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Busy grad student squeezes myriad of activities into 12 months

by Jeff GreenRebecca Daniels – who is completing cardiovascular and renal research in the Faculty of Medicine as part of her master’s program – is this year’s recipient of Memorial’s Volunteer of the Year award.

Rebecca Daniels has crammed a lot into the past year since coming to Memorial.

The 22-year-old, originally from Nova Scotia, has not only immersed herself into her master of science program in the Faculty of Medicine where she is specializing in cardiovascular and renal research, but she has logged hundreds of hours with countless campus and community groups to become one of the university’s exemplary volunteers.

Her resume is peppered with a long list of diverse activities – everything from orientation, Gradfest and the MUN Relay for Life to her involvement with MUN WalkSafe, the Aldrich Conference, and the Medical Graduate Student Society.

She has also spent time with off-campus groups such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the St. John’s AIDS walk, and the St. John’s Triathlon committee.

It all adds up to one heck of a year and to Ms. Daniels being named 2008’s Volunteer of the Year.

“I volunteer because it educates me on life, causing me to constantly re-evaluate myself and my priorities, and moving me closer to becoming the person that I want to be,” she said recently with a wide smile. “Through my volunteer work, I am exposed to so many new situations and concepts that I might never be confronted with otherwise. Through these, I learn the life lessons that I believe will make me a more successful and happy person.”

That’s the type of attitude Ms. Daniels has had since coming to Memorial 12 months ago. After graduating from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, she set her sights on this province where she was attracted by “high-calibre research … being carried out with a high level of scientific integrity.”

She’s quick to point out, though, that wasn’t the only thing that drew her to Memorial.

“[It] offers so much to students,” she noted. “There are so many extracurricular opportunities around campus and there is always so much happening. I never get tired of this place.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Daniels said she was humbled and completely surprised by her recent award. She hopes it motivates other students to pull up their sleeves and juggle school and volunteer work.

“Involvement will change you, and our school, for the better.”

The Gazette salutes all the other winners of the 22nd annual MUN Volunteer Day awards, which were presented March 26. This year’s recipients include:

  • David Kirkland Student Leadership Award: Meghan Mitchell
  • Residence of the Year: Burke House
  • Volunteer Club or Society of the Year: Students for Literacy @ MUN
  • Glenn Roy Blundon Award recipients: Drs. Michael and Annette Staveley
  • Faculty Volunteer of the Year: Dr. TA Loeffler
  • Staff Volunteer of the Year: Hans Rollmann