Lakehead Leader Recognition Program

Banner with confetti saying Congratulations Lakehead Leaders of 2020!

A Message from President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Moira McPherson

Photo of Dr. McPherson

On behalf of the Senior Administration of the University, it is a pleasure to acknowledge the impressive contributions that students have made at Lakehead and beyond.

In this time of uncertainty, it is important that we remember and recognize all of the amazing and positive contributions our students make year in and year out. Without you, Lakehead would not be the exceptional and unconventional place that it is - a community with a passion for learning and a dedication to supporting one another.

This year marks the fourth year of the Lakehead Leader Recognition Program, a program based on the principles of Lakehead University’s motto: Achievement Through Effort, and on our institution’s Mission, Vision and Strategic and Academic Plans.

We know and are proud of the fact that Lakehead Leaders, like you, are engaged contributors both on-campus and within your communities.  You demonstrate and celebrate diversity and inclusion, community engagement, innovation, and strive to achieve academic excellence. 

My sincere thank you to the award recipients and all students who were nominated for continuing to make Lakehead a very special place.




Ananta Bhatt, Master of Computer Science, Thunder Bay 

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  • Ananta strives to take technological education beyond the books and classrooms.  She is the organizer of the Google Developers Group (GDG) in Thunder Bay, promoting and coordinating free seminars led by experts through which students are encouraged and equipped to pursue careers in technology; she was also selected to attend a seminar at Google headquarters.  

  • She is an inspiration to her peers as an ambassador for Google’s Women Techmakers, a collaborative platform where young women find support to explore their potential in the technology industry. 

  • Not only does she maintain an excellent academic record, but continually makes an effort to work collaboratively with her peers, community members, and faculty when she organizes events.  She is admired for her commitment to growing gender equality, diversity, and inclusivity in computer science occupations.

 Lydia Johnson, Biology, Thunder Bay

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  • Lydia has always been passionate about the environment and sustainability. After 3 years of pursuing an Environmental Science degree, she started a club in order to share her knowledge and determination with other Lakehead students and the community. 

  • Lydia's involvement in the Lakehead Parks Canada club is another demonstration of her contribution to furthering sustainability efforts at Lakehead and the broader community.  Here, she made efforts to establish environmental sustainability and conservation in core mandates and values of the club . 

  • In her leadership for this cause, she has participated in the community through EcoSuperior Bike Valet at Wake the Giant, EcoSuperior E-Waste Collection, Lakehead Parks Club Thrift Shop, Parks Canada Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (which cleaned Lake Superior shoreline of litter and microplastics) and the Lakehead Parks Club Movie Night: Anthropocene to raise awareness of human influence on natural systems.



Erin Chochla, Law, Thunder Bay

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  • Erin is an exceptional student, admired teaching assistant, and an excellent research assistant in Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin faculty of law. She is lauded by faculty for her performance in the classroom and her high degree of integrity and respect for others.  

  • Erin has also been the managing editor of the Lakehead Law Journal and is president of the Women in Law club.

  • She has worked with marginalized people in a number of different contexts throughout her pre-law law school careers and has already focused her work and research on improving the situations of the most vulnerable in society. Erin has the capacity and compassion to use her skills, education, and law degree to pursue justice for those who are largely marginalized. 

Emma Harland, Nursing, Thunder Bay

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  • Emma is a model nursing student who manages to balance the pursuit of both practical and theoretical knowledge earning her a spot on the Lakehead's President's list for the 2018-19 school year. Emma’s linguistic skills in French further demonstrate her exceptional ability to succeed in any field with tenacity and integrity. As a complement to her stellar interpersonal skills and attentive care to patients in her clinical studies, Emma aims to spend her summer break as a PSW while prepping for her Medical School entrance exam.

  • As a support to fellow students, Emma is the Vice president and secretary of Lakehead University Community Outreach (LUCO) which effectively connects students to volunteer opportunities in and around Thunder Bay through maintaining a monthly email list and planned events. 

  • Emma has been a CanSkate and CanPower coach since 2018, imparting her skating skills to kids.  She spent the past summer as a camp counsellor, planning and implementing a summer literacy camp in a remote community. 


Lubna Khanji, Social Work, Orillia

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  • Lubna demonstrates leadership through her consistent support of other international students in their journey to adjust and thrive in Orillia. She is dedicated to easing student life on campus and making sure international students, immigrants and refugees feel connected with their community away from their home country. She supports these student groups through her role with the Lakehead University Multicultural Association where she is currently acting as president, and by establishing informal mentoring relationships.

  • Lubna works as an International Student Ambassador where her work promotes multiculturalism and supports diversity on campus. She facilitates cultural gatherings including events that celebrate Holi, Diwali, Chinese New Year and Mexican Independence day. She also supports Cultural Days on campus, multicultural potlucks and cultural movie nights that create awareness and appreciation for different cultures and traditions. 

  • Additionally, in her steadfast aim to promote equality and equity, Lubna participates in the #ITSTARTS campaign and various other community-based meetings and seminars. She was recently elected to the board of LUSU, where she is recognized and appreciated for her excellent communication skills and efforts to foster inclusive environments.

Prabhjot Singh Ahuja, Mechanical Engineering, Thunder Bay

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  • Prabhjot has been representing the student body at Lakehead for the past two years as one of LUSU’s Board members and was recently elected as the Vice President of Operations and Finance of LUSU. He has helped draft policies for students and has been vocal about the social concerns of diverse groups.  

  • Prabhjot is a trusted leader, especially around multicultural concerns where he has shown great initiative to organize community members around cultural awareness and has advocated for community members facing discrimination.  He was once the Assistant Coordinator of Multicultural Centre at the university and was part of the team responsible for bringing the Sikh Temple (Gurudwara) to Thunder Bay in 2018, connecting this institution to other local non-profits like Shelter House.  Multiple times, he has organized “Turban Up” as a cultural education event for the university and Thunder Bay communities.

  •  His impeccable leadership skill and passionate support of multiculturalism are highlighted by his honesty, caring nature, and strong work ethic. 

 Rudy Grewal, Interdisciplinary Studies, Orillia

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  • Rudy has been a beacon of light for diversity and inclusion on campus. Through his involvement with the Office of Human Rights and Equity (OHRE), Rudy promoted awareness of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to the Orillia campus for the first time. His time spent hosting a resource table in the Learning Commons educated and informed students to become allies in taking a stand against racism and discrimination. 

  • Throughout this school year, Rudy sat as co-chair of the #ITSTARTS Campaign at Lakehead where he led others in celebrating diversity, inclusion and acceptance across our communities. Rudy attended Ambassador training, promoted events through his networks on campus, participated in diversity-themed events, connected with OHRE to explore opportunities to represent their office throughout the campaign, and hosted an OHRE table as part of the Multicultural Campus Tour. 

  • Within his wider community in the Barrie area, Rudy has regularly volunteered with and donated to local shelters. Along with his family, Rudy was a leader in assisting with installing a new kitchen at the Barrier Women and Children's Shelter where he donated his speciality carpentry skills, along with his time.

 Temitope Ojo, PhD. in Forestry, Thunder Bay

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  • Temitope is a PhD student in Forestry, a phenomenal scholar who shares his academic experience with his colleagues, irrespective of their country or culture, in a compelling and unconventional way. He exudes a genuine passion for others and has devoted his time to offering academic support to Forestry Graduate students. He also shares his passions beyond the classroom and recently participated in the tree planting that was organized by EcoSuperior.

  • Given his exceptional academic work, he was recently recommended for a special graduate award. He has heartily embraced the concepts of ethical research and specifically grounded himself in local Indigenous methodologies as an integral part of his research. 

  • Despite the distance from his own social support systems, many feel that Temitope enriches the community with his supportive and empathetic presence especially toward those who might feel especially isolated or marginalized. 


 Anton Demetrakopoulos, Commerce, Thunder Bay

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  • Anton has been an invaluable asset to the Business program. As he currently owns and operates companies, he has inspired and informed fellow classmates as to the opportunities and realities of running a small business beyond the confines of their textbooks. His class presentations are extremely relevant, highlighting the value and practicalities of communication skills and the continual need to improve one’s business model.  He is candid about his experiences while also respectful in his responses to student questions. He even offers insight to faculty about the connections that can be made between the local business scene and the course material for engaging students.

  • Anton is also providing advice to and supporting other small business owners in the Thunder Bay community. Anton is applying his knowledge, acquired in the business program, to help other small business owners survive and thrive in a tough local market. 

  • Anton is attending a specialized Masters program in southern Ontario but still makes time to present in business classes at Lakehead has plans to return and teach at Lakehead’s School of Business while continuing to work on his entrepreneurial goals.

 Georgia (Gia) Spiropoulos, Master of Education, Orillia

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  • Gia is dedicated to the spheres of education and community care. Since beginning her Master of Education program, she has taken on a leadership role with the Women's Extramural Basketball program. In her willingness to serve others, Gia stepped up to fill the vacant coaching position as a player-coach, a significant time commitment requiring exquisite interpersonal and organizational skills. She actively supports her teammates in their academic endeavours beyond the court, showing interest in their research and encouraging their educational ambitions. 

  • Despite being competitive on the court, Gia always maintains her composure and professionalism and seeks out player input. Under her leadership, the team went undefeated this season with a 12-0 record winning 3 tournament championship banners. She worked collaboratively with her co-coach, teammates, referees and the Athletic Department to showcase her excellent communication skills and dedication to her team.

  • Gia is a genuine, caring and empathetic person. Admirably, she volunteers as a basketball coach with a girls team in Barrie where she inspires the future generation of athletes.

 Kelsey Boisimier, Sociology, Thunder Bay

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  • Kelsey Boismier is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in our community.  She is the Founder and Co-President of the Sociology Association of Lakehead University, working with faculty to develop a peer mentoring program.

  • Kelsey has invested enormous energy into the Norwest Community Health Centre by leading workshops, facilitating youth groups, creating community-based planning committees, and promoting community-building events to raise awareness about issues facing the LGBTQ2S+.  Recognized for her impact, she was designated a "Health Champion” by the health centre in 2019. 

  • Kelsey’s compassionate leadership is also visible in her volunteer roles with Thunder Bay Victim Services and Veteran's Affairs Canada, where she sits on the Outreach, Homelessness, and Wellness Committees.

 Kristal Loaiza, Applied Life Sciences, Thunder Bay

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  • Kristal is known as a persistent and positive leader whose resiliency, humour, and advice encourages others facing obstacles. She is creative in seeking solutions and admired for unconventional thinking, calm demeanour, and equitable mindset.

  • She has been highly involved in the Relay for Life event in Thunder Bay and helped coordinate a successful fundraising event for the Canadian Cancer Society. She also reaches out to the local community by serving as a volunteer at Shelter House. 

  • She volunteers at many Lakehead events including varsity basketball and soccer, community trash pickup, and other campus fundraisers. She is also a valued leader of the sorority at Lakehead (Alpha Pi Phi) & instrumental in the ongoing founding of another (Delta Phi Nu). Kristal gives additional time and energy to promoting events and boosting attendance for events at the Outpost campus pub.

 Leah Cadieux, Criminology, Orillia

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  • Leah is a Criminology student who has been a part of the Lakehead University Student Alumni Association (LUSAA) for the past three years. She’s held an executive position for the last two of those years and has been a significant mentor for new students joining the committee by emphasizing the importance of listening to the student body perspective. She shares key event management strategies with her team, for example encouraging student engagement and ensuring student safety. She has been recognized for coordinating LUSAA Socials out of her home to build a student community.

  • With her exceptional creative skills and knack for community-building activities,  Leah has been a lead contributor to the annual Orillia campus Festivus by initiating creative events, for example, a hot chocolate pong game. She is also recognized for her role in developing an engaging homecoming event in Orillia.

  • Leah is an excellent ambassador to the local community and has assisted in hosting the Chamber Business After 5 event on campus. She also collaborated with a team to organize a successful fundraiser event at the Orillia Terriers that supported the local food bank. She and her team hosted a Big Brothers Big Sisters event for children, connecting with this organization to try and match their needs and goals as they planned.  Prior to this, Leah had helped to collect hats and mitts on campus for the Orillia Youth Centre.

 Taylor Smith, Social Work, Orillia

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  • Taylor has been an active leader in supporting her fellow students through unconventional thinking and excellent collaboration skills. She is a Social Work student and a Director on the LUSAA board where she naturally inspires student participation in events. She has assisted in preparing and implementing creative aspects of many successful campus community events including Student Appreciation Day, Festivus, and various Athletics initiatives. Taylor spearheaded a Fall Lakehead-Georgian event where she developed and advertised a scavenger hunt, water pong, and a prize wheel, motivating students to ask questions and learn about opportunities and services available at Lakehead.

  • Taylor dedicates her time to Student Central, working in a team to resolve student inquiries and support students in their success. She has been recognized for her ability to quickly and appropriately connect students with department advisors and student services based on a comprehensive understanding of their needs.

  • Taylor’s sincere heart is strengthened by her eye for efficiency, and she is able to improvise with limited resources in the work she does. From creating a secure, temporary home for rescued kittens by using simple and accessible materials to leading LUSAA members for many hours to help cut, dip, label and bag 350 candy apples for Student Appreciation, Taylor is always looking for ways to give back to her community.



Courtney Strutt, Master of Education, Thunder Bay

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  • Courtney plays an active role in organizing climate change-related activism and awareness-raising events and campaigns in the community. Courtney's MEd thesis work is centered on how community activists can address the crisis of values behind climate change related to solidarity work between Indigenous people and settlers. 

  • As a graduate assistant, Courtney has also supported the curriculum development and implementation of the undergraduate Climate Change Pedagogy course. In addition to this, she is a current member of the Fossil Free Lakehead student group pushing for a divestment of endowment funds from fossil fuels where she leads students to engage with the Board of Governors.

  • She is also a member of EarthCare's Climate Adaptation Working Group and played a key role in prompting the Thunder Bay City Council to declare a climate emergency. She regularly attends solidarity events and has assisted in planning and facilitating workshops with local organizations on community climate action and the Green New Deal.

  • Courtney takes the time to talk to others within the Lakehead and wider communities about issues and personal/collective actions relating to climate change and sustainability. Courtney understands the urgency of many sustainability issues and devotes a large portion of her time to actively finding solutions.

Jacob Kearey-Moreland, Master of Education, Orillia 

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  • Jacob is a leader who creates and supports opportunities to assist and uplift others, especially those facing food insecurity. His work and support with Farm Club and its activities is an expression of how his drive leads to the development of innovative solutions to tackle complex problems. Through his work with the club he reinforces initiatives that dedicate farm land to the development of a research farm. Jacob both appreciates and utilizes the varying strengths of the students he works with and has been remarkable in connecting the student body in Orillia across diverse programs.

  • In his dedication to food security, Jacob recently wrote a piece for the Argus illustrating a collective food commons that sparked initiative toward creative and collective solutions in his readers. Furthermore, he has produced local organic CSA food boxes for a number of years and provides his community with an abundance of fresh food weekly. He has hosted numerous events and tours at his farm to advocate for food sustainability through community supported agriculture.


Rachel Portinga, PhD in Health Sciences, Thunder Bay 

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  • Rachel is a leader deeply invested in sustainability concepts and practices in the community, now pursuing a doctorate degree focused in this area. In an effort to influence others, Rachel has taught Environmental Science with a notable sustainability focus for the last five years. Not only does she lead by example through her daily choices, but in her previous role as Faculty Advisor to the Sustainability Club, she actively mentored other student leaders in recruitment, program development, and engaging with various administrative offices

  • Rachel has spent time volunteering with the Lakehead University’s Office of Sustainability.  She participated in the Depave event to help plant over 200 pollinating flowers and helped organize the Fossil Free Lakehead events and demonstrations, recognizing that the climate crisis requires urgent action from institutions. Furthermore, Rachel attends climate rallies in Thunder Bay and voices climate action concerns regarding people, ecosystems, food systems, infrastructure, and health now, and in the future to local politicians.

  • She also devotes her energy as the lead student coordinator of the Lake Superior Living Labs Network where she organizes events to connect people working on socially just sustainability projects in Thunder Bay, Duluth, and Sault Ste Marie. 

 Sanjana Sharma, Computer Science, Thunder Bay

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  • As a visible leader on campus with excellent communication skills, Sanjana sits on the current Board of Directors for LUSU.  She has played a primary role in establishing the Lakehead University Meal Exchange Chapter which aims to promote food produced on local farms and to advocate for equitable and sustainable communities through student-run initiatives for educating the community in and around Lakehead University. She even attended Meal Exchange's National Student Food Summit in her dedication to this cause.

  • Her peers acknowledge that Sanjana displays a selfless attitude, refreshing perspective, and solid vision alongside a vast knowledge of the issues surrounding food insecurity and sustainability.  She has inspired and empowered many others to propose the greater use of Lakehead University resources to accommodate those most in need for the well-being of the whole community.


 Shadiya Aidid, Master of Health Sciences, Thunder Bay

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  • As a student in Health Sciences, specializing in Sustainability, Shadiya is learning about climate justice concepts in order to slow the pace and reduce the negative impacts of climate change on health and on our social-ecological systems. With this focus, she is a leader in her student and local community. 

  • She is currently dedicating her time to researching how to make the environmental justice movement and climate change activism more accessible to marginalized communities who are disproportionately affected by climate change including making plans to integrate climate-focused initiatives into community-based work in Thunder Bay.

  • Shadiya was recently the Sustainability Coordinator at the LUSU Sustainability Initiative Centre. In her position, she engaged Lakehead students through the facilitation of interactive events, arts, and activism and helped equip students interested in climate change mitigation with relevant knowledge and skills. Remarkably, she has broadened the community's perspective on how dynamics of social justice, equity, and diversity intersect with sustainability.

  • Shadiya is an active member of Fossil Free Lakehead and has boosted their initiatives. She volunteers with the Office of Sustainability’s events and has been an active member of the Lakehead University Sustainability Stewardship Council and Sustainability Executive Advisory Committee for the past two years. She has represented LUSU in these spaces ensuring that the University's Sustainability Plan represents student voices.


 Shayla Auld, Natural Resource Management, Thunder Bay

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  • Shayla radiates a passion for promoting sustainability and has proven herself to be an effective leader both on campus and in the community. She has devoted her honours thesis to analyzing the awareness and behaviour of Lakehead University students regarding plastic usage.  She has been a leader in calling attention to the need for multi-streamed disposal bins, improved signage, greater awareness campaigns, social media engagement, and the prioritization of student-run sustainability groups at LU. 

  •  Working with the Ingenuity office, she has constructed a business plan to implement a Green Store Co-op on campus at an affordable price with profits to be distributed to community organizations like EcoSuperior, Roots to Harvest, and LUSU Sustainability Initiative.

  • An inspiration to the next generation, Shayla works part-time at the non-for-profit organization, Youth Fusion to reduce the school dropout rates of at-risk youth through weekly lectures and creating educational environmental design projects in a grade 7/8 classroom. Shayla is admired by faculty and peers for her ambition and independence, committed to using her education to achieve a more sustainable future for her community.

Lakehead Luminaries

Abigale Kent, Master of Health Science, Thunder Bay

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  • Abigale is receiving a Luminary Award under the categories of Innovation, Academic Excellence, Citizenship & Community Engagement and Sustainability

  • As a student leader, Abigale emphasizes sustainable practices and environmental conservation within her research, on-campus work, and community volunteer activities. Abigale has completed exceptional research at Lakehead including creating and testing a new type of filter to remove harmful nutrients from agricultural runoff which has wide implications for improving water quality within our communities and is an excellent example of sustainable research at Lakehead. Abbie is now the Research Coordinator for our interdisciplinary, community research project, HOPE, which is seeking to expand options for pregnant and postpartum women with depression and or anxiety in northwestern Ontario

  • For the past two years, Abigale has been employed by the Lakehead University Interdisciplinary Studies department to coordinate the Let’s Talk Science and EcoReach programs at the Orillia campus where she has led presentations and hands-on activities in classrooms and libraries on topics such as renewable energy, solar power, wind farming, wastewater management, microplastics, and much more. Her work through EcoReach has connected students to First Nations Communities For nearly a decade, Abigale has held a position on the board of directors for Kids for Turtles Environmental Education (KFT), a not- for- profit charitable and educational outreach organization. 

  • Given her knowledge of and concern for social determinants of health and issues of social justice, Abigale also leads our community as she volunteers with the Hospital Elder Life Program at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre and as an Animal Care Volunteer at Thunder Bay Regional Humane Society.

Jessica Dinner, Social Work, Orillia

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  • Jessica is receiving a Luminary award in the categories of Innovation and Citizenship & Community Engagement

  • Jessica demonstrates exceptional leadership skills through her efforts to create supportive and inclusive environments on and beyond campus. While remaining focused on her academic priorities, Jessica co-founded the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) club through the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU). WUSC is a global development organization that improves education, employment, and empowerment opportunities for youth, women, and refugees. Jessica actively recruited student members and attended the national conference on behalf of LUSU where she networked and obtained support and resources for the club. 

  • Jessica has utilized her HBSW placements for similar objectives. Her first placement with Simcoe Country’s Local Immigration Partnership involved assisting with their annual #ITSTARTS diversity awareness campaign where she participated in committee meetings with community stakeholders, facilitated campaign ambassador training, and created promotional materials for social media.

  • For her following HBSW placements, she successfully sourced out and secured opportunities with new community partners who were not previously Lakehead placement participants. She worked with the YMCA Immigrant Services of Simcoe Muskoka to ensure that eligible newcomers to Canada received appropriate English language training and settlement services

  • Jessica has managed to volunteer additional time in the community as a Crisis Responder with the Kids Help Phone and Crisis Textline and with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a Go Girls Facilitator and mentor.

Kayla Etreni, Women's Studies & Sociology, Thunder Bay

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  • Kayla is receiving a Luminary Award in the categories of Diversity & Inclusion and Citizenship & Community Engagement

  • Kayla has a passion for promoting inclusive environments.  She is a co-founder and president of the Sociology Association of Lakehead University, helping to provide a space where students can engage and facilitate activities that engender inclusion and equity. 

    • Kayla is also the Ecojustice liaison for the WGGSA (the Women's and Gender Studies Student Association) and has connected the group with local women's shelters and even rallied members to fundraise for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women’s causes.

    • On campus, Kayla has been a  volunteer for community engagement in the Student Success Centre, and eventually as a Student Ambassador, she designed and facilitated an EXCEL Leadership Workshop on Inclusive Leadership as a Student Ambassador.  On an athletic note, Kayla leads as the Assistant Captain of the Thunderwolves Women’s Hockey.

    • Kayla has shared her ambition for advancing informed perspectives on social issues in the local community as well.  She has volunteered with LUSU in Pride Central and the Gender Equity Centre and managed campaigns for a local political candidate. Kayla has inspired even younger generations as she spent her summer break time as a volunteer Camp Quality for children with cancer.

 Laura Deschamps, Kinesiology, Thunder Bay

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  • Laura is receiving a Luminary Award in the categories of Innovation and Academic Excellence

  • An excellent student, communicator, and volunteer teaching assistant for Exercise Physiology labs, Laura exemplifies active learning in her academic life marked by a strategic, conscientious and enthusiastic approach to her education. She is considered prepared and productive, but also comfortable and approachable by other students and faculty. The School of Kinesiology has benefited immensely from her leadership, vision, and initiative.

  • One example is her recent establishment of a peer mentoring program that provides social support and academic advice to newer students.

  • Consistent with her thoughtfulness toward others, she has focused her research projects on caregiving roles, including the work demands of firefighters and issues related to concussion risk and prevention. 

  • Laura volunteers her time to Special Olympics coaching, ALS fundraising, peer tutoring, the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre, Centre Francophone, Forum North Conference, and Norwest Community Health Centre.

 Lucas Chiarot, Criminology, Orillia

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Lucas is receiving a Luminary Award in the categories of Diversity & Inclusion, Citizenship & Community Engagement and Academic Excellence

  • Lucas is exemplary in his commitment and ability to fulfill academic, athletic, work-study, and student body representative responsibilities. Maintaining a great academic standing, Lucas will be receiving an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) All-Academic Award at the Athletic Banquet.  

  • Lucas has excelled in his role as treasurer for the Lakehead University Student Alumni Association (LUSAA) where he maximized a limited budget to effectively fund over a dozen student engagement events this year. He also maintains essential communication with External Relations as he regularly builds connections with local businesses. He is a visible mentor for newcomers to LUSAA and very sincerely shares knowledge and experience with fellow students, including how to combine education and recreation. He recently coordinated events with Athletics, Student Financial Aid, and LUSU to provide important information through quiz prizes, water pong, a prize wheel, and a drawing for a ticket to a Barrie Colts event, as well as a carnival event for Big Brother Big Sisters.

  • Lucas exemplifies leadership through his role as the Campus Recreation Team Lead where he plans and executes campus recreation opportunities that are coordinated, advertised, attended, refereed and accessible for all students. He is a superb role model and always willing to assist, even when that means dressing up as Wolfie or scrubbing yoga mats.

 Lyndon Swick, Biology and Chemistry, Thunder Bay

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  •  Lyndon is receiving a Luminary Award in the categories of Innovation, Academic Excellence and Diversity & Inclusion

  • Lyndon has been described as an unconventional and passionate thinker.  He noticed a resource gap for students desiring to pursue medical school and co-founded the Lakehead University Pre-Med Society and has bolstered participation as a co-president.   Through organizing events, fundraisers, and Northern Ontario School of Medicine gatherings, Lyndon has shown his willingness and desire to aid other students in their medical aspirations. 

  • Lyndon’s dedication to organic chemistry is obvious to his faculty in his research ambition and persistence.  He started an Organic Chemistry I & II tutoring program as another outlet for this passion. Lyndon also encourages high school students through his persistent involvement in the Aboriginal Mentorship Program (AMP).

  • Using his first aid skills as a leader, Lyndon regularly fulfills “on call” hours as part of the Lakehead University First Response Team to provide immediate medical care to persons on campus until EMS arrives.

 Nicole Costanzo, Applied Life Sciences, Thunder Bay

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  • Nicole is receiving a Luminary Award in the categories of Academic Excellence and Citizenship & Community Engagement

  • Nicole is the current third year representative for the Lakehead Association of Biology Students. She is an exceptional communicator with an enthusiasm that energizes her peers and motivates collaborative events such as a research symposium and a science formal.  She is also active in the Aboriginal Awareness Centre and helps provide open and safe spaces for students to study, socialize, or participate in cultural activities. Nicole started the Lakehead University Food Security Club in 2019 and continues addressing student food insecurity.

  • Nicole’s desire to succeed academically is as strong as her desire for others to succeed.  She has volunteered for Lakehead University Student Accessibility Services for over 2 years, taking and formatting notes and sharing academic resources with peers that have physical and mental impairments. She is also involved in the paediatrics department at the Lakehead Regional Health Sciences Centre encouraging young patients and their families and promoting accessibility for surrounding, rural communities.

  • Nicole spends time inspiring younger generations.  She commits energy to the Superior Science Code club to teach youth computer programming and has volunteered with the Thunder Bay Public Library for over 3 years including the “Readers are Leaders” weekly youth literacy skill program. She meets regularly with her parish youth group to collaborate on fundraising and volunteer initiatives with local organizations such as Our Kids Count and the Heart and Stroke Foundation

 Niloufar Sadroddini, Law, Thunder Bay

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  • Niloufar is receiving a Luminary Award in the categories of Diversity & Inclusion and Citizenship & Community Engagement

  • Niloufar is the first year Lakehead representative for Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), which advocates on various issues concerning refugee policy and law. She is the co-chair of Lakehead’s student refugee program which sponsored two students to move from refugee camps into Thunder Bay. 

  • Niloufar is the Coordinator of the LUSU Multi-Cultural Centre and a member of the Iranian Students Association. She has formed close connections with other LUSU centres advocating for Aboriginal students, LGBTQ students and gender equity.  

  • Additionally, she volunteers for Lakehead Community Legal Services, exercising her passion for supporting non-Canadian students in their positions as tenants. 

  • She organized and supervised Lakehead’s Culture Day (providing students with connections to over 20 different cultures), the vigil for victims of the Iranian plane crash,  student refugee program events, and Multicultural Centre potlucks.



Nominations for 2019/2020 have closed.


The Lakehead Leader Recognition Program has been developed upon the principles of Lakehead University’s motto: Achievement Through Effort, as well as our institution’s Mission, Vision and Strategic and Academic Plans. 


Lakehead Leaders and Lakehead Luminaries are engaged contributors both on-campus and within their communities, they recognize and celebrate diversity and inclusivity, and they strive to achieve academic excellence. Students who exemplify these qualities may now be recognized as Lakehead Leaders and Luminaries - designations that will receive Co-Curricular credit and a certificate of achievement. 

To see our past recipients, click here!

Nominations for 2019/2020 have closed.


What is the difference between a Lakehead Leader and a Lakehead Luminary?

Lakehead Leaders have demonstrated exemplary achievement in one or more of the “Five Qualities of a Lakehead Leader.” A maximum of twenty Lakehead Leaders will be recognized each academic year.

Lakehead Luminaries have demonstrated exceptional leadership in two or more of the “Five Qualities of a Lakehead Leader.” A maximum of five Lakehead Luminaries will be recognized each academic year.

What will Lakehead Leaders and Lakehead Luminaries receive?

Recipients of the Lakehead Leader and Luminary awards will receive recognition at an awards ceremony where they will be presented with a Certificate of Achievement. The award winners will also receive credit on their Co-Curricular Record, provided they add the designation to their record.

How are the “Five Qualities of a Lakehead Leader” defined and what is the criteria for each category?

Academic Excellence: Exemplified by a student who demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the highest quality of scholarly activity, workmanship, integrity, accountability and responsibility in their academic pursuits, to the best of their abilities.

  • Demonstrates highest quality of scholarly activity, workmanship, integrity, responsibility

  • Is an "unconventional and passionate thinker"

  • Demonstrates a commitment to academic pursuits beyond the "classroom" (independent research, support of peers, participation in case competitions, academic clubs and groups)

  • Demonstrates understanding of broader connection between academic research and the real world applications - "going beyond the classroom"

Diversity & Inclusion: Exemplified by students who have made a special effort to grow and develop our community’s understanding, support and acceptance of diverse people, cultures, traditions, values and abilities.

  • Contributes to the growth and development of our community’s acceptance of diversity and inclusion 

  • Appropriately challenges the unfair, unjust or uncivil behaviour of other individuals or groups

  • Develops an informed perspective on issues of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation

  • Actively develops/implements activities that promote diversity within the Lakehead and broader community

Citizenship & Community Engagement: Exemplified by students who demonstrate a passion for and strong belief in student leadership and/or giving back to the community whether it be, on campus or within the local or national community or even globally.

  • Demonstrates sense of social justice and/or care for the 'greater' community

  • Through action demonstrates belief in “giving back to the community” either on or off campus

  • Demonstrates ability to work collaboratively with peers, faculty and staff, and community members

  • Employs/utilizes interpersonal skills in support of collaborative efforts

Innovation: Exemplified by students who are “unconventional and passionate thinkers” who use their creative perspective to build and shape innovative programs and/or projects and inspire others.

  • Is an “unconventional and passionate thinker” with a creative perspective to build and shape innovative programs or projects while inspiring others

  • Demonstrates ability to work collaboratively with peers, University staff and Faculty

  • Employs/utilizes interpersonal skills in support of collaborative efforts

  • Works with others to achieve group goals or a shared vision 


Sustainability: Exemplified by students who demonstrate a deep understanding and passion for issues surrounding sustainability. They not only apply sustainable living concepts to their own lives but also take action to educate others on the implementation of sustainability on personal and community scales.

At minimum, your nomination should speak to how the nominee:

  • Has contributed to furthering sustainability efforts at Lakehead and/or in the broader community

  • Demonstrates a passion for the promotion of a wider understanding and adoption of sustainability concepts and practices in their community

  • Has developed an informed perspective and led by example on issues surrounding sustainability

  • Has actively developed/implemented educational and/or advocacy activities surrounding sustainability

Can any student be nominated from either campus? 

Yes. Nominations are open to all current undergraduate and graduate students. Eligible students can be full-time or part-time. Students from both campuses can be nominated. Students in any year of study can be nominated.

Who can nominate a student?

Any Lakehead student, staff or faculty member can nominate a current student.

Is there a deadline to nominate someone?

March 11th, 2020 at 4:30pm

How do I nominate someone for the Lakehead Leader or Lakehead Luminary awards?

Nominator must complete and submit an online “Nomination Form” which is found at: 

Who will review the nominations and select recipients?

A review committee will consist of students, staff, faculty, and LUSU representatives.

When and where will the Lakehead Leaders/Luminaries be recognized?

The Lakehead Leader Recognition Award Ceremony will take place in Thunder Bay on Friday, April 3rd at 12:00 pm in the Faculty Lounge and in Orillia at the same time in the Learning Commons. 

Who can I contact should I have further questions?

Please contact the Student Success Centre.


P:  807-343-8018