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Brenda Smart Recognized for Student Service with Rosemary Gill Award
Please join the School for Resource and Environmental Studies as we congratulate Brenda Smart for receiving one of Dalhousie’ prestigious Legacy Awards, the Rosemary Gill Award.
The Rosemary Gill award was established in memory of Dr. Rosemary Gill, Director of Student Health Services who exemplified a high level of commitment of service to students. These awards are presented annually to faculty or staff members who have provided outstanding service to students.
Brenda has spent her entire career with the School for Resource and Environmental Studies, working as the Administrative Assistant to the Director, adding MREM Internship Coordinator to her role in 2004. Part of what has kept Smart at SRES is her own connection to the environment. She says what is being taught at SRES’ brings her back to her childhood days of discovery.
“I was somewhat of a tomboy growing up. I grew up near the woods and the ocean and ponds. I was always out in nature, collecting things and bringing them home; my mom hated it!” says Smart.
Brenda’s ability to forge deep and lasting connections with students and alumni has also kept her at SRES. Part of developing these relationships with SRES’ students comes from her role as the Master of Resource and Environmental Management Internship program where she helps students connect to potential employers – including many SRES alumni.
“Around the time the MREM program was created, I was getting bored at work and was thinking about moving on. After working on the internship searching that first year, I realized I found the challenge I was looking for. I loved that the internship gave me an opportunity to stay connected with the alumni. I finally felt like I was where I was meant to be,” says Smart.
Throughout her career with SRES, Smart has exemplified student service. As the Administrative Assistant to the Director and MREM Internship Coordinator, she gives tirelessly to our student body, consistently going above and beyond for students and alumni alike.
“Brenda personally helped my career enormously,” says MREM alumni Eric Shoesmith, “Brenda introduced me to SRES alumni who later gave me interview advice that helped me land my first co-op position, and later a full-time job with Environment and Climate Change Canada. Without Brenda’s efforts, contacts and tireless support many students like me would have had a much more challenging time transitioning from university to the workforce.”
Brenda’s work connecting students and alumni allows SRES students, past and present to feel permanently part of the School for Resource and Environmental Studies community. A community that likely wouldn’t exist without Brenda’s care.
For Brenda there is value for everyone when connecting current students to alumni. “It keeps alumni engaged with the School, and their roots. It helps keep them grounded, but also alumni are able to learn from the students as much as the students learn from them,” she says.
SRES Director, Dr. Michelle Adams says Brenda’s abilities go far beyond coordinating the MREM Internship program.
“She supports, guides and advises the students from the moment they arrive at SRES,” says Michelle “She is creative in finding solutions and connections for students, helps them prepare, and is an excellent judge of a student’s skills and challenges.”
Brenda’s immense capacity to care for SRES’ students is motivated by her love for them. Treating each student as if they are members of her own family, celebrating their accomplishments with as much enthusiasm as a parent would.
“Working with and helping the students realize their potential is my favourite part of my role. It is such a joy when they accomplish something and rush into my office to tell me, such as when they’ve landed their ideal internship, they worked so hard to get.”
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