2024 Carl Rom Colthoff Experiential Learning Award Winner Announced

Abdus holds his certificate, posing and smiling beside his two nominators, Jodie and Sarah.

Congratulations to Abdus Samee Khatib (he/him) who is the recipient of the 2024 Carl Rom Colthoff Experiential Learning Award

This award was established with a donation from University of Guelph alumnus Carl Rom Colthoff (2012), in honour of the many passionate and involved students he encountered during his time at the University. It is presented annually to a student who has participated in University-organized experiential learning opportunities that have informed the development of their leadership capacity to contribute to the greater social good in their community.  

Headshot of Abdus

Abdus is in his 4th year of his undergraduate degree, majoring in Molecular Biology and Genetics with a minor in Neuroscience, with aspirations to become a research scientist.  In addition to his full-time studies, he volunteers 5 hours/week as a Peer Helper with Writing Services, volunteers with SafeWalk to provide after-hours support for students in need, and is an active member of the Muslim Student Association.  He also lives and works in residence as a Cluster Leader and works in a research lab on campus. 

During his three semesters as a Peer Helper with Writing Services, Abdus has supported over 150 students in becoming more confident in their writing practice and demonstrated strong leadership on the Peer Helper team through mentorship and the design and delivery of training. As Treasurer of the Muslim Students’ Association Abdus helped raise over $5000 for programming and coordinated the budget and logistics for a ski trip with Muslim Student Associations from 8 Ontario universities, as well as providing strong mentorship and support for fellow students in leadership roles within the association. As an Area Cluster Leader in East Residence, Abdus has provided academic resources and support to over 500 students through both large-scale programming and one-on-one conversations. 

As one of the supporters wrote in his nomination package, Abdus’ ‘commitment to experiential learning and community engagement has enriched his university experience and positively impacted countless students within the community’. Congratulations, Abdus! 

Honourable mentions for the award go out to Will Taylor and Yuha Khan.

  1. How has your involvement as a Peer Helper with Writing Services, with SafeWalk, as a cluster leader in Residence, and as the Treasurer of the Muslim Students’ Association impacted your day-to-day life outside of these positions?

    "Being part of a multitude of services and organizations, it allowed me to take on a variety of roles, all ultimately aimed at helping people, both individually and as a team. This has allowed me to hone my leadership skills as well as working well with like-minded individuals. I have been able to instill an increased amount of empathy and patience, while fostering a greater sense of community and interconnectedness with my peers. With the MSA, for example, I have been able to practice skills with regards to my position that I would not have been able to do so otherwise. All these positions and responsibilities combined have been nothing but beneficial for me."

  2. What calls you to experiential learning? Why is it something that you decided you wanted to get involved with at U of G?

    "I was drawn to experiential learning as it gave me the opportunity to practically apply the skills I was taught while within the service. I was also given excellent resources for personal growth and professional skill development, all while engaging the community to leave a positive and lasting impact."

  3. What does Experiential Learning mean to you?

    "The whole point of experiential learning is that you take away skills and abilities through applying it in order to help others, and that is exactly that case with Writing Services. We are taught techniques, not only in writing, but effective communication, organization and critical thinking, skills that are valuable in our personal and professional lives. To me, experiential learning is about actively engaging with the communities we're a part of to develop new skills ad cultivate meaningful connections. It has encouraged active participation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills."