By Justine Baek and Nicola Paviglianiti
Western’s 2015 3MNSF Student Recipients
Look up the 3M National Student Fellowship (3MNSF) and you will find a flowery formal description of an annual award offered to ten students across Canada who have demonstrated ‘outstanding leadership in their lives and at their college or university.’ But look deeper and you’ll find that this only scratches the surface of what the award truly embodies.
The 3MNSF goes beyond just student recognition, a trip to the annual Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Conference, and a prestigious $5000 scholarship. More importantly, being awarded the 3MNSF means joining a community of innovation and leadership. It means exploring passions and expanding student capacity within higher education and learning, as well as connecting with leaders across the country. For Western University 2015 student recipients Justine Baek and Nicola Paviglianiti, the award offered a life changing trip to Vancouver in June 2015, new lifelong friendships, and a new network of opportunities. Once a fellow, always a fellow.
Furthermore, the fellowship offers a unique experience of a retreat and leadership training at the STLHE Conference, where the 3MNSF recipients together commit to create a pan-Canadian collaborative project to enrich and further higher education. The project is meant to empower the student leaders, and enable them to develop and pursue a project that is relevant and meaningful to their cohort. For example, the 2014 cohort authored a series of essays expressing student perspectives on adapting postsecondary education to the needs of 21st century learners.
The 2015 3MNSF cohort is currently working hard on their own project, through the development of a collaborative website. With this project, the students aim to create and facilitate a virtual platform and space for their student peers across the country to generate ideas that capture the potential of post-secondary education in Canada. The website seeks to create a medium for students to broaden and deepen their vision for the future of higher education through the process of generating and sharing diverse perspectives, and reading and responding to the ideas of others. The goal is to raise awareness to the true needs of students in the areas of teaching, learning, and student life.
Furthermore, in addition to their website the 2015 3MNSF cohort is excited to host and organize a pre-conference student symposium and workshop at the 2016 STLHE Conference at Western University. The goal of these sessions is to connect and engage students at the conference, empowering students to take active roles in their own education, and above all ensure the student voice heard.