April 27, 2021

Neuroscience student one of 10 Canada-wide to win 3M National Student Fellowship Award

Chaten Jessel recognized for outstanding contribution to leadership and innovation
Chaten Jessel
Chaten Jessel

A University of Calgary student has been selected for the prestigious 3M National Student Fellowship Award. Chaten Jessel, a third-year neuroscience student, was one of 10 post-secondary students from across the country to be recognized for their outstanding contribution to leadership and innovation in post-secondary education.

Jessel described feeling awestruck that the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) recognized the work he had done. The Faculty of Science student has been involved in many initiatives that have had major impacts on and off campus, both for students and the greater community alike. His vision for education has enhanced his own academic experience, as well as made the UCalgary student experience better for others.  

As a Faculty of Science student representative on the Students’ Union, Jessel has been working on initiatives that closely align with equity, diversity and inclusion. He led in the creation of the IDEA Awards, which will provide two $1,500 scholarships per year to students who have meaningfully engaged in creating a more fair and equitable campus.

“I have a lot of privileges in this world, and I’ve had lots of opportunities,” says Jessel. “It breaks my heart that other people who are just as qualified don’t have the same opportunities.”

Educational affordability is another area where Jessel made a significant impact. He recognized right away that while he would not be able to tackle the cost of tuition, other aspects of university could be made more affordable, and thus more inclusive. His work toward the adoption of open education resources in classrooms will have significant impacts for students going forward.

Through the Open Education Resource Fund, the SU Quality Money project provides money to professors to create, adopt and review open education resources and other materials.

“In a class where there are 200 students and each has to buy a $200 textbook, if you can eliminate that, that’s a huge savings for students,” he says.

Jessel’s list of accomplishments as an SU representative does not end there. He also led in an initiative to have a study space renovated. Jessel’s role with various clubs has also been substantial. As president and executive director for Run for Little Ones, a registered non-profit and an official Students’ Union club, Jessel helped organize an annual five-kilometre run to benefit the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Jessel also played a key role in developing a social space for students in the Neuroscience Students’ Association. He initiated Selye Saturdays (named after a famous neurosurgeon) for his classmates, which is a virtual meet-up where neuroscience students get together each week and connect. Additionally, his work with the Leadership and Student Engagement office has helped refine first-year orientation to include equity, diversity and inclusion training for incoming students.

Later this year, as part of the award, Jessel will participate in a cohort project with the other 3M National Student Fellowship Award winners for the benefit of teaching and learning in Canada. He also receives $1,000 from STLHE. The 3M Student Fellowship is a fitting tribute to Jessel’s innovative and inspiring initiatives, and the university congratulates him on the award, as well as thanks him for his leadership