Monday, April 26, 2021

The Story Of BASE & University of Waterloo Graduate Iliana Cecibel Tacuri Siguenza

By Willow Carmount, ELI Programs Assistant

Ceci with her Honorary Peer Leader AwardWhat defines a student leader? Is it kindness and positivity? Is it the sacrifices they make and their willingness to serve others? Is it the way they step outside of their comfort zone and bravely lead by example? It is all of these traits, manifested from a genuine love for all those around them, and a true desire to touch the lives of everyone they meet. Iliana Cecibel Tacuri Siguenza is a brilliant example of what it means to lead out of love, and an exceptional choice as the recipient of this year's Honourary Peer Leader Award with the Renison English Language Institute.

As a BASE student in the Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 terms, Iliana (also known to friends as Ceci) demonstrated an immediate passion for student leadership, becoming a BASE Rep volunteer throughout her time in the BASE program. Her involvement at Renison continued throughout the entirety of her undergraduate degree, as she enthusiastically took on a diverse variety of roles: English For Success (EFS) Programs Assistant for multiple terms, BASE Newswriting Peer Helper, Renison Student Ambassador, Renison Marketing & Recruitment Assistant, the first-ever BASE Living Learning Peer Leader in Renison ResidenceResidence Don in Renison Residence for multiple terms, General English at Renison (GEAR) Peer Leader, and an ELI Programs Assistant for multiple terms. There wasn’t a moment during Illana’s years at Renison when she wasn’t going above and beyond for her student community. 

More than four years ago, Iliana could never have imagined all the opportunities for student leadership positions that she would soon seize, but she did know that she wanted to help others.

 “At first I just wanted to help other students with a transition that I understood and also went through. Then, I was introduced to the general community that Renison had and loved it too. It opened doors for me to share my personal experience and improve the experience of other students as well.” 

Iliana’s consistent dedication to the Renison community allowed her to support and encourage hundreds of different students, who were each positively touched by her influence in a unique way.

Iliana’s kindness is evident as soon as you meet her, and her impact at Renison was not limited to the students. Many staff at Renison feel as if their lives have been changed for the better since knowing Illana. Jennifer Burton, the Housing and Student Engagement Coordinator at Renison, has no limit to the amiable words she has for Iliana as an amazing student leader.

Iliana with friends“Her peers looked up to her and she always took new student leaders under her wing. Her outgoing and comforting personality made it easy for our students to make strong connections with her," Burton shared. "She was always involved with whatever was going on at Renison and always the one with the biggest smile, singing and dancing away. Because Illana was always at events, she got to know my own kids. In fact, she got to know them so well that my own kids see her as their big sister. I could never thank her enough for everything she has done for our Renison community. Not only has she left an impact on Renison, but she has left an impact on myself and my family too.” 

Iliana’s cheerful nature made her the type of student leader whose reach was boundless. She is someone you can trust and confide in when times are difficult, and dance and sing with when times are joyful. 

When asked what piece of advice she would share with new student leaders, Iliana offered a humble piece of wisdom. 

Iliana with friend Sapphire“I would tell everyone that it is ok to let others teach you as well. It is not only you guiding people, but you can learn from all those around you," Iliana said. "You can gain a better perspective of every situation in the world when you are open to learn from others too.” 

Her willingness to listen to others opened her to countless opportunities at Renison, and made her peers feel comfortable learning from her as well. Additionally, her receptiveness and dedication to lifelong learning will allow her to continue to grow as a leader no matter where life takes her after graduation.

Iliana Cecibel Tacuri Siguenza’s positive impact as a student leader has inspired all those around her in unmeasurable ways and we cannot express enough gratitude for her devotedness to the campus community. For students and staff alike, Iliana was a ray of sunshine each day, always offering a smile and a helping hand. She wasn’t a student leader because she was reliable, creative, and compassionate, although she was all these things: she was a student leader because she loved and cared for everyone around her and selflessly sacrificed her own time and energy to improve the lives and student experience of others. Iliana is undoubtedly a worthy recipient of Renison ELI's Honourary Peer Leader Award, and it is undeniable that she will continue to change the lives of all those she meets. 

  1. 2021 (3)
    1. June (1)
    2. April (1)
    3. February (1)
  2. 2020 (3)
    1. June (1)
    2. May (2)
  3. 2019 (1)
    1. August (1)
  4. 2018 (1)
  5. 2017 (4)
  6. 2016 (6)