USSU Engaged Young Alumni Award

USSU Experience in Excellence Awards

The USSU Engaged Young Alumni Award is presented annually to a young alumnus or alumna who has maintained a strong connection to the U of S since graduation, is actively engaged in his or her community, and has shown characteristics that indicate future success and significant contributions to their community. The recipient will be recognized at the annual USSU Excellence Awards ceremony in April.

See the Terms of Reference and for eligibility and criteria detail.

About the Award

The USSU Engaged Young Alumni Award is for alumni who:

  • have graduated in the past 5 years (class of 2011 or later),
  • are 35 years of age or younger,
  • are actively involved in the community, and
  • have maintained a strong connection with the University of Saskatchewan.

This award was established in 2010 through a partnership between the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association and the University of Saskatchewan Student's Union (USSU).

Past Recipients


Jaris Swidrovich


Swidrovich graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy in 2010. Following the attainment of this degree, he completed his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at the University of Toronto, where he became the first self-identified First Nations Doctor of Pharmacy in Canada. Swidrovich is now proudly employed as a Lecturer at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the U of S.

He has been recognized with many prestigious awards and honours for his work in the pharmacy field while remaining a strong supporter of the community.

Swidrovich acted as a First Nations Advisor for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Education. Currently he sits on the City of Saskatoon’s Cultural Diversity and Race Relations Committee.

He is the creator and chair of the National Aboriginal Health Pharmacist specialty network and the acting past-president of the Saskatchewan Branch of Canadian Society for Hospital Pharmacists. He is also a clinical pharmacist and mentor at the student wellness initiative toward community health (SWITCH), a student-run clinic that provides a valuable service to the clients who attend. 

One of his most recent accomplishments is his work with the HIV/AIDS community. Swidrovich was employed as a Clinical Coordinator of Pharmacy Services for two years where he self-created a clinical practice in HIV/AIDS and addiction. He is also on the Board of Directors for Sanctum– a new transitional care home and hospice for people living with HIV in Saskatoon.

Throughout his many undertakings, Swidrovich remains a strong advocate for the U of S and extends this through his continued dedication to Aboriginal students and initiatives. He has spent time as a volunteer mentor for pharmacy and health science students and is frequently a keynote speaker and participant in events such as the Yellow Quill First Nation Annual Career Day, ExperienceUS and STEMfest.

Today, Swidrovich is assisting with the design and planning of the upcoming Doctor of Pharmacy program at the U of S and also assisting faculty both within and outside the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition in incorporating and enhancing indigenous content in the curriculum. 


Congratulations to John Desjarlais Jr., the 2015 award recipient.

John Desjarlais Jr. is a professional engineer who earned his bachelor of science in engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in 2011. He currently works for Cameco Corporation in Saskatoon and is pursuing his master of business administration at the U of S Edwards School of Business.

As an engineering student, Desjarlais was instrumental in creating the Northern Administrative Students Association that allows Aboriginal youth from the North to visit the U of S campus and see the opportunities available to them. He was also president of the Indigenous Student Council, which he helped revive. Desjarlais received the USSU Walter Murray Leadership Award, given to an undergraduate student who has contributed to creating a positive environment through their leadership roles at the university.

After graduating, Desjarlais became a U of S Learning Community Alumni Namesake Mentor, sharing his knowledge and experience with first year students. He is a sessional lecturer with the College of Engineering and mentors Aboriginal students, fostering their growth and encouraging more Aboriginal people to pursue science and engineering as fields of study and careers.

Desjarlais is actively involved in the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan as chair of the Aboriginal sub-committee and spearheaded the creation of the Aboriginal Engineering and Science Association of Saskatchewan, establishing valuable relationships that will help increase Aboriginal enrolment in post-secondary science and engineering. He is also a regional representative of the Indspire Institute, a virtual resource centre that connects educators of Indigenous students with programs, information, and tools to improve educational outcomes and increase high school completion rates.


Stavros Stavrou Stavros Stavrou (BSc'10, MSc'12), 2014 USSU Young Alumni Excellence Award recipient.

Stavrou obtained his bachelors and master of science degrees in mathematics from the U of S, Stavrou is now working toward a master of education degree in hopes of earning a university faculty position.

As the science outreach leader for PotashCorp’s Kameskenow program and for the College of Arts and Science’s outreach office, he helps deliver fun and engaging math and science activities. His job is to keep students at Saskatoon community schools on task and focused, which can require a fresh outlook on traditional teaching and an innovative approach to its delivery.

He is also the First Nations, Inuit and Métis math outreach coordinator for the Department of Mathematics at the U of S, teaching math in Saskatoon community schools that have a broad range of students.

With the help of Cree teacher Norma Bear (BEd’93), Stavrou is not just incorporating symbols and traditions into teaching. The pair is working together to incorporate Cree language into the math program at St. Frances School in Saskatoon. Their work was showcased at a First Nation’s Language Keepers Conference in 2013, and Stavrou was awarded a certificate for his work as a language keeper.

2012-13 Shannon Lindsay, BComm'08, MPAcc'10
Bryan McCrea, BComm'09
Brea Lowenberger, BA'09