The Presidents' Student Leadership Awards

Segmented images of award winners and leaderhip awards night

Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA, previously known as Feds), the Graduate Student Association (GSA), and the Office of the President (OTP) are recognizing student leaders at the University of Waterloo through the President, WUSA, and GSA Leadership Awards. Recipients of the awards will have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills in various ways at the University of Waterloo and/or in the surrounding community.

Winners are recognized at the annual Presidents' Leadership Awards Banquet where they will be presented with an award. Successful nominees and their nominators will be invited to attend the event where they will have an opportunity to connect with the WUSA Executives, GSA Executives, and prestigious guests from the University.

Nominations and Criteria

Depending on eligibility, student leaders may be nominated for the following awards:

WUSA Undergraduate Student Leadership Awards:

Awards up to ten Waterloo undergraduate students. Applicants will be reviewed to determine if the individual falls within the scope of one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo;
  2. Leadership in a student leadership position(s) in the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association;
  3. Service to the undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo;
  4. Involvement and contributions to undergraduate student life within the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association and at the University of Waterloo.

Presidents' Student Leadership Awards:

Awards one undergraduate and one graduate student which are chosen from the nominees of the WUSA and GSA awards. Undergraduate applicants will be reviewed will be reviewed to determine if the individual meets the following criteria:

  1. Must be a Waterloo undergraduate student;
  2. Granted in recognition of outstanding leadership, volunteer service, contribution and/or special achievement in co-curricular activities;
  3. Leadership marker by outstanding efforts, or innovative actions;
  4. Demonstrates excellence in commitment to the UWaterloo community;
  5. Inspires and encourages the personal and professional development of others.

You will be able to indicate if you’d like your nominee to be considered for this award in addition to the WUSA award on the nomination form. For criteria and nominations on the Presidents' graduate student award, please visit the GSA website.

GSA Graduate Student Leadership Awards:

Awards up to five Waterloo graduate students. Please visit the GSA website for graduate student leader award criteria and nominations.

For any questions on the Leadership Awards please contact your WUSA President.

Winners of the 2017-2018 WUSA Leadership Award

Katie Arnold

Katie Arnold

This student leader has definitely created a positive impact to the general student body, and especially to student life in the faculty of Engineering. She has had so many great impacts in various capacities, such as the Remembrance Day celebration, expanding RidgidWare and various involvement with a number of conferences. Katie consistently leaves her involvements in better places than when she started.

This leader is also helping establish the UW EngiQueers with the Engineering Society. She has worked with EngiQueers Canada for some time now, and is pushing to grow the Waterloo chapter with the hopes of creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment within Waterloo Engineering.

Katie has been at the University of Waterloo for just over two and a half years, and has already contributed so much. She is a passionate leader, and is humble about how much she means to Waterloo Engineering and the university as a whole. The future of the Engineering Society is definitely bright with Katie at the helm, and she will give it her all to make sure that it’s a better place by the time her term is done.

Cai de Ridder

Cai de Ridder

This student leader has excelled in creating a more respectable community within the faculty of Environment. Throughout his leadership involvement, he has clearly shown that he is someone people turn to for advice, to follow or to simply be a familiar face on campus. This leader has exceptional time management skills, as well as acknowledges and values the time of the volunteers around him.

His involvement includes: Orientation, founder and President of Waterloo’s Geospatial club and current President of Environment Student Society. One of his fellow nominators said “He puts in 110% every year and looks forward to this week to pour his heart and soul into it.” Another nominator commended his commitment to Environment students stating, “[he] values inter-society unity, addressing the needs of all students, dialogue between associations and ESS, a strong Orientation week, and to making ESS a challenging but supportive work environment.” He loves to show off his Environment pride whenever he can and is a big name on this campus.

Anna Liang


This leader does more and more each term and has grown exponentially as a leader through her diverse set of experiences. This student has been quoted as being “not afraid of a challenge and will work tirelessly to make sure that everyone is satisfied and happy with the result, no matter the situation.” She has been involved in many different leadership positions on campus such as Orientation FOC, Hack the North, UW Serve and the Campus Response Team.

Her fellow peers commend her dedication to every role that she takes on. She is commended for “keeping over a thousand hackers and sponsors happy for a full 36 hours and received high praise from the organizers for her work” and “for organizing weekly pickup sessions and large tournaments and has been an executive in the club for five terms prior to this one”.

She has been known to keep team morale up and is often acting as a team role model. She has amazing time management skills to not only be successful with her extracurricular activities but also with her academics. She constantly checks-up on her peers to ensure their wellbeing, she promotes inclusivity and kindness, as well as values the personal and professional growth of other people.

Tristan Potter

Tristan Potter

This recipient has been a long standing member within the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, the Math Society and various roles within the University of Waterloo. All three are better places for undergraduate students because of his involvement.

This leader is commended for his dedication, diligence, and selflessness. His dedication is seen through his multitude of commitments on this campus that go above and beyond the norm for students. His diligence is found within the abundance of research and carefully formulated opinion on issues his committees are focused on. His selflessness is apparent with his involvement with WUSA governance, which requires significant sacrifices of time and mental energy. And he never seems to complain.

A nominator said about this winner, “few students are as level-headed as this student leader, even when engaged in a debate on a passionate topic.” Tristan was the most consistent and unwavering voice of math students, and students in general.

Savannah Richardson

Savannah Richardson

This individual exemplifies what it means to be a student leader. She has been involved with Orientation on many levels, her student society, a peer leader in Housing, peer educator with Health Services and many more student-leadership positions.

Savannah is selected based on her professionalism, drive to create meaningful and inspirational experiences for new students, and demonstration of passion for what it means to be a part of our team. This student knows and understands that being in leadership position can have less-desirable tasks but she consistently goes above and beyond and is always eager to do more. She is known to show patience and empathy when others are frustrated and often is the first to jump in to help mediate conversations.

This student leader has decided to take a giant leap in her own professional leadership as an incoming Executive for the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association in May, and will continue to make a positive impact on the undergraduate experience.

Christina Sandajan

This recipient has been described as an incredible leader, great mentor and enthusiastic motivator, but above all - a kind friend. She has been involved in many parts of campus: a Residence Life Don, Community Leader, WUSA Promo Team, and UW Serve Club.

She is always encouraging her students and friends to get involved on campus. While doing so, she checks-up on peers and other student leaders to ensure their well-being and motivates them to work hard and try new things. It is not a surprise that passersby always tend to get drawn towards her cheerful demeanor, and as a result, she is able to successfully encourage students to take part in WUSA initiatives and events.

A nominator stated that “She especially promotes inclusivity within the UW Serve club by ensuring that people of all skill levels in volleyball have equal opportunities for playing time and make them feel a sense of belonging within the club.” This is a clear sign of great student leadership. Her inclusivity, selflessness and compassion make Christina Sandajan a deserving recipient.

Cristian Vishnu Mustatea

Cristian Vishnu Mustatea

Cristian Vishnu Mustatea is a force to be reckoned with in the Math Society. Throughout the Leadership Award nominations, it was apparent that this student goes above and beyond the normal expectations of a society representative, and respectively has quickly excelled up the ranks. From learning the ins-and-outs of the director position, becoming the speaker of math council meetings, to being the Vice President Operations and President, this student has clearly shown so much passion in the short two years that he has been on campus.

One nominator said, “Currently he is arranging multiple capital acquisitions for the society to improve the services offered to students in the university; some of these acquisitions include new digital lockers and new computers for the office.” He continues to lead the executive team of the society as the President, and is always looking for ways to improve the society and its services to the undergraduate community at Waterloo.

Bailee Walls-Guertin

Bailee WallsGuertin

Bailee Wall-Guertin has a gift for connecting with students and supporting them through their first year transition. She exemplifies vulnerable leadership, a form of leadership which allowed her to use her own experiences and vulnerabilities to help other students open up and access the support they need.

Through her commitment of creating a community in residence where the importance of mental health is a priority, she reflects this into other avenues of her life. This student volunteered with Burst your Bubble, as an educator reaching out to numerous students to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and to help students find the resources they need. In addition to this, Bailee was an integral contributor to the PAC-SMH report.

Her passion for supporting students brought her to making a long term commitment to work collaboratively towards solutions that will enable positive and constructive change on campus. She is constantly looking out for the wellbeing of everyone around her. A nominator said “Her passion and leadership inspire me every day”.

Michelle Wong

Michelle Wong

Michelle Wong has gone above and beyond her commitments. This recipient is a member of the UW Hip Hop Club since her 1A term and has taken on a multitude of roles within the club. Under her leadership, the club grew to form communities from Toronto, Brock, and Hamilton who all come together and join Waterloo’s tight-knit community. Not only has she been involved in the Hip Hop club, she is a member of Arts and SSO Orientation, as well as a member of the WUSA’s Club Support Team, and maintains a part-time job.

She strives to promote compassion and female leadership. She is an advocate of original artistic expression and a true friend to all.  A nominator said “Michelle has not only successfully juggled clubs, work and school, but has also found time to be kind to others and give back. She is an inspiration to many and has helped make a huge difference in the UW community.”

Alexander (AJ) Wray

AJ Wray has been involved in many levels of student governance at WUSAs, a don at St. Paul’s, a member of the University Senate and many other on-campus leadership positions. He is recognized as a key advocate for students through his involvement at multiple OUSA General Assemblies, and as a contributing student author on policy papers including topics from municipal issues, to accountability in Ontario’s post-secondary environment.

A nominator stated that his “firebrand reputation often helps the student senators effectively communicate their frustration.”

AJ is creative and has been known to use Greek mythology to exercise points and emphasize morals, lessons and warnings. This has become a signature piece of his persona, and while it may not always ingratiate him to those within the university administration, his voice is still respected, and allows other senators to open dialogue.

AJ’s character is comprised of outspokenness, boldness, big ideas, evidence-based policy, and excellence in governance, which makes him very deserving of the WUSAs Leadership Award.

Past Recipients

Past winners of the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association Leadership Awards!


Danielle Burt
Reba Nauth
Jill Knight
Nicole Vanderleest
Tatiana Portelli-Graham
Cody Hutt
Saad Ahmad
Abdullah Barakat
Sacha Forstner
Kaitlyn Yong


Melanie Osmond
Joel Le Forestier
Fatema Boxwala
Nadia Gilani
Ana Krstanovic
Zainab Mahmood
Nefisa Ansong
Brandon Gaffoor


Gerry Zhang
Allyson Francis
Elizabeth McFaul
Jesse McGinnis
Paula Colaso
Prateeksha Ravi
Deanna Priori
Mike Cimetta
Matt McLean
Laura Zhang


Cate Flanagan
Chris Lolas
Zac Hogg
Judy Truong
Sean Hunt
Vanessa Alumbo
Krystin Scheels


Mujeeb Duranai
Alessia Danelon
Rob Savoy
Saleema Bhaidani
Jessica Kumordzie
Kristen Leal
Mujtaba Arshad
Jacky Au Duong
Andrew Fisher


Christina Romualdo
Jeff Bunn
Fatma Avci
AM Begin
Cailin Hillier
Jon Cluett
Phyllis Ho
Andre Magalhaes


Nizar Hasan
Darcy Alemany
Piraveena Tharmalingam
Michael Seliske
Sarah Thompson


Jeffrey Baer
Brittany Boilard
Cat Hay
Kieng Iv
Anna Katsios
Diane Kishi
Christine Lu
Theresa Power
Jay Shah
Hayden Tay


Mona Anton
Sam Andrey
Greg Cartmell
Monica Chamberland
Sarah Cook
Caustan De Riggs
Reemah Khalid
Chris Neal
Nicholas Terwoord
Calvin Weekes
Danielle Woon


Allan Babor
Rob Blom
Renjie Butalid
Caitlin Cull
Steve Hayle
Matt Heppler
Ross Ricupero
Mike Spendlove
Kristin Valles
Claire Van Nierop


Drew Adams
Rob Allie
Rebecca Baxter
Jen Carroll
Kate Daley
Greg Fitzgerald
Darcy Higgins
Andrea Murphy
Racquel Passley
Rajat Suri


Haruka Shoji
Graeme Baer
Nick Lawler
Heather Anderson
Karim Lallani
Michael Tersigni
Donna Craig
Sabrina Bowman
Sarah Lewis
Samir Patel