News & Events
Fanshawe Grad Belinda Sayeau Wins Provincial Award for Work With Aboriginal Students
Belinda Sayeau, a graduate of Fanshawe College in London, has won a provincial award for her work helping Aboriginal students to get a postsecondary education.
Sayeau, an Anishinaabe woman who grew up in Red Lake and is a member of the Shoal Lake #40 First Nation, is the winner of the 2010 Colleges Ontario Award for student achievement. The award will be presented to Sayeau next month during the Higher Education Summit conference in Toronto.
"I feel it's my place to work toward bringing the Aboriginal and non-Native communities at Fanshawe together," says Sayeau (at right), who was adopted outside of her culture and often considers herself a 'bridge'. "I'm the perfect person to do it because I've always walked both paths." She credits her parents with a large role in her achievements, saying, "They provided me with a stable home life, a loving supportive family, and instilled in me a strong sense of service and an entrepreneurial spirit."
Sayeau, who studied business at Fanshawe while raising her daughter and working part time in Fanshawe's
Purchasing & Accounts Payable and Awards & Scholarships departments,
was active in the College's First Nations Student Association. Recognizing the
challenges facing Aboriginal students from small communities when they move to a large college, she has helped
mentor and tutor other Aboriginal students.
Sayeau now works as a Customer Service Representative at Fanshawe's First Nations Centre, where she continues her work with Indigenous students.
Sayeau has also spoken at conferences on the issues facing mature students who go to college, and has helped inspire others to enrol in higher education.
"Belinda has been an important part of our 'home away from home' here at the First Nations Centre at Fanshawe College and she is an excellent role model for all students," says Donna Smith-Sutherland, Supervisor of the College's First Nations Centre. "I know I'll look back 10 years from now and will continue to see the impact that Belinda has had both within the Centre and the College community."
"Students like Belinda Sayeau make a real difference," said Dr. Howard Rundle, President of Fanshawe College. "Belinda's warm and open personality, clear principles, and strong voice had an impact on the lives of many First Nations and non-Native people at the College and beyond."
Colleges Ontario is the organization that advocates on behalf of the province's 24 publicly funded colleges. The Colleges Ontario awards were established in 2000 to recognize individuals, organizations and volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of Ontario's college system.
This year's awards were presented in four categories: student excellence, exemplary service, collaboration partnerships, and community volunteer.
"Belinda's achievements are further proof of the excellent work being done at Ontario's colleges," said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "We congratulate her on winning this award and thank her for everything she has done to help students at her college."
The other award winners this year are:
- Lorie Shekter-Wolfson, an assistant vice-president at George Brown College in Toronto, has won the exemplary
service award for her work in leading the development of the College's new $175-million campus on the city's
- The First Generation Student Project at Centennial College, in Toronto, has won the collaboration award for its
successes in encouraging students from families with no history of postsecondary education to go to college.
- Fred Blackstein, a board governor at Algonquin College in Ottawa, is the winner of the William G. Davis Community Volunteer Award for his contributions shaping the vision for a new campus in Renfrew County.
The awards will be presented November 22, 2010, at a luncheon ceremony at the Higher Education Summit, the annual conference organized by Colleges Ontario. More than 400 people are expected to attend the conference.