Graduate Student Harleen Atwal Wins Outstanding Leadership Award and Becomes NATO Field School and Simulation Program Manager

September 17, 2019
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MA student Harleen Atwal received the Alumni Association Outstanding Student Leadership Award for her service to Simon Fraser University. Atwal’s service involved volunteer work she performed for the 2018 NATO Field School and Simulation Program, of which she is now manager.

While completing her BA, Atwal qualified for the award that recognizes students in their third or fourth year, in good academic standing, who have demonstrated outstanding performance or leadership. This endeavour can take place at SFU or in the broader community. The achievement may be in athletics or the arts, or as in Atwal’s case, in the form of volunteering. Award winners, like Atwal, receive $2000.

Atwal first became involved with the Department of Political Science’s NATO Field School in spring 2018. During the field school’s nine-week program, undergraduate and graduate students from NATO countries work with and learn from NATO officials and members of the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada and Europe. Atwal attended the program as a criminology student and found the experience helped her to grow personally and professionally. Wanting to give future field school students as enriching an experience, she became the assistant program manager in fall 2018. Atwal helped organize and run the 2019 field school, and her excellent performance led to her promotion in July 2019 to field school manager.

Atwal is currently planning for the 2020 NATO Field School and is completing her MA in political science under the direction of Professor Alexander Moens, field school founder. While Atwal hasn’t decided on the career she wants to pursue after she completes her graduate studies, she knows it will involve NATO and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as security and defense issues.