With a visit to McMaster to compete in her first high school swim meet in Grade 9, Kristina Skoko knew right away where she wanted to attend university.
Now as a fourth-year nursing student, the Mississauga native has earned top awards for her leadership and involvement. On March 7, Skoko was one of over 350 students from the School of Nursing honoured at the School's annual awards assembly for work completed in the 2009-2010 academic year.
Associate Dean of the School of Nursing Catherine Tompkins was joined by Patty Solomon, associate dean of the School of Rehabilitation Science; Catherine Hayward, associate dean of Graduate Studies; and a host of faculty members in celebrating the achievements of students in the McMaster-Mohawk-Conestoga Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Program and the McMaster Health Sciences Nursing Graduate Program.
Speaking to the audience, Tompkins told the award recipients they are the "future leaders of the nursing profession,' and added: "This afternoon's ceremony is a wonderful opportunity for us to demonstrate the great pride we have in our students and their accomplishments.'
Paul Armstrong, dean of the Faculty of Community and Urban Studies at Mohawk College, echoed Tompkins' sentiments, highlighting how important it is to recognize those students who have "not just achieved, but excelled' in the face of late nights, stressful exams and challenging clinical situations.
In addition to landing on the Dean's Honour List, Skoko also took home the Helen K. Mussallem Award for her leadership and involvement in extracurricular activities; the T. Russell Wilkins Memorial Scholarship, which allowed her to complete a nursing placement last summer working with aboriginal towns and villages in northern Australia; and a University (Senate) Scholarship.
"I'm kind of speechless. It's an honour,' said Skoko, who plans to work in pediatrics or maternity after graduation. "I really do put 100 per cent into everything I do, whether it be volunteer work, academic or in my clinical placement. I'm always asking myself what I can do better, how I can better help others.'
Fourth-year student Janina Lagason, who is looking to work as a critical care nurse in pediatrics after completing her degree, celebrated her third time landing on the Dean's Honour List. "I'm graduating this year, so it feels special and it's great especially to be recognized by the faculty. Also, my parents have been able to come to this every year, so it's really special,' she said.
[Full list of award recipients and award descriptions]