Trent Penpal Program Coordinators Receive Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Student Governance


Miranda Wilson, Jennifer Kimball and Julie Kimball
Honoured with 2010 Robert W.F. Stephenson Award

Tuesday, June 15, 2010, Peterborough

Announced at the Alumni Awards celebration at Trent University on Saturday, June 12, the 2010 Robert W.F. Stephenson Prize for Excellence in Student Governance has been awarded to three student leaders – Miranda Wilson, Jennifer Kimball and Julie Kimball.

The three recipients were selected for demonstrating extraordinary skill in their shared leadership and coordination of the Trent University Penpal Program, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Under their leadership, the Penpal Program for the 2009/10 academic year involved approximately 650 penpals (325 Trent students and 325 children in grades one to three) writing monthly letters to each other. 

In her nomination letter for the three students, Dr. Deborah Berrill, founding director of the School of Education and Professional Learning at Trent who helped create the Penpal Program, said, “These young women have set a high standard of leadership, commitment, caring, and sense of community within Trent University. As the faculty advisor for the Penpal Program, I will miss these three leaders very much, but they have done such a fine job of leadership mentoring that their skills and values will continue in the next leaders -- their sound judgement, respect for their peers and the classroom teachers with whom they work, and compassion for and commitment to the children this program serves.”

Miranda, Jennifer and Julie all graduated from Trent in 2010. Miranda graduated with a joint degree in Geography and History, while Jennifer and Julie, who are twins, both graduated with degrees in Sociology. Next year, all three will be completing their B.Ed. degrees at Queen’s as part of the Queen’s-Trent Concurrent Education program.

Throughout their involvement in the Penpal Program, Miranda, Jennifer and Julie worked together as penpals themselves, as classroom coordinators, as junior program coordinators and as senior program coordinators. Going beyond the significant and ongoing demands of their positions, the three students added new features to the program each year of their leadership. Miranda completed her term as the senior coordinator in 2008/09 and returned to volunteer as a special events coordinator for this year’s 20th Anniversary celebrations. Jennifer and Julie had been junior program coordinators under Miranda’s leadership and as well as working closely as a senior leadership team last year, the three worked in a similar team spirit this year around the 20th Anniversary activities.

Last year, Miranda, Jennifer and Julie initiated new activities for the annual Spring Penpal Day, which is the event that closes the program. Together, they came up with the idea of photographing the penpal pairs at our January Penpal Day and then having those photographs ready for a craft project at the Spring Penpal Day. In 2009/10, the three leaders worked together with the junior coordinator to create a birthday-themed Spring Penpal Day, to acknowledge the 20th Anniversary of the program, and using the structures they had developed last year to do the penpal pair photographs again – a feature that has since become an established feature of the program.

The Robert W.F. Stephenson Award for Excellence in Student Governance was established by the Alumni Association in honour of Robert Stephenson upon the completion of his term as chair of Trent University’s Board of Governors. Mr. Stephenson was the first alumnus to hold the position of chair. Valued at $250, the prize, which recognizes outstanding student leaders, was first awarded in 1995.


For more information, please contact:
Kathleen Easson, Alumni Affairs Office, (705) 748-1399