12th annual Equity Awards brings community together

Colleagues, friends, and family members celebrate the accomplishments of McGill's EDI and community building champions
Winners, nominees, and organizers of McGill’s 12th annual Equity and Community Building Awardscaroline pierret pirson

On May 15, the mood in the Thomson House Ballroom was festive as the annual Equity and Community Building Awards were handed out. Smiles and applause were the orders of the day, as proud friends and family members posed for pictures with winners, and colleagues from units across the University cheered on their co-workers.

This award highlights the work of students, faculty, and staff committed to advancing equity, diversity and community building at McGill. This year, because there were so many sterling candidates, it was decided to hand out two awards per category.

“None of this is possible without the people who spent time nominating the folks who are here,” said Angela Campbell, Associate Provost (Equity and Academic Policies). “It’s heartening to see the outpouring of admiration, the cheerleading, the championing. It is very motivating and uplifting for us to see those letters and expressions of support, but also it means so much because a lot of this is about community building. That work is so valuable.”

Student winners

Yustine Carruyo Soto, third-year undergraduate Psychology student

“Yustine currently serves as the McGill Psychology Student Association’s senior representative on the psychology department’s EDI Committee. In this role, Yustine has led initiatives aimed at improving access to research opportunities, mentoring and fostering a more inclusive climate within the committee and the department,” said Shanice Yarde, Senior Advisor, Anti-Racism and Equity Education, and one of the event organizers. “Highlights of her work include spearheading the initiative to ensure equitable eligibility criteria to the Honours program and advocating for the creation of a new graduate course aimed at training clinical and research psychology students to work with marginalized communities.”

Kevin Ah-Sen, fourth-year PhD candidate in Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education

Ah-sen is a fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Diaspora Solidarities Lab, a Black feminist Digital Humanities collective where he co-leads the Remains // An Archive microlab. His interdisciplinary research examines theories and forms of racial and queer subjectivities and grief, and their conceptual and pedagogical limits. Ah-Sen is a founding member and convener of the black symposium noir, a Montreal-based independent Black Studies collective.

Administration and support staff

Farah Chouayakh, Muslim Student Affairs Liaison

“Farah is a passionate social justice advocate with extensive experience in international humanitarian and civil society projects on youth, women, refugees, and migrants, as well as specific issues touching Muslim women and youth in Quebec,” said Yarde. “A firm believer in the unconditional sovereignty of human dignity, Farah’s personal mission in her role is to be there for all Muslim students, in all their rich diversity, and to help them reach their full potential as they navigate their unique journey at McGill.

“She deeply believes in the key role of education and awareness-raising in stimulating collective critical reflection, cultivating authentic allyship, and generating positive social change,” said Yarde.

Madeleine Elise Nadler, Business Analyst Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Enrolment Services

“Madeleine is working on the Applicant Census and Students Census. These centralized demographic data collection tools are used to better understand the composition of our applicant pool and student population, informing data-driven operational decision making to address identified areas of underrepresentation,” said Yarde.

“Madeleine works closely with Branches –  McGill’s Community Outreach Program – on mentoring and supports for students with additional barriers to accessing higher education. Madeleine’s work includes conducting research, developing proposals, managing key performance indicators and impact assessments, generating and presenting reports, coordinating tailored trainings and resources, as well as advising on policy to drive change at McGill for its communities.”

Academic staff

Frédéricka Petit-Homme, Course Lecturer, Schulich School of Music

“Frédéricka embodies artistic citizenship. Trained as a classical singer and choral conductor, her eclectic career path reflects a passion for exploring the full spectrum of music making,” said Yarde.

“Her commitment to community engagement, particularly through the ‘More than a Song: Gospel Music Workshops’ hosted by McGill, fosters meaningful connections within the wider Montreal community. Petit-Homme’s academic activities, which began in 2005 as a course lecturer at the Schulich School of Music, and her pursuit of a PhD in music education focusing on resilience, cultural production, and leadership in community gospel music, mirror her hands-on experience.”

R. Nanre Nafziger, PhD, Assistant Professor of African/Black Studies in Education.

Nafziger is an educator-organizer-scholar who serves her various communities through writing, research, teaching, and pan-Africanist organizing. Nafziger’ research contributes to debates and collective knowledge production in the areas of critical education policy studies, Black/African Studies in Education, decolonial approaches to education, global critical race theory, critical youth studies, Black/Africana social movements, youth participatory action research; and the role of civil society in education and democratic nation-building in the Global South.

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