A Royal Roads University graduate is helping students of Black heritage excel in higher education.
Donneil McNab, a Royal Roads University (RRU) student engagement associate who graduated last year with a Master of Arts in Tourism Management, created the Award for Diversity and Community Building to recognize students who serve their communities through volunteering and leadership.
“The award is primarily a chance to open doors for Black students and to advance opportunities. Studying is a big cost students have to bear, along with many other life expenses. When I started as a student I had limited resources my self, so I want give other students the financial and confidence boost that I received when I got an award,” said McNab. She received the Beadle Family Award in 2018, which is given in recognition of outstanding academic promise in the tourism and hospitality field.
“The impact that award had on my life was simply amazing, and I want other students to experience that feeling. It was important for me to take a leap and serve my community in this way. It is my way of paying it forward.”
The annual award of $1,000 will be given to a student of Afro-Heritage decent, who is enrolled in any of the degree programs at Royal Roads. McNab is funding the award herself, and hopes she inspires others to either contribute to the award, or to establish one of their own.
“Financial awards send a powerful message of encouragement that take root in students’ academics, lives and future careers,” stated Amy Hinrichs, Royal Roads advancement manager on the RRU website. “When someone says, ‘I recognize what you’re doing, I value what you’re studying, and I know you will make a difference. I want to support you on that journey,’ that can have a deeply profound and personal impact on a student.”
McNab, born and raised in St. Catherine, Jamaica, relocated to Vancouver Island in 2018 to pursue her masters at RRU. Throughout her time studying and working at the university, she has also been involved in other projects such as co-founding Black Speaks Victoria, a platform that celebrates diversity and Black excellence.
“The concept of Black Speaks is to highlight all of the amazing people doing incredible things within our community,” said McNab.
McNab hosts virtual workshops for educators on how to create more inclusive and safe learning environments, and she is also a member of RRU’s Diversity Action Group, Anti-Racism Task Force and the President’s Steering Committee for Equity Diversity and Inclusion.
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