While fellowship in one of Trent’s colleges is typically reserved for those in faculty and staff positions, students at Peter Gzowski College were awarded two inaugural opportunities to connect with resources and mentorship opportunities that allow them to better explore their interests and address areas of growth.
Both Alexander Vassiliadis and Natnaiel Dubale expressed interest in expanding their collegiate experience and Dr. Melanie Buddle, principal of Gzowski College, recommended applying for the fellowship opportunity program – which includes an honorarium for the successful candidates.
“The opportunity to connect in a collegiate community is not isolated to Trent, but I like to think ours is especially beneficial,” says Dr. Buddle. “This new initiative directly connects students with mentors in their field of interest and encourages them to get involved with the collegiate experience and take up professional development seminars and programs.”
Currently, Gzowski is the only college at Trent University with a student fellowship and a certificate program that awards students for their participation in co-curricular and extracurricular events and experiences, explains Dr. Buddle. The hope is that students leave the opportunity better equipped to take on a career and more network connections in their desired field.
Getting outside the classroom and connecting with alumni in the field
“Being a Gzowski Fellow was an excellent experience that offered me a deeper understanding of College operations and unique mentorship opportunities catered to my interests,” explains Alexander, a third-year Biomedical Science student. “A one-on-one meeting was arranged for me with a Trent alumnus who is a physician. This mentorship was extremely valuable as I received excellent advice and was able to make future connections related to my potential career path.”
Outside of the mentorship connection, Alexander also had the opportunity to attend an Enwayaang Council meeting and was able to observe the inner workings of how the collegiate system operates.
Another component of the Gzowski Fellowship is the completion of a Gzowski Certificate – awarded to students who engage with college events and programming.
“This requirement compelled me to attend college-run events and workshops that I may not have known about or attended on my own and enriched my understanding of many different topics,” says Alexander.
Overall, Alexander notes that the experiences and opportunities offered to him through the Gzowski Fellowship strengthened his connection with the collegiate structure at Trent and granted him access to a mentorship that he otherwise would have never obtained.
An opportunity that highlights your personal goals
Natnaiel, a fourth-year Biology student, was actively involved in life at Gzowski College when he first heard about the fellowship opportunity. It was the unique nature of the fellowship that attracted Natnaiel to the opportunity, and what he has found to be most beneficial throughout the experience.
“What makes the Gzowski College Student Fellowship unique among the leadership opportunities offered by Trent is that the program is personalized to your needs, interests, and areas for growth,” says Natnaiel. “I was paired with a Trent University alumnus who is a post-doctoral fellow in the field of Public Health.”
For Natnaiel’s Gzowski Certificate, he decided to explore a key aspect of the program – to explore areas outside his traditional areas of study.
“These certificates encourage students to complete workshops and attend talks in areas ranging from social responsibility to career readiness,” says Natnaiel. “The certificate encouraged me to attend events such as a talk by Saga Williams on Economic Reconciliation through Treaty Implementation, offered as part of Gzowski College's Enwayaang: A Series of Extraordinary Talks.”
Throughout the process, Natnaiel was able to learn more about himself and discover the value of a collegiate community.
“This student fellowship also demonstrates the ability of Trent University’s colligate system to foster a rich learning environment for students,” says Natnaiel. “By studying at Trent, students are not only equipped with a strong academic background, but the college experience provides students with the opportunity to grow as leaders, allowing them to succeed after their undergraduate studies, whatever the path they may choose.”