How the Fellowship Program has empowered me to give back

Thursday, March 4, 2021
by Valerie N., AFM Student

Giving back to the community with the support of my mentor and Honouree

Coming from high school, you are often told that there is a plethora of opportunities waiting for you in university. For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed giving back and helping in whatever way I can, and I knew that I wanted to continue making a difference in university. Upon accepting my AFM offer as an incoming Fellowship student 2 years ago, I knew the University of Waterloo was the right place to do just that during my 4-year university journey.

The Fellowship program is amazing in that it provides you with the ability to connect with like-minded individuals who are both friendly and supportive. Prior to entering first year of university, I was assigned a Fellow mentor, who is 2 years older than me - she was kind and empathetic, and we had many shared interests, including volunteering! She shared her experiences as a Student Outreach Ambassador for SAF with me, and I jumped at the chance of becoming one as well, which I did during my first and second years of university. As an SAF Ambassador, I got to speak with prospective students at my old high school and at the Ontario Universities Fair, and it was empowering being able to share my experiences with students as I was once in their shoes. Now, as an upper-year student, I have been paired with a first-year mentee and being able to support her in reaching her goals as my mentor did for me is such an amazing feeling!

Another fantastic aspect of the Fellowship program is that your award is named after an Honouree, who is an accomplished SAF alumnus. I first connected with my Honouree during my first year through email and at the annual Awards Celebration, and coincidentally, my Honouree was also passionate about charitable causes! As she shared with me her career insights going from audit to now working at a well-known NGO, this made me think about the endless possibilities that AFM has to offer, where I can combine my passions for accounting and finance with giving back to the community as a CPA. Her experiences have allowed me to reflect upon how my career and personal goals can align together, and needless to say, I’m excited for the future.

Now that I am in my third year, I am amazed at what I’ve been able to accomplish in the past 2 years here, and I could not have done it without the Fellowship program. I am grateful for the support of my mentor and Honouree, both of whom I keep in touch with, and I can’t wait to continue giving back within SAF in the remainder of my undergraduate journey and in my career ahead.