Nipissing student Shandon Ashitei awarded 3M National Student Fellowship for outstanding leadership

Nipissing University student, Shandon Ashitei, is one of just 10 students from across the country to receive the prestigious 2022 3M National Student Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding leadership. A well-respected leader, known for his excellence in the classroom, on campus and in the community, Ashitei is the first student from Nipissing University to receive the Fellowship. 

The 3M National Student Fellowship is sponsored by both 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). Founded in 2012, the 3M National Student Fellowship honours ten undergraduate students in Canada who have demonstrated qualities of outstanding leadership and who embrace a vision of education that enhances their academic experience and beyond. 

Drawing on his experience as the captain of the Lakers Men’s Basketball team, and co-founder of the Nipissing University Black Association for Student Expression (NUBASE), Ashitei’s application to the Fellowship highlighted his work to create sustainable change at Nipissing University and to uplift BIPOC students.  

“I am incredibly honoured to be named among Canada's top educational leaders,” said Ashitei upon learning he was selected as a member of the 2022 cohort. “It's been a privilege to leave an impact on the institution and light the path for other students to follow in my footsteps. This award should be celebrated as a collective achievement rather than an individual accolade. So many people have been instrumental to my success, and I am truly grateful. I can't wait to meet, collaborate and learn from my fellow award winners in hopes of continuing my mission to improve equity and inclusion in higher education and beyond.” 

Ashitei, who recently completed a Bachelor of Physical & Health Education, is no stranger to hard work. As a five-time USPORTS Academic All-Canadian, he balances academic and athletic excellence alongside campus involvement. He has been involved in countless initiatives throughout his time at Nipissing including the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC), NUperspective consent campaign, and notably working behind-the-scenes on the #NUnity T-shirt campaign, which marked the athletic department's first-ever effort to celebrate Black History Month and raise awareness about anti-Black racism. In 2021, Shandon was the recipient of a Dave Marshall Leadership Award in the Campus category. In the fall, Shandon will pursue a Master’s of Health Science in Medical Physiology at the University of Toronto.  

Nipissing University President & Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Kevin Wamsley, who enthusiastically supported Ashitei’s nomination, was thrilled to hear the news of the award: 

“Shandon has made the most of every minute of his precious time at Nipissing, from the court to the classroom but, in particular, the impact of his social justice work and, in part, the formation of NUBASE, will have a permanent effect on this university. This is one incredible young man.”  

Ashitei credits Nipissing with offering him the support to apply for the Fellowship, as well as the platforms and opportunities for sustained community involvement. 

“Although I am Nipissing's first 3M National Student Fellow, I know I won't be the last,” he said. “I want to encourage current students to build upon and create their own legacies at this remarkable institution. Nipissing's future is bright, and I thank the university for giving students the platform to enhance the post-secondary experience for years to come.”   

Taijon Eccleston-Graham, a friend and teammate of Ashitei’s shared his excitement upon hearing the news: 

“To have been his teammate for three seasons, along with co-founding NUBASE together has been an amazing journey. His passion and dedication to extracurricular activities outside the realm of sports has only inspired me to continue to expand the foundation that we built together during his time at Nipissing. Thanks to him, I have another level of excellence to reach and I hope to one day fill his shoes by becoming the next Nipissing student to receive this prestigious award." 

Ashitei will be welcomed into the Fellowship by STLHE and 3M Canada at the STLHE Annual Conference to be held June 7-10, 2022 in Ottawa.  

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