Fallon Burns is a member of the Paralegal Studies Advisory Committee for Humber’s Business School, served for two years as chair of Residence Orientation for the North and Lakeshore campuses and was also president of Humber’s Lakeshore Residence Council.

On top of that she helped create the Paralegal Cup, a mooting (mock legal debate) competition for paralegal students, consistently makes the Dean’s List and is student director of the Ontario Paralegal Association. She was also a finalist at the Osgoode Cup National Undergraduate Mooting Competition in 2011 and 2013.

It’s no surprise then that Burns, who graduates in June, is this year’s winner of the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) bronze Student Leadership Excellence Award.

The CICan Awards of Excellence, which recognize achievement within Canada’s college system, were handed out in a ceremony in Winnipeg this week. Burns’s bronze was one of three awards won by Humber, including gold for Internationalization Excellence and bronze for Indigenous Education Excellence.

“(To me), this award means recognizing and accepting the paralegal profession in a positive and legitimate industry, amongst a national and academic community,” says Burns. “Receiving this national award legitimizes the paralegal profession, not only in Ontario, but as a national career-professional, and that we are a movement that helps to solve the access to justice problem across Canada.”

Humber's gold for Internationalization follows the 2014 launch of the college’s Internationalization Strategy.

“At Humber we are committed to ensuring that our students graduate with the skills needed to be successful as global citizens in an ever increasing interconnected world,” says Diane Simpson, dean of International. “This award recognizes the efforts of the institution to embrace this, and also to ensure that the opportunity is there for all students to engage in international opportunities, whether on campus or abroad.”

The college's bronze award for Indigenous Education is "amazing," says Aboriginal Liaison Officer Quazance Boissoneau.

"The Aboriginal Resource Centre is still in its foundational stages, as it is a new space launched less than 10 years ago. Being one of the largest colleges in Ontario and in the largest city in Canada, and winning an award for creating strong ties to local indigenous communities and an ongoing institutional commitment to integrating indigenous values and cultures makes me proud, and excited about the future."

For Burns, the award is the culmination of a transformative four years.

“Going to Humber helped shape who I am,” she says. “I was able to meet real life-professionals and people who are ambitious and excited about law. I was able to participate in so many different leadership activities while living in residence and through the business school, which made me think more about how to work with people. I am a different person coming out of Humber at 21 than I was when I started at 17, and I'm so grateful to have encountered so many opportunities, both in the classroom and outside.”