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Outstanding Young Alumni Award

The Acadia Alumni Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of an 澳门六合彩资料 alum whose endeavours have distinguished them professionally or in the community and brought honour to the University. This award is intended to honour Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD).

Nomination deadline: July 31 annually. Click here for a Nomination Form.

2023 Recipient

Shannon Boldon ('13)

By Fred Sgambati (鈥83, 鈥85)

Acadia alum Shannon Boldon has an overriding ambition as a health policy consultant: to effect positive change and make a difference in people鈥檚 lives.

Currently based in Toronto, ON, the 2013 biochemistry grad strives to improve the knowledge and understanding of different diseases and advance health policies for better patient outcomes. An intelligent, thoughtful and determined individual who is committed to contributing to society in a meaningful way, Shannon is, indeed, making a difference and why she is the 2023 recipient of the Acadia Alumni Association鈥檚 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

After earning an MSc from University College London (UCL) in Global Health and Development in 2015, Shannon interned at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland as a data analyst, working with an Ebola response team to clean, merge and analyze the Ebola patient data coming to the Geneva office from mobile clinics in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, deepening her insights into health issues in the developing world.

This work paved the way for Shannon to join The Health Policy Partnership in London, UK in 2016, initially as a researcher focused on enhancing care for sarcoma patients in Europe and beginning the following year as Senior Researcher. Through research and expert interviews, the team was able to outline the steps needed to improve sarcoma care across Europe, with findings presented to policymakers at a debate held in the European Parliament.

Shannon later worked to build and grow the All.Can initiative, a multi-stakeholder policy platform that aims to improve the efficiency of cancer care. She played a key role in establishing All.Can as a free-standing international non-profit organization. Impressively, she also registered four publications during her tenure with The Health Policy Partnership.
In 2019, Shannon established her own consulting company, focusing on health policy, and has continued to work with a global client list to improve healthcare. Her clients include global pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organizations, and specialist health consulting companies. She has a strong focus on cancer (bladder and lymphoma), rare diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

Named the Acadia Students鈥 Union Junior Student of the Year Award recipient in 2012, Shannon was a member of the women鈥檚 varsity volleyball team and earned Academic All-Canadian honours that year as well. Academic All-Canadians are those exceptional student-athletes who achieve an academic standing of 80 per cent or better while playing on one of their university's varsity sport teams. She also founded the Acadia Chapter of Global Brigades and was extensively involved with the program for her final two years as a student. In 2014, she received the Global Brigade Kaplan Course Scholarship, awarded to leaders who have promoted exceptional holistic growth and development of Global Brigades on their local campuses.

鈥淪ince her time as a student at Acadia, Shannon has demonstrated remarkable compassion and intelligence, which now informs her accomplished career in global health policy,鈥 says Acadia Alumni Association President Matt Rios (鈥14). 鈥淗er commitment to a 鈥榟uman-centric鈥 approach to health policy is something we all desperately need, and it lives at the very heart of what Acadia strives to communicate to its students. She has brought great pride to the University, and I, like many other Acadia alum, will be cheering her on as she continues to make a difference in the world. I am honoured to acknowledge her as this year鈥檚 recipient of our Outstanding Young Alumni Award.鈥

2022 Recipient

Lucas Oickle ('13)

By Fred Sgambati (鈥83, 鈥85)

To say that 澳门六合彩资料鈥檚 Lucas Oickle (鈥13) has hit all the right notes during his career before and after graduation would be an understatement.

A gifted and talented composer and educator, Lucas obtained a Bachelor of Music from Acadia in 2013, studying with JUNO and East Coast Music Award-winning composers Dr. Derek Charke and Dinuk Wijeratne, and a Master鈥檚 of Music in Composition in 2015 from the University of British Columbia.

As an undergrad at Acadia, Lucas composed a dizzying array of more than 25 works during four short years of study and participated in the Gamelan Ensemble under the direction of Acadia School of Music instructor Ken Shorley. He composed an exciting piece for the ensemble that was workshopped and premiered in 2012, which Shorley characterized as 鈥渇resh, energetic and intriguing. This piece pays homage to traditional Sudanese music while forging a sound territory all its own.鈥

Shorley also engineered and produced a recording of a new work for cello and harp written by Lucas for India Gailey (鈥17), another dynamic Acadia graduate.

Since graduating from Acadia, Lucas has composed over 30 new works and had numerous commissions and performances by professional ensembles. His continued success as a composer has brought great pride to Acadia and is one of the reasons why he is the 2022 recipient of the Alumni Association鈥檚 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

鈥淚t鈥檚 always gratifying to see students embrace their passion with verve and determination,鈥 says Acadia Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath (鈥75). 鈥淟ucas Oickle came to Acadia with impressive credentials and honed his talents tremendously during a wonderful undergraduate tenure, exploring his passion and developing his craft to a fine edge that has afforded him numerous awards and catapulted him to national and international acclaim. His incredible work ethic and humble nature represent the very best of what we hold dear in our alumni community. We are justifiably proud of all he has accomplished and delighted to acknowledge him as this year鈥檚 Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient.鈥

Charke writes in a letter supporting Oickle鈥檚 nomination that 鈥淚 had the distinct pleasure of teaching Lucas during his undergraduate degree at 澳门六合彩资料. You will not find a harder working, more honest, and genuinely enthusiastic person.鈥 Charke notes also that Lucas has produced a staggering amount in a short period since leaving Acadia and has 鈥渕y full endorsement for this award 鈥 without reservation.鈥

Outside of composing, Lucas is a certified English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructor through the University of Toronto, specializing in teaching business English and test preparation courses. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Vancouver Pro Musica and Sound of Dragon Society.

Currently an associate composer at the Canadian Music Centre, Lucas now resides in the Kansai area of Japan with his wife, daughter and two cats.

2021 Recipient

Kayla Mansfield-Brown ('14, '19)

The Acadia Alumni Association is pleased to announce that two-time graduate Kayla Mansfield-Brown (鈥楧ancing Deer鈥 - 2014, 2019) is the 2021 recipient of the Acadia Alumni Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Her impact as a woman, mother of four, Mi鈥檏maw leader and proud Acadia graduate who completed a Master鈥檚 of Education in Leadership at Acadia last year is difficult to overstate. A strong and outspoken advocate for social and environmental justice, gender equity and Indigenous rights, Kayla received in 2018 the 鈥楩earless Leader鈥 Award from One Woman, an international organization dedicated to female empowerment, and earned the Graduate Student of the Year award at Acadia in 2019 for her commitment to academics and community involvement. More recently, Kayla was the recipient of the Dwight Dorey Youth Advocacy Award, presented to an Indigenous youth by the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which works to bring awareness to Indigenous rights, culture, education and language.

In making the announcement, Acadia Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath (鈥75) says, 鈥淜ayla Mansfield-Brown鈥檚 commitment to sharing important and valuable information about her culture, Indigenous rights and promoting social justice for marginalized communities is a powerful and poignant example for all of us. She is a fearless and determined advocate who enhances our level of education, encourages us to be more mindful, and communicates her passion for communities and change. She also represents our Acadia alumni constituency honourably and well, and I am thrilled to acknowledge and applaud her as this year鈥檚 Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient.鈥

Kayla has served as an Aboriginal Client Service Representative for RBC, is an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper and Facilitator, was an Indigenous Youth Representative for a provincial political party, and an Indigenous Community Engagement Coordinator at houdinidesign Architects. Kayla is currently working with the Aboriginal Peoples Training and Employment Commission as a Support Worker for the Native Council of Nova Scotia.

She notes that 鈥楧ancing Deer鈥 is her Mi鈥檏maq name, shared with her in a sacred ceremony by Mi鈥檏maw Elder, Nancy Whynot. Dancing, she says, 鈥渋llustrates the way I carry myself through life鈥檚 adversities, and in honouring the traditional dances of our nation. Lentuk (deer) signifies my small legs, but the strength they endure. Deer also have the ability to recognize energy, and willingness to protect their young.鈥

In the winter of 2020, Kayla lectured CODE 1963 - Decolonizing Community Development, under the Department of Community Development. This course was the first of its kind to be offered in the department and explored Indigenous ways of knowing in contrast to colonial ways of knowing, to understand decolonizing practices for working with Canadian communities.

Kayla has been a First Nations speaker at numerous conferences and seminars, a guest lecturer at Acadia, served on the planning committee and presented at Acadia鈥檚 Arts and Literature Mawiomi to name a few of her many community engagement credits.

Her supervisor at houdinidesign, Lisa Tondino, says, 鈥渁s a Mi鈥檏maw woman, Kayla has embraced the opportunity through her community work to facilitate important dialogues, sharing and peace circles, has influenced the way my firm approaches architectural projects with the community 鈥 through 鈥榯wo-eyed seeing鈥 whereby projects are viewed from multiple perspectives from both Western and Indigenous ways of seeing and interpreting information. We have taken the goals of Reconciliation into the scope of our work with the help of Kayla鈥檚 knowledge and education.鈥

2020 Recipient

Paul McFarland ('10)

Paul is an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs鈥 organization in the National Hockey League. He graduated from Acadia with a BBA in 2010 and worked previously as an accountant and teacher. He was named assistant coach of the OHL鈥檚 Oshawa Generals in 2012 and the rest is history.

In May 2019, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that McFarland had been hired as an assistant coach. Prior to that, the Richmond Hill native, 34, had spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers, building on an impressive resume that included three seasons as head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs (2014-17) and two seasons as an assistant with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

McFarland played four seasons in the OHL, recording 113 points (50-63-113) in 246 games between the Kitchener Rangers (2002-04) and Windsor Spitfires (2005-06). The left-winger won an OHL Championship and Memorial Cup Championship with Kitchener in 2003 and in his final season with Windsor, he served as captain. Following his OHL career, McFarland played four seasons for 澳门六合彩资料 and was captain for three (2007-10).

A leader on and off the ice, McFarland is a three-time Academic All-Canadian, S.M.I.L.E. volunteer and was twice named 澳门六合彩资料鈥檚 Male Citizen of the Year. The Paul McFarland Award, established in 2010 and named in his honour, recognizes the combination of athletics, academics and community involvement at Acadia.

McFarland鈥檚 wife Kelly is also an Acadia graduate, having earned a BA in 2008 and Bachelor of Education in 2010. They have two sons, Cooper and Keaton.

2019 Recipient

Heather MacDonald (鈥09)

Heather MacDonald (鈥09) is the Executive Director of the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, a charity and community hub located in Dartmouth with the mission of empowering youth ages 12-19 to access their individual creativity and a path to success. MacDonald brings a multidisciplinary approach to her work, having worked in training, facilitation and program development for organizations such as Junior Achievement, YMCA and Scouts Canada. During the course of her career, she has partnered with corporate organizations, governments, non-profit organizations and small businesses to build relationships to improve the well-being of communities. MacDonald鈥檚 deeply rooted passion for service leadership, her work ethic and her desire to help others comes from growing up in an entrepreneurial family in rural Nova Scotia. As a youth herself, MacDonald participated in music and theatre programs that have shaped who she is today. She has a Recreation Management degree from Acadia with minor in Business. She spent her first two years at Acadia in the School of Music. In 2015, she graduated from the Executive MBA program at Saint Mary鈥檚 University and was selected to participate in the 21Leaders for the 21st Century Program. MacDonald is also an active volunteer with Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon and DASC 鈥 Dartmouth Adult Services Centre. Her love for lifelong learning reflects a determination to help youth and communities succeed.

2018 Recipient

Dr. Aaron Shafer (鈥07)

Dr. Aaron Shafer graduated from 澳门六合彩资料 in 2007 with an MSc in Biology. A distinguished scholar and researcher, Dr. Shafer published eight peer-reviewed papers while still a graduate student at Acadia. Biology professor and mentor Dr. Don Stewart said of Dr. Shafer that 鈥渉e was the most outstanding student that I have had in nearly 20 years of teaching, and his record of successes after leaving Acadia highlights how exceptional an academic he is.鈥 Dr. Shafer completed a PhD at the University of Alberta in 2012, and his thesis was selected in 2013 by the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies as the best PhD thesis in Canada in the fields of science, medicine and engineering. He has received the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (valued at $70,000 per year for two years) and after a successful stint at Upsala University in Sweden, Dr. Shafer is now an Assistant Professor at Trent University in Peterborough, ON. He is deeply committed to his profession and his students, and is a strong advocate of scientific endeavour among youth in Canada, learned societies and stakeholder groups nationwide.

2017 Recipient

Ms. Leslie Lewis ('10)

Leslie Lewis (鈥10) is the 2017 recipient of the Associated Alumni of 澳门六合彩资料鈥檚 Young Alumni Award. An outstanding student, Leslie was named Acadia鈥檚 Student of the Year and earned the Frank H. Sobey Award for Business Excellence in her graduating year. Since then, she has forged a successful career in finance and investment, working in Toronto first with CIBC and later the Ontario Teachers鈥 Pension Plan, and then serving as International Finance and Trade Policy Advisor to former federal finance minister Joe Oliver in Ottawa. Currently, Leslie is an associate with Onex Partners in Toronto, making investment recommendations to senior members to acquire billion-dollar businesses. Ever mindful of community, she has a strong commitment to volunteerism, serving as an Action Canada Fellow addressing hunger in the Arctic in 2013-14 and with Rise Asset Development as an Investment Committee Member (2012-15) providing start-up financing and business plan analysis to entrepreneurs who have overcome mental illness. The Young Alumni Award was presented to Leslie at the annual Social on the Hill in Ottawa on November 28, 2016.

2016 Recipients

Mr. Michael Kennedy (鈥05)

Mr. Kennedy graduated from Acadia with a BBA in 2005. He went on to complete a MPACC at the University of Saskatchewan and achieved his CA designation in 2008. Mike鈥檚 career has covered a wide spectrum of business, volunteerism, entrepreneurship and social activism. He is the Co-Founder of Awesome Halifax and launched the Canadian Bacon Cookhouse and H20 Golf. Mike has received numerous awards and acknowledgments, including Nova Scotia鈥檚 CA of the year in 2010 and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year award in 2014. He is a community volunteer extraordinaire contributing to Canadian Blood Services, East Coast Music Association, ALS Nova Scotia and the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Mr. Chansey Veinotte (鈥10)

Mr. Veinotte graduated from 澳门六合彩资料 with a BScH in Biology in 2010. Two years later he completed a Master鈥檚 of Science at Dalhousie University. Chansey is currently a Teaching Assistant in two Biology courses at Dalhousie: he is a Senior Instructor for the Prep 101 Biology Course and is the Laboratory Manager and Research Associate at the IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University. Since graduating from Acadia, Chansey has received several academic awards and co-authored numerous papers. His work in medical research has been recognized far and wide. In addition to all of this, Mr. Veinotte volunteers his time with health education in the public school system and is the founding member of Duathlon of Champions. In his spare time, Chansey is a musician and enjoys sailing.

Leslie Lewis



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