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OISE's great graduates: 2013 Cressy Student Leadership Award recipients announced


By Eileen Thomas

Congratulations to six outstanding OISE graduates who are recipients of prestigious Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Awards: Cristina Guerrero of CTL, Manaal Hussain of the Bachelor of Education concurrent program (UTSC), Patricia Kmiec of HSSSJE, Jeffrey Myers of LHAE, William Noiles of the Bachelor of Education consecutive program, and Gary Pluim of CTL. These students make rich contributions to student life at OISE, and are leaders in other communities too. The University community will celebrate their efforts at a gala awards ceremony on April 29.

Cressy Award recipients are honoured each spring for outstanding extracurricular contributions to their college, faculty or school, to the University as a whole, or to the world. Established in 1994 by the University of Toronto Alumni Association, the awards are named after Gordon Cressy, former U of T vice-president of development and university relations who was known for his commitment to higher education and leadership in fundraising and community service.

Christina Guerrero is graduating with a PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. As a busy student who balances a hectic schedule of research, activism and academic studies at OISE, Cristina promoted student involvement in community based activities while Chair External of CUPE Local 3907, and helped obtain increased benefits while serving on the Local’s Bargaining Committee. She also co-chaired the Dean’s Graduate Student Research Conference, increasing student participation through introducing a new conference track and mass promotion that led to a record number of presentations in 2012.

Manaal Hussain of UTSC is graduating with a B.Ed from the Concurrent Teacher Education Program. A volunteer for the UTSC Muslim Student Association, Manaal led the Academic Affairs Committee, chairing meetings, setting agenda, assessing projects and delegating tasks and acting as a mentor. She also served as Vice-President of Operations in the CTEP Student Association, working tirelessly on behalf of her colleagues. In addition, she has been actively engaged in community volunteering as a teacher’s assistant tutoring children in math skills. “Her strong ties to her community, her ability to identify and connect with others, her sense of civic duty, and her capacity for leadership are rare for a young woman her age, and make her an asset to her community and an ideal candidate for a Gordon Cressy Award,” says fellow student Azzam Abu-Rayash.

Patricia Kmiec is graduating with a PhD in History and Philosophy of education from the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education. From her first year, she served the interests of her History and Philosophy student colleagues to ensure their voices were heard. Through her involvement with department student groups and committees, as well as volunteering for the annual Dean’s Graduate Student Research Conference, she helped connect the program’s students to the broader student community, both at OISE and the University of Toronto.

Jeffrey Myers is graduating with a PhD in Adult Education and Community Development. As a three-term President of OISE’s Graduate Students’ Association, Jeff has made many important contributions to the quality of student life at OISE, encouraging students, building community and mobilizing people with graciousness and humility. He is a tireless advocate for accessibility, and has participated widely in multiple initiatives, events and activities.

William Noiles is graduating with a B.Ed in Senior/Intermediate biology and general science. As President of the Student Teachers’ Union, he ably supported his colleagues in their own leadership roles, creating systems to streamline the workings of the 13 members of the STU executive, and was very active in mobilizing his fellow teacher candidates to work to repeal government legislation that would limit employment opportunities for teacher candidates in schools. “William is respected among his peers and the faculty at OISE for his exceptional ability to work with others. He is an exceptional representative of prestigious award,” said Jill Goodreau, William’s faculty advisor.

Gary Pluim is graduating with a PhD in Comparative, International and Development Education. Gary has contributed greatly to the quality of student life at the University of Toronto by encouraging his student colleagues’ involvement in community events and activities. As a core team member of the Comparative International and Development Education Student Association, Gary was instrumental in facilitating the effectiveness of the Association.