Dean Sheilah Hortan stands with students from the Bursars Office as they pose for a photo. The group won Dean’s Honorable Mention during the Camellia celebration.

Student leaders and a retiring staff member were honored at the Camellia Awards ceremony

Image credit: Joel Haskell

Author  Photos: Joel Haskell, Text: Shannon O'Brien
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During the annual Camellia Student Leadership Awards ceremony on April 29, Wellesley College honored students for their growth as leaders. “As much as you've shown talent, intellect, and growth, you've also demonstrated heart, grit, and courage,” President Paula Johnson said. “You stand up for ideas like social responsibility, integrity, citizenship, and respect for self and others. That is so critical to what it means to be a leader at this moment.”

At the event, Robin Cook-Nobles, associate dean and director of counseling services at the Stone Center Counseling Service, who will retire in July after 38 years at Wellesley, was surprised with an honor: The Resilience in Leadership Award has been renamed the Dr. Robin Cook-Nobles Resilience in Leadership Award. “We want the students of the future to think of you as they accept an award that's grounded in the belief that with resilience, we can overcome challenges and have productive lives,” Sheilah Horton, vice president of student life and dean of students, said during the announcement.

“Always be the best you can be,” Cook-Nobles told the audience. “Always walk with integrity. Show love to everybody, if you can. We all deserve love and acceptance.”

Deans Dawn Montagna (left) and Sheilah Horton (right) flank Robin Cook-Nobles, who cries after learning a Camellia award will be renamed in her honor.
Deans Dawn Montagna (left) and Sheilah Horton (right) congratulate Robin Cook-Nobles after she learns a Camellia award will be renamed in her honor.
Dawn Montagna hold her arms out in greeting as Mikayla Tansil walks onto the stage to accept her award.
Dawn Montagna (right) greets Mikayla Tansil ’25, president of Ethos and the College Government community organizing and inclusion liaison, who received the Resilience in Leadership award. Her nominator described her as an empathetic leader who ensures that the students she works with feel supported and heard.
Suzanne Schofield and Marcia Robinson smile for a photo.
Suzanne Schofield ’24 (left), with Marcia Robinson, Civic Engagement’s community partnership specialist in the Lulu Chow Wang ’66 Center for Career Education, said she was incredibly honored to receive the Sed Ministrare Student Leadership Award: “My experience as president of EnAct will be among the fondest memories of my time at Wellesley. I have made some of my closest friends, been part of countless projects and campaigns, and I’ve seen environmental justice and sustainability be transformed on campus. This award is a reflection of the community that made all that positive change possible.”
A group of students pose for a photo during the reception of the ceremony.
Fifty-six students were nominated for Camellia Awards this year.
Emma Slibeck and Mared Alicea-Westort pose for a photo from the stage.
Emma Slibeck ’24 (left), here with Mared Alicea-Westort, assistant dean of intercultural education, received the Inclusive Leadership Award for her advocacy for Native American and Indigenous students at Wellesley. “Receiving this award was a really proud moment for me, personally, but it was also a testament to the strength of the NAISA community and the magnitude of our impact on campus,” Slibeck said

These are the winners of this year’s Camellia Student Leadership Awards:

Inclusive Leadership Award: Emma Slibeck ’24

Sed Ministrare Student Leadership Award: Suzanna Schofield ’24

Team Leadership Award: Naunet Leonhardes-Barboza ’24

Community Cultivation Leadership Award: Connie Gu ’24

Emerging Leadership Award: Yari Sissoko ’27

Resilience in Leadership Award: Mikayla Tansil ’25

Balanced Leadership Award: Riya Balachandran ’24

Collaborative Excellence Leadership Award: Members of the Wellesley Organ Club

Creative Leadership Award: Co-presidents of the Sexual Health Educators

Community Partnership Leadership Award: Robogals

Dean’s Honorable Mention: Bursar’s Office (photo at top of page)

Visit our Instagram page for additional photos from the ceremony.