2021 Award Winners
The following individuals are the winners of the CCSL Outstanding Contribution Award for 2021.
Students: Fiona Harrison-Roberts, Alain Ndakengurutse, Matthew Padvaiskas, Wanda Stamford, Alexander Stojda
Staff: Sophie Mailloux, Silvana Mendicino
Fiona was the Vice-President of Finance in the Journalism Student Association from 2018-2020. She contributed to hosting extracurricular workshops for journalism students to learn beyond their courses and gave students a chance to network through social gatherings. Since 2017, she has co-hosted the Moonstruck movie critique radio-show at CJLO. In 2019, she became the editor for CJLO’s online magazine as well. In 2019, ASFA created their Loyola Committee, for which Fiona became co-chair during its first mandate. She designed, organized and executed campus-wide events such as QuadFest, FroshBite and Academic Day. The Loyola Committee was the main source of centralized student life activities on the campus that year.
In the 2020-2021 academic year, though on-campus activities are restricted, Fiona has made it a point to continue fostering student life initiatives for the Loyola community. She has taken it upon herself to be a mentor to this mandate’s ASFA Loyola Committee. This goes well beyond her past co-chair mandate and she has become vital in the success of ASFA events, such as the Loyola Games (Fall orientation), Loyola Zone: Virtual Arcade (Winter orientation) and two Academic Weeks.
Fiona also sits on the CSU’s Loyola Committee. She has become a bridge between the CSU and the ASFA respective Loyola Committees. Thanks to her initiative, both groups are joining forces on multiple events this semester. These include: A discussion on Navigating Implicit Biases at the University Level in honour of Black History Month, an Academic Week and a Career Fair focusing on the fields of study at the Loyola Campus.
Beyond the countless events Fiona has helped organize, she also advocates for change at the academic level in the university. She sits on Senate, through which she has helped ensure that the transition to online schooling takes into account students’ needs and concerns. Her innate devotion to students’ well-being drives her to fight for student interests at the university.
Alain reached out to Alumni Relations, early in the pandemic, with a proposal to host a Black Students Career Development Event at Concordia, after learning that there had never been such an event. He was instrumental in hosting two very successful events. The first one in September 2020 saw 119 members of the Concordia community in attendance. At that event, 71 students who had never engaged with Alumni Relations before, attended in order to learn about their futures and hear from university partners. The follow-up event held in late January was even more impressive, with 211 people registered. Students, alumni and professionals participated actively in the networking platform over the course of the day, asking questions, posting on social media and engaging with the content as it was delivered. Over the course of creating these two Black Student Career Development Events, Alain displayed his dedication, work ethic and generosity of spirit. Above all, his desire to improve the student experience for black students and build a community of engaged black students has been admirable to witness.
In addition to his work increasing engagement of black students on campus, Alain has been active in his faculty association, CASA-JMSB, as a long-time volunteer and independent director. In this role Alain worked on the creation of the Diversity Committee on the CASA Board of Directors. He provided feedback on how the Board of Directors could improve policies to be more inclusive to students at JMSB with diverse backgrounds. Alain presented the motion to install the Diversity Committee to the Board, which resulted in a majority pass.
Alain has shown outstanding levels of leadership, communication, team orientation, and dedication to improving student life.
Matthew has taken an active role in the student life of his program through his involvement as Vice-President of Marketing for the 2019 IISE Canadian Student Conference, held at Concordia. This event welcomed hundreds of students and members of industry from across the country to our campus, promoting the university as well as helping participants create networks to help them in their future careers. The conference closed as one of the most successful in recent history. The following year, Matthew took on the role of Vice-President of Internal Affairs for the IISE, Concordia Student Branch, where he played a key role in the organization of the first ever IISE Industry Week, another important event that helped connect students to industry.
Additionally, Matthew has also been a key member of the Concordia Engineering Games Delegation, as Vice-President of Finance for 2019-2020, and currently as Vice-President of Internal Affairs for 2020-2021. During this time, he worked alongside the executive team in promoting student life and involvement on campus across all engineering disciplines, as well as encouraging students to participate as delegates in the annual competition. The delegation placed 2nd overall in 2020, along with numerous other accolades, including 1st place for participation and 1st place for spirit.
In 2020, Matthew was a member of the organizing committee for the Québec Engineering Competition, an annual event welcoming over 250 undergraduate engineering students from across the province. As director of the Re-Engineering competition, Matthew was responsible for designing a challenge where participants are tasked to make an existing product better at answering new needs.
This year, with the challenges of the pandemic, Matthew volunteered in the first online frosh, where he actively led his team and others to help connect first-year students to the community at Concordia. He helped in creating, organizing, and sharing weekly events such as meet and greets, hangouts and info sessions throughout the fall semester, encouraging participation from all students online. Matthew has recently been elected Co-President of The Engineering Games of Concordia.
Matthew is kind, patient, and passionate about ensuring that students have ample opportunity to get involved on campus or virtually.
Wanda worked with UNICEF as co-president, where she led a team of students helping to organize events and raise money. She also worked for the Fine Arts Reading Room interviewing artists in Montreal to portray how they use their environment of their artwork to change the experience of their audience. Wanda built a website to help the artists express their views and artwork. Wanda has worked diligently at the LIVE Volunteer Research Centre, where she gives her time to connect students with volunteer experiences, by evaluating in detail their interest and finding the best place for them, so that they can gain valuable experience by helping their community.
Most recently Wanda joined the project Concordia Precious Plastic Project or CP3, with the mission to reduce plastic waste on campus and repurpose the waste into new alternative products. Since Wanda joined the CP3 team it has grown from two engineering students to over thirty students from various faculties, all working together to bring awareness and fight the plastic crisis through social media platforms. Today, Wanda leads a large group of volunteer students from different disciplines to work together to achieve a common goal. Her passion and knowledge of the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals has been shown throughout this project and she continues to share this knowledge to new CP3 members, through a skill-share mythology approach. Her contribution has truly elevated the potential of the project, engaging the passion of students from many disciplines to lend their talents in designing a workshop space for the project, and creating a social media campaign and website.
Wanda has made an incredible impact on the Concordia community through her involvement in extracurricular activities, her leadership, her volunteer experience and her passion for bringing projects to reality.
Alex was first elected to ECA in 2017, as VP Marketing, where he completed an overhaul of the ECA website into what it is today. He also fostered engagement between all student societies and the general student population by communicating and promoting events. In 2018, he occupied the role of VP Internal where he would become the main internal communication between the ECA and its student societies. In this role, he created a Wiki to help societies find and share information about the operations of their groups under the ECA. In 2019-2020 Alex served as ECA President where he not only spearheaded the best ECA year in memory, but also led an effective team of executives to ensure that student life within ENCS was at an all-time high. As President, he was also the lead in organizing a meeting with Gina Cody to discuss issues facing student groups in the faculty, and the subsequent initiatives taken thereafter.
In addition, Alex served as the President of the organizing committee of the Compétition Québécoise d'Ingénierie (CQI), one of the largest and most prestigious inter-university events. The 2020 edition was held in January at Concordia, where Alex, with his Co-President and organizing team, executed the first Concordia-hosted CREIQ event in 8 years. At the inter-university level Alex currently works as the Information Technology Commissioner of the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students, bringing Concordian exposure nationwide.
In 2019 he became a sitting Senator within the Concordia Senate as an undergraduate representative, where he is an active participant in representing student interests and issues. In 2020, he became a member of the Dean Search Committee for GCS and he is also currently a councillor to the Concordia Student Union (CSU). Alex dedicates himself to serving those around him and building a sense of community wherever he goes.
Sophie has demonstrated her willingness to go the extra mile for students through her hands-on involvement in a number of programs and events aimed at improving the student experience at Concordia. One such project is the Navigator Program, which Sophie has implemented since 2016 and continues to actively coordinate and promote. The goal of the program is to pair students with a volunteer Concordia staff or faculty member in order to help the student successfully integrate into university life. It has resulted in a network of nearly 60 Concordia staff members from across the university, all of whom are genuinely committed to the welfare and success of the students they mentor.
Sophie encouraged the entire Student Services sector in the last year with the creation of C3, Concordia Community Challenge, a wellness and teambuilding challenge where staff teamed up out of office hours into small groups, got to know each other and the wider Concordia community, and fostered Concordia pride. This year, together with colleagues from the Student Success Centre and Dean of Students Office, Sophie coordinated the Student Service Station, a virtual drop-in including many student service and academic advising providers. The Student Service Station allows students to get quick answers to their questions and to chat in breakout rooms to university staff, breaking the isolation of the pandemic. Another of Sophie’s initiatives is the Brown Bag Lunch series, where Student Services teams host an information session on their services and get to know other services better.
Sophie’s generous spirit has shone in her involvement in the annual Centraide Campaign, as well as the Concordia Shuffle. Going above and beyond her role to ensure Concordia’s students and staff experience the best that the university has to offer has become one of Sophie’s defining traits.
Silvana’s sincere commitment to student success and well-being and her willingness to go above and beyond what is required from her is evident within the department of Accountancy and within the Concordia Community more broadly. She is very committed to supporting students, being the first point of contact for students when they come to the department. On top of handling students’ inquiries, she plays a key role at providing guidance to undergraduate and graduate students. They all appreciate her kindness and professionalism. Silvana has been committed to continuously provide support to our students in the difficult circumstances of the pandemic and remote working.
Silvana created an exceptional initiative: the “Art exhibitions in the department of Accountancy” that has brought together two Concordia communities which, without her, would have never had the opportunity to get acquainted: the department of Art Education and the department of Accountancy at JMSB. She launched a project with the idea of putting works of art on the white empty walls of the department corridors. Her initiative has enabled three student artists (graduate students in Art Education) to organize solo exhibitions. For each exhibition, she organized a vernissage to enable students, staff and faculty from the Accountancy department and from other JMSB departments to meet with the artist. Colleagues and students from the Art Education department were also present. All this was pure volunteer work and has created a forum of interaction between two departments and Concordia communities that would otherwise have remained foreign.
Thanks to her organization and interpersonal skills, and her willingness to help students and the Concordia community at large, Silvana is contributing to the University in an outstanding manner.