Navarana Smith, a third-year double major in biology and environmental studies at the University of Victoria, is one of 10 Canadian undergraduates to receive a 3M National Student Fellowship.
The fellowship, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, celebrates outstanding student leadership.
Smith’s hands-on learning experiences as a UVic student have helped shape her perspective on life and have motivated her academic pursuits. She’s looking for ways to give more students an opportunity to engage in community-based research at UVic.
“The world needs all the brainpower it can get to grapple with the social and ecological challenges of our time,” Smith said. “Yet students – and people everywhere – are overworked and exhausted. We need to find a way to foster commitments while being realistic about pressures on time.”
Outside of class, Smith has co-ordinated monthly trips through the Sierra Club for students and community members interested in sustainability themes. With UVic’s student-run environmental magazine, ESSENCE, she visited classrooms to generate interest in joining discussions on social justice and sustainability issues. She helped to co-ordinate UVic’s Environmental Round Table and in 2013 was selected to represent UVic at the World Student Environmental Summit in Germany.
As part of the fellowship, Smith will travel to Vancouver in June for the annual conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. While there, she’ll join her fellow award recipients in developing a cross-Canadian collaborative project with the goal of enhancing teaching and learning at the post-secondary level.