National Student Network: 2017 in Review

In 2017, we realized that we cannot predict where opportunities take us. With an open mind and fearless spirit, the National Student Network (NSN) team focused on promoting and growing the NSN beyond our online means. 2017 was a year filled with new experiences and a steep learning curve.

We welcomed our newest RAP members: Mackenzie Huckvale, Alice Ko, Niam Vora, and Alyana Lalani, who have since been doing amazing work promoting the NSN. We also added to our phenomenal roster of National Young Leader mentors, with the debut of Alex Lee, Frank Lee, Uyen Nguyen, Farhad Udwadia, Jessica Luc, Saba Vatanpour, and Niki Oveisi. Despite the vast distance between our Regional Ambassadors and National Young Leaders across the country, this year was one in which we came together to re-envision and re-focus our mission to engage with and empower youth across the country. Our team is now closer than ever; as a result, we have set in motion an exciting new year for 2018.

Early on, we were fortunate to partner with youth organizations and to work alongside exceptional individuals to establish awareness campaigns and educational programming. This includes on-site events at the Target Alpha Conference (Toronto, ON), the Markham Youth Expo (Markham, ON), the Burnaby Youth Leadership Conference (Burnaby, BC), Summer of Opportunities (Vancouver, BC), and Project Pulse Toronto (Toronto, ON).  Given that the NSN is an online organization, we work remotely in our provinces, and have rarely met in person since the launch of NSN in 2013. As a result of these  on-site events, we were privilege to finally meet our National Young Leader (NYL) Mentors and Regional Ambassadors. We were humbled by the poise and esteem of our teammates, and evermore grateful and fortunate to have them as representatives of the NSN.

Our endeavours would be impossible without the efforts of our Regional Ambassadors, National Young Leader mentors, and our National Team members. Through community outreach and networking, these individuals made it possible for the NSN to make an impact in their communities at ground level. Beginning with Target Alpha Conference, the NSN built relationships with attendees and youth organizations that then led to an invitation to the Project Pulse Toronto Conference. Here, we connected with fantastic organizations, including the Foundation for Student Science and Technology. It’s wondrous how these seemingly small interactions can lead to collaborations, and serves as further reinforcement for the NSN’s participation in physical events. It was at Project Pulse Toronto, where we met with Regional Ambassador, Cece Macherera. Here, we witnessed Cece’s tremendous growth as a leader within her community, since she joined the NSN in high school.

This summer, we had a great opportunity to collaborate with Tobias Carryer of 56 Paper Clips and the Summer of Opportunity, in which the NSN led a series of workshops on academic success for high school students in Vancouver.  This was a one day event where ~30 youth participants were guided through a series of workshops which included CV and application writing, interview preparation, and scholarly writing (arts and sciences). The program also included a panel discussion with NSN NYL mentors regarding their areas of interest and expertise. Here, we witnessed our BC Regional Ambassador team and National Young Leader mentors unite at HiVe Vancouver and work together to teach and inspire Vancouver youth. Our mostly highly lauded session was our panel discussion, featuring GradusOne’s Manisha Narula, and our National Young Leaders, Cody Lo, Saba Vatanpour, and Niki Oveisi. We were heartened by the insights and advice provided by our panelists.  We are proud to have a roster of incredible National Young Leader mentors, who are willing to devote their time into inspiring a new generation of leaders. We would like to sincerely thank Tobias Carryer for his efforts and the 56 Paper Clips team, and our Regional Ambassadors, Alyana Lalani, Alice Ko, Angelina Ge, and our National Team Members, Sam Yang, and Shivani Mysuria, for their tremendous dedication and unwavering spirit in organizing and executing this event.

Due to the success of the Summer of Opportunity, our BC Regional Ambassadors, Alyana and Angelina, were invited to represent NSN at the Burnaby Youth Leadership Conference. Thank you to Alyana and Angelina for making such an impact in their community. On another note, we are pleased to announce that our BC National Young Leader Mentors have been invited for a panel discussion at the 2018 Project Pulse Vancouver Conference. Please stay tuned!

We would also like to acknowledge our resourceful National Team member and Regional Ambassador Program Director, Coco Wang, who arranged for the NSN’s participation in both the Target Alpha Conference and the Markham Youth Expo. Coco’s immense drive, enthusiasm, and leadership helped to establish the NSN as a resource for students in her community.  Thank you to Samuel Yang, our calm, cool, and collected Director of Community. He has worked tirelessly to manage and define the National Young Leader Mentorship program. It is his insight and inspiration that has brought the NYL mentorship program into the forefront of NSN programming. Our appreciation and gratitude also goes to Shivani Mysuria, our creative and driven Director of Social Media. Her enthusiasm to speak with and communicate with Canadian youth through the fast-paced world of social media keep our NSN members up-to-date with the latest NSN news and opportunities. Last but not least, we thank and acknowledge our steadfast Regional Ambassador, Ryan Li, for the enormous undertaking of managing our Opportunities Database of 300+ opportunities, and his initiative in creating an Opportunities Newsletter.

Indeed, 2017 was an exceptional year for the NSN. We faced many challenges along the way, but together overcame those obstacles as a stronger and better NSN team. Our sincerest thank you to our NSN Team for a memorable year.

In line with sparking opportunities, if you have any ideas for collaborations with the NSN, do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] Finally, we thank you, our NSN members, for your continued support!

Best wishes for 2018,

Jackie & Jenny

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