Jenna Robertson has won a Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies. Bestowed upon only eight business students across Atlantic Canada, Jenna received the Award at a ceremony in Stellarton. Like other past winners of this prestigious award, Jenna, as a Dean’s List scholar, has won many prior awards and scholarships. She is the recipient of the Fred C. Manning School of Business Advisory Board Impact Award, the Harrison McCain Scholar-Bursary, the BMO Financial Group Entrance Scholarship, and the Acadia Excellence Scholarship. She also received a Provincial Chair’s Certificate of Commendation presented by the Lieutenant Governor. But the Frank H. Sobey Award is the pinnacle of achievement for her as an undergraduate business student.
“I am really honoured to be chosen for the Sobey Award,” Jenna said. “I enjoyed meeting the other award winners and the opportunity to network with them and the Board directors. I also enjoyed meeting past winners and members of the Sobey family.” There is now an alumni association for Sobey Award winners that will offer members opportunities such as mentorship, in which Jenna is very interested.
But she has other interests that no doubt captured the attention of Sobey adjudicators. In particular, the Acadia Medical Campus Response Team. With her twin sister, Sarah, who is also attending Acadia as a biology student, Jenna co-founded the AMCRT. As well as co-founder, she is also president. The idea of students trained in first-aid providing first responder emergency medical coverage at varsity games, campus, and community events seems so obvious that people might be surprised to learn that such a program wasn’t in place before, especially when response times for medical emergency services might be slower in rural areas. “Everything that a volunteer fire fighter knows how to do, we know how to do, in terms of medical response,” Jenna explains.
The organizational challenge was to place this program, which is run through St. John Ambulance, within the framework of existing services. This entailed many meetings and hours of negotiating. But that it was successfully put in place points to that necessary quality that separates ideas from reality: effort. Or, to quote Jenna herself, “By identifying a gap in service and figuring out a way to fill the gap proactively, I was able to add value to many different stakeholder groups simultaneously.”
Perhaps it is no surprise that Jenna has applied this model of identification and fulfillment to her academic study. Identifying an opportunity to tutor people in French, for example, was fulfilled when she earned a Diploma in French Language Studies (DELF B1). With diploma in hand, she began earning money as a French language tutor before she was out of high school. She continues to tutor at Acadia in French and Business Analytics Modelling. And her drive to identify opportunities impacts everything she does in the academic sphere.
“Jenna has a rare talent and passion for scholarly research,” says Dr. Jim Grant, who instructed Jenna in Organizational Behaviour, Human Resource Management, and Employment Relations. So rare, in fact, that Grant’s colleague, Dr. Kelly Dye, recommended her as a Research Assistant to her colleagues, Dr. Donna Sears and Dr. Terrance Weatherbee. Impressed with her writing and organizational skills, they encouraged her to direct her research toward an academic paper, one that she presented at the Atlantic Schools of Business Conference. The paper was subsequently published in the academic journal Workplace Review. All this while researching and writing her thesis as a BBA Honours student. Her thesis is tilted toward law, as her skill in that area was recognized by another of her instructors, Professor Randall Balcome. Jenna identifies Balcome, Grant, Sears, and Weatherbee as being instrumental in her Acadia experience. She also recognizes Dye for steering her into the honours program.
The enduring values that underpin Jenna’s academic study are to be found in her volunteerism. Her willingness to donate time and effort to volunteer causes was honoured by the Acadia Student Union’s Volunteer of the Year award. In addition to being a registered Volunteer Medical Responder with St. John Ambulance, she is fundraising to provide AMCRT members with ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). Jenna has also found deep satisfaction as Promotions Director for the Acadia program known as S.M.I.L.E. (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience). In S.M.I.L.E. she has met and become the best of friends with her “buddy,” a member of the L’Arche Homefires group living facility. And Jenna was captain of a Relay for Life team for three years running. Her volunteer work for the Canadian Cancer Society has the most poignant of associations because she lost her mother to cancer. Her mother continues to be for Jenna a model of perseverance and stoicism and is the most influential person in her life.
Anyone who will infuse their lives with the values of concern and compassion will infuse their work with the same values. That Jenna Robertson brings those values to her undergraduate study is self-evident. And to believe that she will bring concern and compassion to her graduate and professional life is to make a guaranteed investment in the future.
Watch Jenna discuss her work at Acadia here!