Estefania Martinez Named 2024 Recipient of Prestigious Tom McCann Award

Estefania Martinez in a graduation gown holding the Thomas McCann Memorial Trophy

Estefania Martinez, a graduating student from Honduras, has been named the 2024 recipient of the Thomas McCann Memorial Trophy. 


The Thomas McCann Memorial Trophy is STU's most respected and cherished award. It is presented to a student who possesses strong leadership, character, and personality traits and who best portrays the spirit of the university through their contributions. Over the past 50 years, McCann winners have gone on to be lawyers, cabinet ministers, doctors, Rhodes Scholars, bloggers, army officers, political organizers, professors, and teachers. 


"An Excellent Student with the Qualities That Exemplify St. Thomas University's Fundamental Goals as an Institution" 


Martinez has demonstrated academic excellence over the past four years. She is now graduating with honours in International Relations and a major in Economics. Along with her degree, Martinez has accomplished three additional credentials: the Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement, the Certificate in Digital Media Literacy, and the Extracurricular Social Enterprise Certificate.  


Joining STU in the fall of 2020 as the International Chancellor's Scholarship recipient, the most prestigious scholarship available to international STUdents, her accomplishments span a wide range of academic, professional, and volunteer activities. Students and faculty alike nominated her for the Tom McCann Award, describing her as having "the qualities that exemplify St. Thomas University's fundamental goals as an institution." 


Martinez was one of the first students to participate in STU's Social Enterprise Program; through this, she established UpCycle Lab - a small social enterprise with the mission to reduce fashion waste by upcycling second-hand clothing into tote bags and scrunchies, among other items. 


During her time at STU, she has held employment both on and off campus, including working as a Research Assistant with the STU Economics Department, and as a Senior Campus Tour Ambassador. She has worked with the Provincial Department of Health and the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board, and at Ignite, where she developed resource guides for newcomers, immigrants, international students, and Ukrainian refugees. 


Notably, Martinez also holds an extensive record as a volunteer. She has volunteered with the University Women's Centre, the Madhu Verma Migrant Justice Centre and STU’s International Students’ Association, as well as many other campus clubs. 


Martinez has received numerous STU awards and prizes, including the STU International Student Leadership Award, the STU Prize for Economics in Second, Third, and Fourth Year, and the Enactus Canada Bronze Community Service Leader Badge. 


As stated by her nominators, Martinez is a role model at STU. She ensures fellow students feel welcomed and demonstrates a strong sense of community. 


"During the last few years at STU, I have explored my passions, made meaningful friendships and connections, and had unique opportunities I thought were impossible. Beyond receiving an education, I also learned important values such as empathy, cooperation, and social responsibility. STU became my second home within a matter of days, and I feel like it will always hold that title," said Martinez. 


"Being the recipient of this award is truly an honour, as it recognizes my academic achievements and contributions to STU. This award is not only the result from my efforts, but also of the strong network at STU, which makes initiatives, projects, and student ideas possible. I am glad to have had the opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much in the last four years."