Schulich community but the York community as well,” she says about her scholarship win.
Alumni Golden GRADitude Award
The Alumni Golden GRADitude Award recognizes graduating students who leave York University a better place thanks to the significant leadership they demonstrated during their time on campus. This year, there are two recipients of this award.
Communications studies graduate Anjelica Ramsewack (BA ’21) has been recognized for her vast contributions to the student community during her time at Glendon College.
Ramsewack held various senior positions within Glendon College Student Union, including vice-president of communications and vice-president of operations. In her role as vice-president of bilingual affairs, she became a key voice at York and Glendon by advocating for the importance of bilingual services and communications across the University to serve both francophone and anglophone students on campus.
In addition to her involvement in student governance, Ramsewack was co-secretary general of the Glendon Model United Nations, helping to develop and execute the first-ever bilingual conference for high-school students. Her experience in student government and clubs led her to establish the Glendon Communications Student Association, of which she was also president.
“Being a part of these organizations and being able to contribute significantly to the school and the students brought me joy during my time at Glendon,” she says. “I was able to grow as an individual and that is something I will take away with me.”
In September, Ramsewack will be returning to York to pursue a master of management at the Schulich School of Business, with the hopes of building a career in business management or marketing.
“The energy I spent during my time at Glendon was worth it,” she says, regarding her Alumni Golden GRADitude Award win, “and this puts into perspective for me that my work was valuable to the community.”
Moboluwajidide Joseph (BA ’21), a communications studies graduate and former president of the Glendon College Student Union, has been recognized for his noteworthy contributions to student life at Glendon College and York.
A vocal supporter of the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education on campus, Joseph assisted with campaigns and initiatives that aimed to tackle toxic masculinity on campus. He was also a student representative on the Sexual Violence and Policy Advisory Committee for two years.
As a national executive representative for the Canadian Federation of Students’ Black Caucus, Joseph has been a key voice in student-led and student-centred responses to the anti-Black racism framework development processes and lobbying efforts.
“My time at Glendon has been amazing and wondrous,” he says. “One of the reasons I wanted to go to university was to discover myself and figure out who I was, what my values and principles were and how these coincided with my goals and ambitions. Glendon created space for me to do that.”
This fall, Joseph looks forward to joining the University of Toronto as an MA candidate in geography.
“I hope to specifically focus on Black geographies and the experience of Black communities in Toronto when they come under surveillance and how that impacts their lived experiences,” he says. “I’ve always believed that research should have a practical impact on day-to-day life, and being given this opportunity to do this research at such an institution is beyond my wildest dreams and hopes.”
Harry Arthurs Alumni Families Entrance Scholarship
The Harry Arthurs Alumni Families Entrance Scholarship is awarded to an incoming undergraduate student who is the child, sibling or grandchild of a York University graduate and who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and accomplishments in community service, volunteerism or other endeavours.
Incoming Schulich School of Business student Ishi Madan has been awarded this year’s scholarship. She follows in her brother’s footsteps as she joins the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Schulich for the Fall 2021 semester.
Madan immigrated to Canada in 2017 and learned to adapt to a whole new educational system.
“Coming here to Canada in Grade 9 was really tough for me,” she shares. “I had to adjust to a lot of changes. The guidance counsellors and teachers at my school were very helpful and I think my drive comes from within myself. You can find support from unexpected corners.”
Outside of school, Madan has been a regular volunteer in her community. Harnessing her own experiences, she became a peer mentor for the World of Welcome program to help newly immigrated students acclimate and adapt to their new academic system. Most recently, Madan created an online community response group to combat the isolation created by the pandemic, while also co-ordinating food bank distributions. Having played piano for the past 14 years and earning her first class honours from the Royal Conservatory of Music, she regularly performs before live audiences and volunteers to teach piano to younger students in her community.
Madan looks forward to developing her critical thinking skills and exploring her personal and ethical values while studying at one of Canada’s best business schools this fall.