MSU Students of Distinction Awards: fall 2017 recipients

November 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

The MSU Students of Distinction Award is granted in recognition of individuals or groups who have made a significant contribution to the betterment of the MSU or student life at McMaster. This award acknowledges outstanding accomplishments and exceptional dedication. Several individuals and groups were presented with the MSU Students of Distinction Award this fall. MSU President, Chukky Ibe, met with each honouree to thank them for their valued work and to present them with an MSU pin and a certificate of appreciation.


Gachi Isaa


Gachi Isaa is in her first year at McMaster and became involved in the Mac community as soon as she received her acceptance to the university. Already, she is a co-president of the McMaster Womanists. Gachi is a strong advocate for a fair and equitable society. In addition to her work at McMaster, Gachi has made a positive difference in the Hamilton community at the Hamilton Wentworth School District where she teaches and mentors high school students in navigating anti-black racism. Through the McMaster Womanists, Gachi looks to create safe and positive spaces for black and racialized women on our campus. Gachi is a rock in her community and continues to uplift everyone around her.

The Interfaith Council

The Interfaith Council is made up of representatives of faith based communities on campus. They are a diverse, and eclectic collection of students who represent the diversity we have at McMaster. The Interfaith Council has been integral in designing the Student Activity Building and fitness expansion project. Under the leadership of capable chair, Max Lightstone, and reliable secretary, Sabra Salim, this group of students continue to lift each other up, and create programs that all Marauders can benefit from.

Nicole Yan


As the Coordinator of MSU Shinerama, Nicole Yan led her team in a record breaking online fundraising spree. Nicole’s passion, and dedication to her work is phenomenal. Because of Nicole’s leadership, Shinerama has had an amazing year. Planning for Welcome Week, Nicole went from 33 confirmed shining spots, to 133 in less than two weeks. She is a relationship builder who supports everyone around her.

Brett Klassen


Brett Klassen is a student leader, advocate, DJ, and hip-hopper. Brett also hosts Lace-up, a weekly CFMU radio show featuring hip-hop and politics. He was the co-president of the Beasley neighborhood association and is an advocate for folks across the city. Brett is known to many Hamiltonians through a story in the Spectator about confronting individuals slurring Islamophobic commentary at his neighbours. Brett is also engaged at RE-create Art Studio as an arts instructor, and recently at the NGEN youth centre where he supports youth on a daily basis though recreational activities. His service is humbling, and reminds us all that there are several ways we can be of service to our community.

Merima Menzildzic



Through her role as the Training Research, and Resource Assistant of the MSU, Merima Menzildzic has been integral in supporting the peer support networks within the organization. From creation and implementation of training, to supporting students in crisis, Merima has had a powerful impact on the organization. She has demonstrated strong leadership and exceptional dedication to her role. 

Mac Bread Bin


With the strong leadership of Director, Taylor Mertens, and Assistant Director, Hannah Philip, Mac Bread Bin has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the MSU. Taylor and Hannah consistently advocate for food security on campus, alongside their team: Melissa Paglialunga, Grace Bryson, Lily Eskin, Tiffany Sun, and Chris Kim. Their passion for the work that they do and commitment to students who are food insecure is frequently displayed through acts of dedication. With the opening of the Food Collective Centre, initiation of Second Course, and continued efforts to expand the Good Food Box program to include delivery, Mac Bread Bin has had a strong year thus far.

Cassie Simons


Cassie Simons is the president of McMaster International and Exchange Club. Cassie continues to show her dedication to students who are new to Canada.  As president of MIX she was an advocate to the Student Success Centre and hosted several orientation events for international and exchange students. Despite obstacles and lack of financial support, Cassie persevered and ensured successful events. Going forward, Cassie hopes to build positive relationships between her club, student affairs, and other student groups.

McMaster School of Bhangra


McMaster School of Bhangra teaches the art of Bhangra (a style of dance) to McMaster and the Hamilton community free of charge. This dedicated team of students strives to promote healthy living through dance in an inclusive environment. Their contribution to Welcome Week, through story and dance performance was exceptional. MSBA continues to build a campus culture that is dynamic, healthy and inclusive.

Taha Arshad


Taha Arshad has been engaged across the McMaster campus as a community advisor, a Thespian, and most recently the Resident Orientation Planner. His dedication to supporting McMaster students was especially visible in his co-ordination of activities for incoming students this past Welcome Week. He led Residence Orientation Advisors and Residence Orientation Representatives in a strong welcome for the Class of 2021. Taha introduced programs that supported student artists, and prioritized health initiatives. He also worked to create strong alternative programming in residences.

Marina Bredin


Through her work as Welcome Week Faculty Coordinator, Marina Bredin demonstrated exceptional dedication to supporting her community. Marina led her team in taking significant risks with innovative programming. Through Marina’s strong planning capabilities, her new ideas were well-received and skillfully executed.

Through Monday Night Lights, Sound and Colour, and an incredible Faculty Fusion, Marina worked hard to create memorable experiences for new Marauders.

Allie Malizia-Raper


As the Residence Orientation Advisor for Whidden Hall, Allie Malizia-Raper’s dedication to the McMaster community was strong throughout Welcome Week. Her exemplary leadership skills allowed her team of Residence Orientation Representatives to be exceptionally organized and create incredible experiences for incoming students. With dedication, Allie led her team to winning the Residence Cup. Each day of Welcome Week, she remained committed to ensuring students arriving on campus were having the best possible welcome to the McMaster community.


Nominations are always welcome and may be delivered to the MSU office, in MUSC 201. Those who know of a group or individual whose efforts have had a positive impact on the McMaster Students Union or within the McMaster community may click here for information on nominations.

Posted in: General, President, McMaster University, MSU Departments & Services | No comments yet
No comments have been posted yet. Be the first!
Icon_online-surveys Ongoing MSU Surveys
Icon-twitter MSU_McMaster Tweets
  • Logo-for-matt-square_normal 1 day ago The 22nd annual MSU Charity Ball is coming soon! 👀 😍 Get your Tier 2 tickets before prices increase in January:…
  • Logo-for-matt-square_normal 2 days ago RT @MSU_WGEN: TRANSforming Mac begins tomorrow! Here are some further details on what the week will look like as well as details on our clo…
  • Logo-for-matt-square_normal 4 days ago RT @msucampusevents: Have you ever wanted to test how much you really know about The Office? Join us this coming Wednesday for a chance to…
Follow MSU_McMaster