Young Alumni Achievement Award

About the Meraki Kudos Young Alumni Achievement Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize young alumni of the University of King’s College who have achieved significant accomplishments via their professions, volunteer work, or other endeavours. All alumni of the university under the age of 35 are eligible to be nominated for this award.

The Meraki Kudos Young Alumni Achievement Award will next be awarded in 2024, when we gather for the Alumni Brunch on Saturday, June 1.

2024 Recipient: Nicole Feriancek

Nicole Feriancek, BJ(Hons)’12, creativity, dedication to journalism and entrepreneurial spirit have taken her from reporting at small weekly newspapers to working as an assistant director on film sets across Canada, to digital work covering the Olympics in countries around the world, and now to the top of one of Canada’s most venerable newspapers. In 2023, Nicole became Editor-in-Chief of both the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun. Since taking the helm, she has driven efforts to make the Citizen’s journalism more accessible, such as by spearheading a push for explainer-based reporting that is approachable to a wider audience.

Whether on the ground at the Olympic games or on her home turf, Nicole has shown an ability to draw the best out of anyone, from student interns to reporters and photographers with decades of experience.

In this period of trimmed resources and discouraging job cuts throughout North America, she is a leader who maintains an unwavering belief in the importance of journalism as a vital tool to keep people informed, safe, healthy and aware of the world around them.

Photo by Tony Caldwell, Postmedia

2023 Recipient: Adrian Lee

Adrian Lee, BJ(Hons), 2011 is a writer and editor who currently works in The Globe and Mail’s opinion section, producing essays both long and short; he is also the host of The Globe’s podcast about the future of cities, City Space. Prior to his departure for The Globe in 2018, he was the Opinion Editor at Maclean’s Magazine, where he also won a Digital Publishing Award for Best Podcast for the Maclean’s pop-culture podcast and was a finalist in the short online-feature category. More recently, he was named a 2023 Journalism Fellow for the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE); he is also a former juror for the Polaris Music Prize. In the spirit of Isaiah Berlin’s thought exercise of fox-like thinkers, his writing has spanned a great many subjects of interest to him—politics, music, technology, film, sports, historical arcana— and his work has appeared on CBC Radio and Television and in the Canadian Press, Agence France Presse, and the Michener-nominated alt-weekly The Coast.

Photo by Fred Lum, The Globe and Mail

2020 Recipient: Hannah Rittner

Hannah Rittner’s, BA(Hons)’11 list of accomplishments, as a playwright just keeps getting longer. Such notable institutions as The Stratford Festival, Nightwood Theatre and NYU’s Musical Theatre Department have developed her work. She was one of eight playwrights chosen from across the country for the prestigious Playwrights Retreat where she began work on a four-act play about Sarah Bernhardt.

In 2016, Hannah launched LACE Productions with her play The Unbelievers. It was the first live production to tackle the torture, the sexual slavery and the sheer ugliness of the Yazidi genocide in northern Iraq by ISIS. Her research and advocacy on behalf of the Yazidi community brought her into the sphere of activist Nadia Murad. Nadia won the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy 2018.

Recently, Hannah’s play Elijah was given top prize in the 2019 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition. Hannah says, “It’s a really intimate, mystical, magical story about a family and about becoming your own hero.”

While Hannah is proud of all she has done, the Meraki Kudos award has special meaning. “Meraki” is a Greek word used to describe someone “doing something with soul, creativity or love”. Hannah says the award means a lot.

“It’s the only way I know how to be. It feels so wonderful that this award is shaped around that. I got the call on one of the most heartbreaking days of my life. Perhaps the heartbreak I experienced just hours before, allowed me to let the beauty of this recognition sink even deeper. I am so grateful and so moved.”

Read more about Hannah Rittner
Photo by Justine Nelson