Congratulations to all President’s Star Award Recipients

The College takes great pride in the contribution of every member of its workforce. Each and every day, Algonquin staff and faculty in Ottawa, Perth and Pembroke are going out of their way to ensure students are encouraged, nurtured, and supported, in their quest for a better, more prosperous life.

Recent Recipients

Joshua Garbo

Learning & Teaching Services

Joshua Garbo has been a tremendous support towards the Host 150 Training Tool project with Ottawa 2017 and Algonquin College. Joshua has been a dedicated volunteer with the project and has devoted hours of time to this project.

On top of his eLearning and Academic Applications Systems Analyst role, Joshua has helped out with tracking of analytics and data, scripts, Storyline project files, certificate design and programming as well as attending all off-site meetings, and countless hours audio editing. His contributions to this project have been voluntary and really harness his skillset with responsibilities such as narration voices, cutting, levels, noise reduction, video editing (green screen chroma keying, editing, audio noise reduction, and final production video files).

The volunteer work Joshua has provided to this project has impressed our partners at Ottawa 2017, Ottawa Tourism and La Cité. Joshua has gone above and beyond his call of duty and the whole team has been consistently impressed by his excellent service/dedication, collaboration and leadership to this project.

Nominated by: Lisa Barker 
Presented on: February 2, 2017

Cheryl DowellCheryl Dowell

Cheryl demonstrates an above and beyond work ethic but most impressively brings caring for the needs of students to a whole new level. Cheryl, has on her own time and with her own resources has taking on the intiative of helping a single mother student from another country. She has helped this student, whom has very limited support and no family in Canada, find a place to live, provided her food, caregiving for her baby as well as assisted in many other tasks. All of this out of the goodness of her heart and her desire to help someone that needs help. Cheryl also volunteered and was part of the TedxAlgonquin College team all while coaching the College Marketing Competition Team. Once again all of this is outside of her regular role of a coordinator and professor. Cheryl time after time amazes me with her ethics, integrity and her caring. She is a role model and someone that we should highlight at the College in hopes of encouraging others to hold these same principles.

Nominated by: Christopher Doré 
Presented on: Monday, January 23, 2017

Sheri Lynn St GermainSheri Lynn St Germain

Registrar’s office

Sheri Lynn works as a scheduler in the registrar’s office and we have had the pleasure of working with her for many years regarding timetabling for various programs. Unfortunately it often happens that the information we input at the initial deadline for loading is not complete or incorrect due to a number of reasons, including error or omissions on the part of others (including me). It always means that she has to do the same work more than once. Sheri Lynn is always so professional and helpful when it comes to accommodating schedule changes and timetable issues, even when it has to be changed last minute. When faced with a conflict she always seems to have a “let’s see what we can do about it” attitude and has the ability to find solutions that are in the best interests of the students groups and the curriculum delivery. It is a pleasure to work with people at the College like Sheri Lynn.Because of her willingness to help above and beyond what is required, as well as her expertise, our students had very successful experiences. She is an integral part of our workplace and is very deserving based on her dedication to student (and colleague) success.

Nominated by: Gordon Wilcox and Kyle Scott
Presented on: January 23, 2017

final-sandy-pres-awardSandra Heron

Academic Operations and Planning

As Manager of Student Persistence, Sandy is the driving force behind the revival and updates to the integrated Academic Advising tracking system. It is a valuable instrument for advisors to support the goal of improving the quality of academic life for well as impacts long term student success and retention.

Sandy plays a leadership role in examining and modifying, not only academic advisors but also program coordinators and student success specialists roles. She is a gifted collaborator who works with a wide range of stakeholders in order to help facilitate the enrichment of the student experience. She works passionately to make sure every improvement has the best interest of all students at the forefront.

Her direction and guidance, as it relates to improving the withdrawal process for students, is yet another area that her leadership has been instrumental. She is able to effectively guide this college-wide committee through the process of looking at the current system for student withdraws and moving towards a new model that would add extra value to the student experience. To date, her latest accomplishment is approval of the “First 10 Days Intercept Retention pilot” which will start the first week of classes. This initiative will create a “triage team” of Algonquin colleagues to help students make informed decisions about their intent and to help reduce the “early leavers” within the start of the semester.

Sandy has commitment and dedication to sharing her knowledge and expertise within the Algonquin College Community. and is highly respected. She consistently demonstrates Algonquin’s core values of caring, learning, integrity and respect in every aspect of her work with students, faculty and staff. Her willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty is evident on a daily basis in everything she does. Our slogan of “Here 2 Help” is completely driven with Sandy’s vision of client service for Algonquin and the community.

Nominated by: Lisa Lamb
Presented on: December 6, 2016

kent-mcdonell_3391Kent McDonell

Academic Access Centre

Kent McDonell works in the Academic Access Centre as an advisor to prospective mature students. Each year he serves hundreds of clients from very diverse backgrounds with a huge range of questions, concerns and issues surrounding their decision to return to school.

A couple of weeks ago he met with a man who was looking to start his return to school with Algonquin’s Academic Upgrading program. Toward the end of the meeting, this client realized he had left his coat on a bench in the busy hallway outside of Kent’s office. When they went to look for it, it was gone.

The man was understandably upset. Kent asked around and did his best to help look for the coat, but it appeared to be lost. Knowing that this man was about to endure a bus ride downtown, in January, in Ottawa, without a coat, Kent offered him his own coat. After some convincing, the man accepted the offer and headed for Baseline Station. On his way off campus, the man made one last stop at the security office and, fortunately, his coat had been dropped off there. He made his way back to Kent’s office and gave him the coat back – neither of them would be going home cold after all.

When Kent told me this story, he told the part about him giving the man his own coat like it was no big deal at all. He said, “I’ve got plenty of coats.” This kind of compassion and humility comes naturally to Kent and our staff and students are better off for it. I couldn’t ask for a better colleague, but I can ask for his tireless service to be recognized with the President’s Star.

Nominated by: Rob Parniak 
Presented on: October 5, 2016

sara-jordan_3387Sara Jordan

Student Support Services, Center for Students with Disabilities

Sara volunteered for the Responsibility Center Management Steering Committee in January 2014. Having no financial background or involvement with the budgeting cycle at the College, she bravely admitted her lack of knowledge at our very first SC meeting. Her honesty and courage gave confidence to others on the committee, which lead us to a series of Educational sessions on various business processes at the College, which benefited all members of the Committee and lead us to all to informed decision making for a well received, thoughtful implementation of RCM. Sara always brought a teacher’s perspective to our discussions and a non-financial view which allowed presentations and narratives to be described in layman’s – not accountant’s language. She was a valued and actively engaged member of the Steering Committee. Sara is a great example of stepping out of your comfort zone both to benefit herself, and be a benefit to the Committee and the College. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Sara and learn from her.

Nominated by: Sandy Finnigan 
Presented on: October 5, 2016

bethany-wiseman_3382Bethany Wiseman


Bethany is a Learning Strategist with CSD. She does an AMAZING job and students, faculty, staff and her peers regularly comment on her commitment to our students! Bethany is well known for ‘going the extra mile’ and not just meeting, but exceeding our students expectations…one of the ways she demonstrates this, is how she offers and hosts weekly ‘socials’ for our students on the Autism Spectrum who are registered with our TSC – Transition Support Center. They take EVENING ‘field trips’ to movies, bowling, etc., plus Bethany arranges lots of activities on campus; gaming nights, etc. These are all things that she doesn’t really have to do but she does them for the pure joy she gets from seeing how happy the students are and how much it’s contributing to their ‘social & systems intelligence.’ It is a privilege to work with Bethany and she is certainly deserving of a President’s Star Award.

Nominated by: Lorri McLeod
Presented on: October 5, 2016

sandy-brown-star-award-presentation_3376Sandra Brown

Library/Student Support Services

I was looking for a quote that would best describe Sandra Brown to those who have not had the pleasure of meeting her and I found this remark by George Patton: “Always do more than is required of you” (The Insight Squared Blog). Sandra balances the demands of our busy office area with patience, and grace in a gentle, quiet manner.

The nature of Sandra’s duties often means that she is juggling a variety of tasks and deadlines but when I have had an administrative question I am always made welcome and if she doesn’t have the answer will go the extra mile to find it for me. Her background as a Library Technician allows her to anticipate the needs of students and staff as she strives to help the team deliver quality customer service to those we serve.

Our recent renovation period is a good example of the “always do more …” that Sandra brings to her work. She was often came in early in the morning to help co-ordinate movers, cordon off areas with caution tape and ensure signage was available to advise our customers of service changes. She coordinated the timing of activities through work orders for Physical Resources and ITS, then followed up to make certain that everything ran smoothly. She consulted with contractors and the staff to make sure that computers were moved, electrical outlets installed and other temporary measures put in place so that students were not inconvenienced by the work that was done.

A well-deserved candidate for this award!

Nominated by: Mary Anne Reinhard 
Presented on: September 20, 2016


Mario D’Angelo


Mario is an exceptional employee at Algonquin College whose leadership is transforming the Pre-firefighter program. Mario is a leading expert in his field who is sought out from across the country for his expertise in firefighter training, and other colleges even try to poach him. He provides exceptional dedication in serving his students and the many part-time faculty working with his program. As a program coordinator, he maintains the lab, manages equipment acquisitions and maintenance including the care of our aging fire truck, and he puts in countless extra hours on evenings and weekends to ensure that our students have the best experience possible. Last year, Mario oversaw the rewriting of the entire fire curriculum to respond to new provincial guidelines from the Ontario Fire Marshall. Mario even volunteers extra time running optional tutorials for his students before they write their provincial accreditation exam. With so much work, effort and care in his job, its no wonder his students call him “Chief.” Mario invests so much of himself into the work that he does.

Nominated by: Benjamin Roebuck
Presented on: August 29, 2016

Ben-Roebuck-star-award-Photo_3374-webBen Roebuck


I have observed Ben interacting with his students, in which he goes above and beyond for them. Recently after the loss of one of his students to a tragic incident, he rallied around his students ensuring that they were supported on all levels and he continues to do so to this day.

His students are guided by his genuine kind and caring mannerism which gives them a sense of calmness and stability. The respect the students have for Ben is quite evident in their interactions. Ben’s approach to teaching has generated a warm and close rapport with his students and other faculty alike, he demonstrates the true meaning of “here2help”.

Ben is a lifelong learner and continuously strives to improve his knowledge, most recently with the successfully completion of his PhD designation. To complement his academic excellence, Ben has also been an enthusiastic participant in various extra-curricular activities. He has been involved in the fields of crime prevention and youth justice for several years and is passionate about issues as it relates to victims. He also shares this interest with his students by affording them the opportunity to travel to Croatia to attend a post-graduate course hosted by the World Society of Victimology.

Ben spearheaded a successful grant application through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) which is a federal research funding agency. The $207,210 grant is being gifted to the Algonquin College Victimology graduate certificate program over three years to help fund the efforts of a team of seven – including Victimology students, in partnership with the Victim Justice Network (VJN) – to study how victims of crime can be best served by the support systems designed to help them.

Nominated by: Tess Porter
Presented on: August 30, 2016

Yahya-Alakhan-webYahya Alakhan

Algonquin College, Jazan

I am writing this to nominate Mr Yahya Alakhan for the President’s Star Award. He is our delegate to all governmental affairs. Yahya does an excellent job in his position. He is always willing to offer his sincere assistance to his colleagues.

Out of many incidents, I recall when I had a family emergency over a weekend last month and I contacted Yahya who promptly replied and acted to provide me with all needed docs. Afterwards, he re-contacted me to ascertain that no obstacles were on the way.

Yahya is an outgoing colleague with a nice smile to everyone which I find very crucial to someone in his position. He never complains about his workload and he always thinks of alternatives to dead ends.

Nominated by:  Ahmed Tageldin
Presented on: May 5, 2016

Sharique-FaizSharique Faiz

Algonquin College,  Jazan – Human Resources

Sharique is a perfect example of the ‘Human’ side of Human Resources. He is able to see the individual side beyond all of the red tape and bureaucracy and is always willing to help in a very polite and patient way. He often has to deal with several (sometimes obscure) queries at the same time but remains composed and always has a friendly smile. A great source of knowledge of how the college works.

A typical example of his commitment was when he recently gave up part of his Friday holiday to speedily process the exit/re-entry visa for a member of staff who had to leave the country the same day due to a bereavement.

Nominated by: Stu Rutherford 
Presented on: May 5, 2016

Felix-Silundika-webFelix Silundika

Algonquin College, Jazan

I am honored to nominate Felix Silundika for the Algonquin College Presidential Star Award. Felix has been instrumental in voluntarily taking the lead in launching many programs that have promoted ACJ over the past few years. He took the lead in launching and leading ACJ’s first Student Council Program inspiring many of our valued students in leadership as well as continuous educational process improvement. He constantly goes above and beyond his normal everyday scope of work to ensure that both our student council and student success programs at the college are given the utmost support and ensuring that all their needs and highest expectations are met in order continue the programs growth and success. You will always see Felix at every activity or event not only on campus but anywhere in the community representing ACJ. Never have I encountered Felix without responding in a kind way no matter what the topic or situation entails. He is very involved in the community as well. Whenever there is an extra-curricular activity or community event, Felix is the first to volunteer and take the lead. He is a huge asset in representing ACJ in the community. Ever year he volunteers alongside and guiding our student council representing ACJ on Saudi National Day. He goes above and beyond to create a good rapport with government offices up to the Prince’s Office. He is a true asset for ACJ when it comes to excellent community and government relations.

We are very fortunate to have such an enthusiastic, outgoing, and kind hearted person such as Felix. He definitely is an inspiration to our ACJ family here in KSA. Felix is a person that can make you feel at home half a world away. A prime example of Algonquin’s core values of caring, learning, integrity, and respect. This is why I would like to nominate Felix Silundika for the President Star Award.

Nominated by: Roger Heide and Gregory Dolezal
Presented on:  May 5, 2016

Laura VenaLaura Vena

Financial, Office & Legal Studies, SoB

Laura Vena is an exceptional candidate for the President’s Star Award. Her dedication to her students’ success, her unwavering support of her colleagues, and commitment to her own learning, is exceptional.

Laura has been teaching in the Office Administration program for several years, and is an absolute delight to work with! I hear from part-time and full-time faculty that “working with Laura is awesome.”

As is the case with most departments across the College, we have many valued part-time teachers who are with us semester after semester. Having Laura assist with their on-boarding process has been outstanding. She is always willing to share resources and best practices with new faculty; even during semesters when she’s not teaching the same course(s) as our new teachers, she will meet with them to review tips and tricks she’s learned through her own experience. Most recently, she prepared a Blackboard site for a group of teachers so that everything was set and ready to go. What’s important to note here, is that the course was not one that Laura was teaching this semester.

Laura regularly takes part in professional development and always shares unique and interesting ideas with the rest of our team. These have included ideas for using Padlet, MyAC groups, and using Turnitin for our computer-based courses. She is never reluctant to share new technology ideas with her peers, in an effort to make learning fun.

Laura enjoys taking on new challenges, and at this point has taught every course in the first-year program, to ensure she is well familiar with the program content. Theory and practical courses alike! This past fall she agreed to take on the role of Academic Advisor for a group of Level 01 students, and tracked their progress through-out the semester. She is thoughtful and caring in her approach with students, and promotes a mutual respect in the classroom. As well, she ensures an appropriate learning environment for all learners.

On several occasions Laura has stepped up and assisted in the development of PLAR challenge exams. The personal time involved in creating these exams is significant – particularly for the computer courses – when both a theory and practical exam must be developed. She’s been a real trooper!

Laura is a shining example of someone who demonstrates the core values of the College and is absolutely deserving of the President’s Star Award!

Nominated by: Cathy Collyer 
Presented on: April 15, 2016

Mike DelgatyMike Delgaty

Applied Science and Environmental Technology/FCTT

Mike Delgaty has gone above and beyond working to create modules for first year math courses and piloting a new way of teaching math at Algonquin College. Mike has shown great initiative, leadership skills and commitment to the college and our students; from meeting with program coordinators, to creating the modules and tests and most of all his assistance in supporting other faculty in this new math adventure. Walking through the halls of the 3rd floor of B building there is always someone, student or faculty being guided by Mike’s vast knowledge of geometry and trigonometry, calculus and differential equations. He is undeniably an asset to ASET.

Nominated by: Chantal Dubé 
Presented on: April15, 2016

Amanda HusseyAmanda Hussey

Registrar’s Office – International Admissions

The International department has recently introduced a new application system for International clients.

I needed a representative on this cross departmental project to assist with developmental testing, clarifying team and user process and being a liaison to bridge new technology and process and a new way of thinking to the International Admissions Officers.

Involved on all aspects of development and delivery, I can’t always be in proximity to the end users to answer quick questions related to learning a new system and refining processes. As issues arose, I needed to understand them to determine how we could improve on the customer experience.

Amanda volunteered to play a role. Despite her already heavy workload, she was instrumental in driving the change to the new system. Amanda demonstrated excellent leadership skills during the difficult task of testing and implementing a new system. She engaged her team mates to collect feedback, collaborate and deliver considerations for continuous improvement.

Amanda was keen to learn how the new system works, its overall capabilities and share her knowledge with her team mates. Her aptitude quickly emerged. She came to weekly knowledge sharing meetings with a sense of humour and a positive attitude. Collaborated with many people on the development team and helped test new functionality wearing many different hats. Eager to learn new things, I found that she engaged fully with the development team in new processes that were completely foreign to her daily job such as it relates to Lean Agile development. A pleasure to work with.

When we had to introduce new concepts to Partner agents and other departments such as to on-board new users at Satellite campuses in India and China, she participated fully in finding solutions to these uniquely cultural business challenges due to language barriers, lagging time zones, stakeholders who were always travelling to business events and could not respond promptly. Her excellent customer service skills were highlighted as she was always organized and took the time understand and provide answers quickly and efficiently.

I know she truly cares about improving process, as does her entire team. I really appreciate knowing that as this very busy unit carries a heavy workload and must learn new systems and process at the same time, I can count on her to help guide and advise when time and problem solving is required.

Thank you Amanda. You are so deserving of a President’s star!

Nominated by: Susan Davidson 
Presented on: April 15, 2016

Tess PorterTess Porter

Faculty of Health, Public Safety & Community Studies

Over the past six years, we’ve had the tremendous privilege to work with Tess Porter on numerous retention and marketing initiatives. She is always the first person to offer her support, expertise and time to any event or project designed to benefit the students or the college community.

Over this period, she has never hesitated to generously and passionately share her valuable knowledge, vision and leadership skills to help ensure the success of all our various events and initiatives.

On a daily basis, we have observed how she consistently goes above and beyond what is expected to help her students reach their full potential and achieve their academic and career goals. Her commitment and dedication to her students is truly remarkable and she is a tireless advocate for student success.

In addition, Tess has a long history of enthusiastic and devoted volunteerism. She has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to supporting children, youth and her community through her many volunteer activities.

Giving back is central to her way of life and she constantly encourages her students to make a difference by volunteering on campus and in their communities. She is a true believer of giving, as exemplified by her recent act of kindness in becoming a living organ donor.

We believe Tess Porter is a shining example of an employee who consistently demonstrates the College’s values of caring, learning, integrity and respect and we can think of no one more deserving of the President’s Star award!

Nominated by: Karen Gendron & Jennifer Kennedy 
Presented on: March 3, 2016

Cat BaronCat Baron

Police and Public Safety

During her time at Algonquin College, Cat Baron has lead two powerful initiatives: 24 Hours of Homelessness to engage students in community action, and the 2015 Employee Engagement Tiger Team.

Through Cat’s leadership, 24 Hours of Homelessness has run for 11 years. Each year, Cat and students from the Community and Justice Services program have the opportunity to experience a day and a night on the streets, and to raise money to help those who have no other options. The experience gives the students valuable insight into what homeless people have to go through on a daily basis, better preparing them to work with these people when they graduate. Cat has partnered with Operation Come Home, a group that helps homeless youth avoid becoming homeless adults. Half of the money raised from 24 Hours of Homelessness goes to Operation Come Home, while the other half goes towards a program bursary – both valuable causes to help youth stay off the streets.

Over the summer and into the fall of 2012, Cat was alsoa member of the Employee Engagement Tiger Team. During the summer and fall of 2015, Cat took on the leadership of the Tiger Team for the second employee engagement survey. From the start of the first meeting, and throughout the duration of the committee’s mandate, Cat worked to create a positive space where all group members felt welcomed and comfortable; she encouraged each team member to bring our abilities and talents to the group and apply them to the topics at hand, while giving us space to learn from each other. Through Cat’s leadership, the committee crafted and presented succinct and smart recommendations for the entire College community.

In all of her impressive volunteer activities, Cat embodies the College’s values; as a true leader, she leads by example. Cat has willingly, and happily, given her time and put her heart into leading these initiatives. Cat’s ability to guide rich discussion, and to promote openness and acceptance, allows both her students and her colleagues to look at information and experiences from a wide range of perspectives, to learn from them, and to come away as better people.

Cat lives what it means to be an engaged, caring employee at Algonquin College. It has truly been a pleasure working with Cat, and we whole-heartedly recommend her for the President’s Star Award.

Nominated by: Adam Jarvis on behalf of the Tiger Team
Presented on: March 2, 2016

Diane CharleboisDiane Charlebois


It is my pleasure to nominate Diane Charlebois for a President’s star award. Diane is a highly motivated member of the ITS team. Not only is she organized and approachable, but she’s also a remarkable mentor and a ‘buddy’ to new staff.

In late December, she coordinated a move of over twenty College employees to a new space for the Project Fusion team. It was completed flawlessly, with employees arriving at their new location and workstations in early January with every detail addressed and Diane buzzing around on the floor, overseeing all aspects to ensure everyone’s needs had been met.

She comes to work every single day highly energized and ready to make a difference. She always leaves her door open and has an infectious humour, which is highly cherished by those around her. She is often the first to volunteer for extra activities such as team parties and events, and is always the one to give up nights and weekends without complaint!

She has made a significant contribution to the management team in ITS, and we feel blessed to have her as a colleague and a leader. Diane completely exemplifies our values of Caring, Learning, Integrity and Respect.

Nominated by: Craig Delmage on behalf of the ITS Management Team
Presented on: March 2, 2016

Marilyn CurrieCheryl Biggs

Corporate Training Centre

Cheryl Biggs is a new addition to the operational support team at the Corporate Training Centre in 2015. Joining the College, learning the corporate training business and maintaining the high standards clients expect from Algonquin College Corporate Training were challenges that Cheryl embraced and quickly overcame in the first couple of months on the team.

As the year has progressed, the number and complexity of Corporate Training engagements have increased in my accounts and Cheryl keeps pace, working only 24 hours per week. While her role is to provide operational support to two staff members, we know that Cheryl often helps other colleagues deal with the growing Corporate Training open enrolment business – coming in early or staying late to set up or tear down classrooms, clean the kitchen, whatever it takes to keep the Centre running smoothly. She does all this with no expectation of recognition.

Cheryl’s dedication to providing outstanding service to our clients – both internal and external – is remarkable. One recent example was that, in November, while operationalizing a record number of Corporate Training engagements, we received late notification from an instructor that she would be unable to deliver a 5-day program for my largest client, The Royal Canadian Mint. While I scrambled to find and introduce a new resource to the client, Cheryl worked quickly and quietly in the background to manage the last minute changes to logistics, taking care to ensure all timelines were met. With many other engagements and deadlines looming, she managed this seamlessly and with a ‘smile’. Cheryl does these extra efforts day-in and day-out.

Cheryl demonstrates this type of behaviour in all she does – everyday with every project. Picture a duck swimming across a pond; it glides across the water effortlessly. Under the water, however, its feet are paddling like mad. That’s Cheryl! I’m proud to be her colleague and to nominate her for a President’s Star award. We are truly lucky to have someone like Cheryl, that is fully engaged and takes pride and ownership in all that she does.

Nominated by: Marilyn Currie 
Presented on: February 24, 2016

John RenforthJohn Renforth

School of Media and Design

Doing my job involves always calling people to ask for their assistance. But this nomination for a President’s Star Award is not about me asking, it’s about someone coming forward, without prompting, and offering to help!

One day, some 10 years ago, John Renforth called me. John is a technologist in the School of Media and Design. He wanted to volunteer his services as a trumpet player for the College’s Remembrance Day ceremony, and the rest is history.

Every year since then, John has played The Last Post and The Reveille as part of the ceremony. He humbly trails at the end of the ceremonial procession from C Building to the Marketplace Food Court, where he makes his way over to the far side of the stage, off stage. His performance of the two pieces is always flawless and it has become an integral part of the ceremony.

While I do not know what John’s day to day work entails, I’m pretty sure that playing a trumpet is not part of his job description! What I do know is that, even though this act of generosity only happens once a year, it happens every year without hesitation, without fanfare, and brings a level of dignity and honour to the College’s ceremony that embodies our core values of caring, learning, integrity and respect.

John has made a difference.
Thank you John!

Nominated by: Chris Brennan 
Presented on: February 24, 2016

Akram Al-RahhalAkram Al-Rahha

I have been in the same office with Akram for over a year now. I confidently assert that Akram is a fully dedicated teacher to his profession. He is always on time and has never been absent even under severe circumstances of being sick.

As a teacher, I find him not only very popular among his students, but he is also a highly effective element in their lives. Saudi students have a very special learning style and most of them need sincere help in acquiring different life skills. I find Akram an expert in doing this. Although he is still in his early thirties, students see him as a father and they trust his advice.

As a team player, he comes on top of the list of cooperative teachers to the extent that he asks for extra load. One recent incident was when one of our colleagues, who share the same classes with Akram, had to leave for emergency and Akram stepped forward to take over all his classes in order not to disturb neither the students nor other colleagues with changes in the schedule.

The first person that jumps in the admin mind when needing someone for a voluntary activity or students-related actions is Akram.
I do find Akram as a very valuable asset to the place and I will definitely fight for him to be in my team next trimester.

Nominated by: Ahmed Tageldin
Presented on: February 2, 2016

Jamie Bramburger and Cheryl JensenJamie Bramburger

Pembroke Campus

Take a trip down memory lane with us to Friday, November 27, just days before the 103rd Grey Cup. The entire Ottawa Valley was getting ready to settle in for the weekend and tune in to one of Canada’s premiere sporting spectacles.

But all was not quiet at Pembroke campus. No rest or relaxation for Jamie Bramburger! Jamie was busy booking flights, booking hotels, buying tickets, taking media calls, picking up packages, and driving frantically down to Ottawa, trying to get a team of lumberjacks to ‘The Peg’ to watch (what we hoped would be) the REDBLACKS taking home Albert Grey’s trophy.

And if sorting out those logistics did not sound like enough complication – trying to get a team of five, plus Jamie, plus their logging equipment to a packed sporting match some 2,000 kilometres away on two days notice – then try to imagine the look on the team’s faces when the rug got pulled out from under them! Just as the Lumber Joes and Jill were getting ready to r-r-r-rev up their chainsaws in support of our REDBLACKS, the CFL informed the team their offer to perform on the sidelines had been rescinded.

Thankfully, some more back and forth exchanges took place that Saturday – including media interviews from the airport with dramatic admissions that the students were about to board the plane not knowing of the disappointment awaiting them in Winnipeg – and, eventually, a compromise was reached. The loggersports team was allowed to stand on the sidelines at Investors Group Field. Plus, the team’s skills were featured nationally on TSN and a variety of other sympathetic news outlets.

This brief writeup barely scratches the surface of Jamie’s efforts to get our Loggersports team to the Grey Cup, and does not even begin to acknowledge his outstanding above-and-beyond efforts every day on behalf of Pembroke campus and Algonquin College. However, we were determined that the work behind the scenes on this particular effort would not remain an untold story. Jamie’s efforts on behalf of our student loggersports team were both commendable and praiseworthy, and the passion he brings to his work every day is inspiring. Thank you Jamie for all you do!

Nominated by: Phil Gaudreau
Presented on: December 9, 2015

Jennifer_2743Jennifer Vanderburg

Library – Student Support Services

On Friday, July 10, 2015 a student came up to the Library front desk at 3:50pm. The student said he saw the lights flicker (a sign the library is closing in 10 minutes). Jennifer and another staff member explained that the Library closed at 4pm on Fridays in the summer and directed the student to the posted hours of operation signs around the Library. The Student informed Jennifer he had just started an online test at one of the computers in the Library and if he logged out he would not be able to log back in to complete the test and he would get a zero.

Jennifer consulted with colleagues and our acting key contact as our Manager was away on annual leave. Jennifer personally decided she would stay after the Library closed to allow the student the hour he needed to complete his online test. She was not directed to do so and the idea to resolve the situation in this manner was hers.

I personally believe Jennifer acted in line with the College’s core values and supported the student beyond what was expected of her to ensure the student had every chance at success moving forward.

Nominated by: Joel Nethercote-Devlin
Presented on: November 30, 2015

Rob MoreRobert More

“Above and beyond the call of duty” and “Service with a smile”

These statements sum up Rob More’s attitude to Here2Help. For me, like most of us, a cranky laptop or a temperamental operating system is the low point of my day, unless of course, I am lucky enough to get help from Rob, a Technical Client Service Representative in ITS. Rob makes having an IT issue a joy, … well, almost. Regardless of the size of the challenge, the ridiculousness of the question or the urgency of the matter, Rob finds a solution with patience, humour and good cheer. Every time, all the time.

“Above and beyond” are regular occurrences for Rob. Of special note is the extra support that Rob continues to extend to a learning partner on contract with the College. An outsider, she is often challenged by the quirks of her loaner laptop or our internal systems – Outlook, VPN and the like. Rob is her go-to guy; he never fails to provide service which is courteous, attentive, responsive, efficient and supportive. The impression he has made on her has been profound.

Folks in our service areas represent the face of the College to many – students, contractors, fellow employees. Algonquin always looks pretty fantastic when Rob is that face!

It is my honour to nominate Rob More for a President’s Star Award.

Nominated by: Anonymous
Presented on: November 26, 2015

Catherine MorrisCatherine Morris

Catherine saved the day for four students and myself last week during a midterm. The particulars involve Catherine responding to my call asking for 30 minutes of her time and if she was available. She did not ask for details, just said ‘Yes, I can help you’. During that time, she delivered exam sheets to CSD for me while I headed to the classroom to deliver the midterm. The reason for the mix-up was a one time problem but none the less, a problem. I could not have been in two places at once and she saved the day. I was so impressed with her can-do attitude, which is exactly what the students (and I) needed at that moment. Thank you Catherine for being you!

Nominated by: Moira McDonald
Presented on: November 26, 2015

Helena Merriam_2655Helena Merriam

Library and Information Technician Program

As part of re-elevating Academic Advising as a key priority for 2015-2016, several training sessions were offered from August 24 to September. Part of this training was to review the use of the Algonquin Student Tracking System ACSAS. Helena who has made really good use of the system and knows it quite well, took the time out of her schedule to deliver this component to all the sections at Woodroffe. She was extremely generous at a time of the year when she had many other duties to complete in order to get ready for the start of the academic year. She was pleasant, funny and precise. She made a significant contribution to this institutional priority and she deserves to be celebrated for it.

Nominated by: Michel Savard
Presented on: November 23, 2015

ITS card team  - photo oneITS card team  - photo twoBryan Sangster, Scott Liu, Patrick Lambert, Cam Davis and Brad Pick

ITS /Card Services Project Team

Planning projects with multiple departments in the college can, of course be challenging, partly because stakeholders haven’t worked together before, and have different expectations. The College/OC Transpo U-Pass project involved stakeholders from the Registrar’s Office, Card Services, Finance, ITS and the Ancillary Services Marketing Group. We believed we had identified every deliverable, and all the risks had been captured and logged, however, very close to the printing and distribution of the U-Pass cards for the students it was discovered, through testing, that one critical piece of software had been omitted and was vital if the data was to be shared with the application that printed the cards. It happens sometimes, despite rigorous planning, that there are “unknown unknowns” in projects and what can determine the caliber of the Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) is how well they deal with this unexpected event in a time-sensitive project. These guys were phenomenal.

Bryan Sangster from Card Services, Scott Liu and Patrick Lambert from the IT Applications Group, Cam Davis and Brad Pick from Infrastructure Services Team, pulled the stops out and spent several days figuring out how to configure a new piece of software and test it between two recently installed applications. It was a tense experience, overtime was necessary, and they became very tired but at no time did they give up. They all displayed the very spirit of Algonquin College by working as a strong team in a respectful manner with a single purpose – to get those cards printed for the students – and they succeeded. What made it so incredible is that they hadn’t worked together before yet still performed to the best of their abilities, and this is why I am nominating them all.

Nominated by: Cinds Chapman
Presented on: November 23, 2015

Martine PlouffeMartine Plouffe

Centre for Continuing and Online Learning

At the beginning of September 2014, Martine became a successful candidate to fill a maternity leave position of Administrative Coordinator in CCOL commencing the first week of September. This is the busiest time for CCOL in all areas but especially in both of Martine’s roles, her position as the Student Success Specialist in CCOL and the new role of the Administrative Coordinator. Martine took on all tasks with a professional, positive manner and unfailing dedication to student success. Martine spent many hours past the College usual business hours attending to all of the tasks in her new role to meet all of the requirements of that position. At the same time, she still fulfilled her responsibilities as the Student Success Specialist meeting with students in person and via Skype to meet all of their needs. I often hear Martine speak with students and she n! ever ceases to amaze me. Even in most difficult situations Martine’s manner is extremely positive and professional, she always goes above and beyond of what may be required to ensure that the students’ needs are met. She doesn’t just process their program/course enrollments, she makes sure they understand what is required and makes sure they have all of the information and resources to make them successful in their studies. Martine provides students with encouragement and helps them make sound academic and, often, life decisions. Martine is also very engaged with Program Coordinators liaising with them on all matters concerning students’ academic success.

As a colleague and office mate, Martine is always cheerful and willing to help wherever needed. Martine continues to successfully fulfill both roles for over two months as her position has just been filled and the replacement will begin on November 17th. It is a pleasure to work beside her.

Nominated by: Krystyna Rybczynska
Presented on: October 7, 2015

Lisa RootsLisa Roots


Lisa has lead the Spread the Net student challenge for three years in a row . She was the one who brought this challenge to the attention of the college in the first place, and spear-headed the first year’s win. She went on to lead students in the second win as well, and we will learn the results of this year’s campaign very shortly (although, by the time you read this submission, I’m sure you will already know that the team was again successful!!

Lisa has gone above and beyond in her dedication to this cause, and in her leadership and engagement with students in the Police Foundations Program. She has been recognized for her efforts in dozens of ways, and I’m sure others have submitted Star nominations for her….but I thought I would do my part with a nomination as well. It is deserved. I’m impressed by her tenacity and dedication to this event.

Nominated by: Cat Baron
Presented on: October 7, 2015

Go here for recipients prior to Fall 2015 ->