Nishana Ramsawak, a fourth-year civil engineering PhD candidate, has been named a recipient of the 2023 Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award.

One of the most prestigious student honours at Queen’s, the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award is given annually by the Office of the Rector to students “for valued and distinguished service, leadership, character, and community impact.”

Ramsawak researches factors affecting water quality degradation in drinking-water distribution systems. She has contributed to the enhancement of equity, diversity, and inclusivity on campus as one of the first Graduate Inclusivity Fellows and as an instructor for Black Youth in STEM, where Ramsawak helps create a safe space for racialized children to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She is also the founder of a charity drive called Helping Handbags, Kingston, which provides feminine and essential items for vulnerable homes in the area.


From 2022, Ramsawak at work with youth in the Queen's Summer Engineering Academy


The 2023 recipient is joined by Laura Devenny (Artsci’23), Samara Lijiam (Artsci’23), Jane Mao (Artsci’21, MEd’23). This year’s recipients will be officially inducted into the Tricolour Society during a ceremony on June 17.

“The impact the recipients have had on the Queen’s community – through their volunteerism, their leadership, and their commitment to their fellow students is exceptional,” notes Rector Owen Crawford-Lem. “Laura, Samara, Jane, and Nishana embody the best aspects of the Queen’s community and their compassion and care serve as examples for all students.” 

First awarded in 1940, the Tricolour Award has a long history at Queen’s and boasts an impressive list of alumni among its members. Past recipients include Dragons’ Den TV star Michele Romanow (Sc’07, MBA’08); architect of the Canadian flag and Order of Canada John Matheson (Arts’40, LLD’84); and former Bank of Canada governor and Queen’s Chancellor Emeritus David Dodge (Arts'65, LLD’02). For more information about the Tricolour Award and this year’s celebration, visit the Office of the Rector website.


Ramsawak at a Black Youth in STEM / Connections Youth Outreach workshop



This article appeared in its original form in the Queen's Gazette.


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