Monday, March 11, 2024

The University of Toronto Student Leadership Awards (UTSLA) continues U of T’s long-standing tradition of recognizing outstanding student leadership, volunteer service, and commitment to the university.

This tradition began with the Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award, which ran from 1994 - 2019 and was named in honour of Mr. Gordon Cressy, former Vice-President, Development and University Relations. In naming the award, the University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) recognized Cressy's leadership and volunteer service across various spheres, as well as his term at the university. During the award’s 25-year history, it celebrated the exemplary contributions of more than 4,000 students whose commitment and volunteerism had a lasting impact on their peers and the university.

We are delighted to announce the 2024 University of Toronto Student Leadership Award recipients from the Faculty of Law:

Emily Sarah Hean


Emily is a dedicated and passionate student leader. Throughout her time at U of T Law, she has actively participated in a broad range of extracurricular activities, including moots, Ultra Vires, the Students’ Law Society (SLS), and more. Her goal throughout has been to ensure that all law students feel welcome, happy, and involved.

Emily is also strong advocate for mental health and emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy school-life balance in law school. She encourages her fellow classmates to explore hobbies, engage in extracurriculars, and find effective ways to manage the unique stressors that come along with legal studies.

Of all the clubs, volunteer positions, and other extra-curriculars she has participated in, Emily’s greatest accomplishment in law school has been hearing the words, “You made law school a bit easier for me."

Justin Kim


Justin is the President of the Students' Law Society (SLS). As President, he works tirelessly to ensure his fellow students feel supported in their law school journeys through advocacy, mentorship and community-building initiatives.

Beyond his involvement with the SLS, Justin is the executive member of several student clubs. Last year, as the co-president of the Faculty of Law Athletics Association, he organized the participation of more than 20 intramural teams. Through extracurriculars, Justin connects and engages with diverse student perspectives, which help guide his advocacy efforts.

Justin is also a Senior Editor on the Faculty of Law Review and sits on the Admissions Committee.

Caitlin Salvino


Caitlin is the co-president of the Disabled Law Students Association (DLSA). As co-president, Caitlin is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment and making a positive impact in the lives of students with disabilities at U of T Law.

Caitlin has been instrumental in spearheading a variety of accessibility-related initiatives, including achieving disability-related reforms to the Financial Aid Policy and successfully advocating for the initiation of the Faculty’s first-ever Dean’s Accessibility Roundtable.

In addition to her work with DLSA, throughout her time at U of T Law she has actively participated in a broad range of extracurricular activities, including winning first-place team at the Wilson Moot and acting as co-editor-in-chief of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review. Caitlin is also a Junior Fellow at Massey College.

Hayley VandePol


Hayley is a daughter, sister, and friend. She is mixed Kanyen'kehà:ka (Mohawk) and settler. At the law school she is a co-president of the Indigenous Law Students Association (ILSA). As a co-president, Hayley facilitates a sense of community among

Indigenous law students. She also organizes various events and initiatives that bring together both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the U of T Law community. Events including the Fall Feast, Beading Circles, and Aboriginal Law Panels have played a critical role in helping foster a deeper understanding of Indigenous culture and Aboriginal/Indigenous law. Hayley's favourite part of her role as a co-president was being able to create meaningful relations and a culture of humility at the Faculty.

In addition to her work with the ILSA, Hayley is a senior editor of the Indigenous Law Journal. In previous years, she was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Committee, and volunteered with Level Justice.

Mariah Watling-Eagle


Mariah is an executive member of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). She has been an active and dedicated member of the BLSA since her first year at U of T Law and currently holds the role of Liaison & Secretary.

Throughout her time at U of T Law, Mariah has displayed an unwavering commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal education landscape. Her passion for fostering access to legal education for underrepresented communities, particularly within the Black community, has left a lasting impact on the Faculty, the Black Future Lawyers (BFL) program, and beyond.

In addition to her work with the BLSA and BFL, Mariah has volunteered with the Faculty Law Review and the International Human Rights Program’s (IHRP) Cameroon Atrocities Database Project.