Anita Acai (2013)

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Guelph

Citation: Though she is a dedicated science student, she has never abandoned her broad ranging interests across a variety of disciplines, realizing that complex problems require complex solutions. She is passionate about empowering students to become better learners and critical thinkers, and has made her mark on the University of Guelph community as a Writing Services Peer Helper, an Academic Support Program Facilitator, a Summer Orientation Program Group Leader, and an Orientation Week Volunteer. She has recently been named the first female Editor-in-Chief of a peer-reviewed undergraduate journal at her university, and is a 2013 delegate to Canada’s first Student Mental Health Innovation Summit lead by The Jack Project.

One of Anita’s most impactful leadership experiences was traveling to Vancouver’s Downtown East Side on a service-learning trip. Through an exploration of the systemic issues prevalent in this vibrant community, Anita discovered the transformative impact of community-based learning. In her own community, she has sought to create opportunities for others by packaging birthing kits for women in developing nations and food items for Haiti and Mauritania, serving as a tutor in two adult learning centres, and mentoring others in a variety of capacities.