The President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership is presented to graduating students who have combined academic excellence with outstanding co-curricular contributions to the university. Award winners demonstrate strong leadership and often lead initiatives that have a significant benefit for the student experience, create avenues for important change and ultimately impact the whole university community.
Each year, up to five students are chosen for the award, which are presented during convocation ceremonies in the spring and fall. Jasmine McDermott will be presented with the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership during the Nov. 16 convocation ceremony.
Jasmine McDermott, Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering (With Distinction)
A gifted student leader and a strong voice for Indigenous students, Jasmine McDermott enriched student and campus life while maintaining excellence in her academic studies and a focus on research.
McDermott founded the Calgary Indigenous Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Students’ Association and held club executive roles that included president and vice-president, communications. She was highly engaged with the Engineering Students’ Society and held leadership roles as first-year representative; vice-president, academic; and as diversity commissioner, a role she proposed and advocated to establish as part of the society.
She also co-chaired the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students 2020 Conference on Diversity in Engineering, which delved into topics such as Indigenous, LGBTQIA2S+, Black and racialized inclusion, disability and accessibility, and mental health. Through these numerous roles, McDermott spearheaded initiatives and events that promoted a culture of inclusion including What’s the Scoop diversity dialogues, Failure Forum, and I Scream for Exams.
Within her faculty, she was a member of the Schulich Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and the Faculty Appeals Committee. She also volunteered for activities with the Office of Indigenous Engagement, including as a member of the ii’taa’po’h’to’p Student Advisory Circle. That role allowed her to share feedback and guidance for the implementation of the university’s ii’taa’poh’to’p Indigenous Strategy.
Additionally, she volunteered for IndigeSTEAM Power to Choose, UCalgary’s Indigenous Graduation Celebration, Two Spirit student support events at Writing Symbols Lodge, and the Dec. 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
For her capstone project, McDermott converted a gas-powered utility terrain vehicle to electric for use at the Kluane Lake Research Station. The project eliminated the need for fossil fuels and is a blueprint for future vehicle conversions. To support this, the team created a step-by-step conversion manual accompanied by instructional videos that anyone with basic tools can follow. She presented her project at the Indigenous Clean Energy Conference in Ottawa and the Renewables in Remote Communities Conference in the Yukon.
McDermott was a recipient of the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award in 2021, a recipient of a Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) research award in 2022, and a Global Indigenous Skills Program recipient in 2023.
She is pursuing a master’s degree in engineering at UCalgary and looks forward to continuing to explore science and engineering through an Indigenous lens.