Meet Dawson’s 2024 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Medal

Nominated by Student Services staff Sandra Gravel and Trudy Ste. Croix, Dawson student Kiera Robak received the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Medal at a ceremony on April 20.

The commendation recognizes sustained volunteer involvement or an inspiring and determined attitude with a positive influence on society.

Sandra and Trudy called Kiera “a dedicated student who has a passion for social justice” in their nomination: “She has accumulated over 300 hours of volunteering on campus at Dawson College, without compromising her academic success. She began her volunteering journey during Dawson’s First Year Student Orientation Days in August 2022, despite being a first-year student herself.

“As part of the Law, Society and Justice program, Kiera is focused on intersectionality, civic responsibility, and critical thinking. It is in Kiera’s nature to step up and help whenever it is needed with a real aptitude for teamwork.

“An avid environmentalist, she joined Sustainable Dawson and the Green Earth Club to educate herself about the impacts of climate change and to get involved. She is an active volunteer with the Blue Ring Society and a member of the Dawson Feminist Union. She volunteered for the fundraising event Artists in Bloom and spearheaded numerous other fundraising endeavours, such as working towards implementing the distribution of free menstrual products for Dawson students and running donation drives for the local homeless population.

“One of Kiera’s most impressive projects was the Mahsa Amini Initiative, which she founded along with four other students. This trifold project focused on spreading awareness of global women’s rights issues highlighted by the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, fundraising over 15 thousand dollars to subsidize a scholarship for refugee and international students, and progressing toward the creation of an interactive student mentorship program. The project won the provincial Forces Avenir award in the category of Mutual Aid, Peace and Justice.”

The Communications Office did a Q & A with Kiera after the award ceremony.

What does it mean to you to be recognized with this honor of being selected for the Lieutenant-Governor’s Youth Medal?

Kiera: Being recognized with this honour means to me that I have been able to make a difference in the community. It gives me confidence to continue following my passion and dedication to helping others around me.

How does it make you feel?

Kiera: Honestly, I was surprised that I was nominated. It never crossed my mind to reach for recognition in my volunteer work. Slowly this year, Trudy Ste. Croix, Michelle Lee, Gabrielle Dostaler and Sandra Gravel have been showing me that it is alright to apply for recognition alongside my community service and that it is not wrong to feel proud of my accomplishments. When Trudy and Sandra nominated me for the Medal, I didn’t quite know how to feel and was shocked that I ended up as the Dawson candidate. Now, I am simply proud of myself for finding a group of people who believe in me. The Medal itself is not a reason for me to be super emotional about it but the path I took to be honoured with it is something that I am grateful for.

What are you most proud of?

Kiera: I am most proud of my involvement in the Mahsa Amini Initiative. It is a project that myself and my friends, Shaneli and Kiana, began in Fall 2022. We began the project with the intention of raising awareness about women’s issues and the conflict in Iran. It has blossomed into a full-blown scholarship that is now issued every semester to two students. I am also proud that the torch was able to get carried over to the Dawson Student Union with Candice (Weijia) Zhong and the future executives who will continue the project. The initiative has received a lot of support from students and staff alike, which was amazing to see.

Any particular message you would like to give?

Kiera:I would like to tell people to get involved in the Dawson community and their local community. It may be a cheesy message and one that is told by many, but it has definitely changed my life. I was able to find friendships that will last forever, and I was able to create a deeper connection with my community that would not be possible without getting involved.

What was special about your time at Dawson? What did you like best about Dawson? How did Dawson support you to help you advance and achieve?

Kiera: My time at Dawson was special in the way that I learned to be independent and found a love for community involvement. My two years here were not only about studies. I was able to dedicate myself to helping the Dawson community and found immense pleasure in doing so. It alleviated a lot of the stress that comes with post-secondary studies. I was able to find a strong support system that encouraged me to follow my heart rather than to stick on the strict path I had when coming into CEGEP with the intention of studying law. My favorite part of Dawson is the willingness of the staff, faculty and professionals to be supportive and genuinely caring about any issue that I encountered. They helped me navigate the unfamiliar world of a post-secondary institution and helped me manage my workload. Campus Life, the Dawson Student Union, Sustainable Dawson and the First-Year Students’ Office have been especially vital in my development as a student and as a person.

What is the next chapter for you? What are your plans for this fall, for university?

Kiera: The next chapter for me is university. This fall, I will be beginning my undergraduate studies at Concordia with a major in Human Relations and a minor in Sustainability. I do, however, plan to continue volunteering and working for Dawson whenever I can, as I believe I found a home here.

Any other thoughts that you would like to share?

Kiera: I would like to particularly thank Trudy Ste. Croix and Sandra Gravel for the nomination and continuous support. The entire Campus Life team has had my back throughout my time at Dawson and helped me transform into who I am today.

Last Modified: May 9, 2024