News Releases

November 14, 2023

Four NBCC Alumni to be recognized


New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) will celebrate four remarkable alumni during a special ceremony at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. Noah Donovan, Kyana Kingbird, Kara Martin, and Ryan Mitchell are set to receive 2023 NBCC Alumni Recognition Awards for their outstanding contributions to their communities and beyond.

  • Noah Donovan: A multi-faceted entrepreneur, Councilor, and community leader, Noah Donovan is dedicated to living a life of service, entrepreneurship, and activism.
  • Kyana Kingbird: A Mi’kmaw and Ojibwe artist, dancer, designer, and community worker, Kyana Kingbird is making a difference both in her community and across the country.
  • Kara Martin: A fervent and unwavering advocate, Kara Martin is making a profound impact on New Brunswick’s Mi’kmaw communities through her leadership, determination, and resilience.
  • Ryan Mitchell: As President and CEO of Saint John Energy, Ryan Mitchell is one of Canada’s top sustainability leaders, with a strong focus on community and volunteerism.

    In recognition of his exceptional contributions, Mitchell will receive the prestigious Friend of New Brunswick award, which recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the culture, reputation, and/or economic prosperity of New Brunswick.

“At NBCC, we are proud of and profoundly moved by the outstanding achievements of our alumni, who serve as powerful catalysts for positive change in their communities,” said Mary Butler, President and CEO of NBCC. “These four remarkable individuals are not just emblematic of NBCC’s mission; they are living proof of its transformative power in shaping lives and inspiring communities.” Nominations for NBCC’s Alumni Recognition Awards are open year-round and can be submitted online.

Charray Owen
Lead, Strategic Communications, NBCC

For biographical information on award recipients, please see the following backgrounder.


Noah Donovan, Business Administration, Class of 2020

A young entrepreneur who has emerged as a leader in his community, Noah Donovan is committed to positive change and social progress.

Noah's young age has never held him back from the work he's passionate about: as an 18-year-old Business Administration: Marketing student at NBCC, he launched his own business, the Port City Candy Company, a small batch, handcrafted candy brand. Then, in 2021, he went on to become the youngest person ever elected to Quispamsis Town Council.

Now Noah is a community force to be reckoned with. The Backpacks for Homeless project he coordinated as a middle schooler has grown to provide warm winter clothing, blankets, food items, and first aid kits to over 50 unhoused individuals in the Greater Saint John Region each winter. He has also dedicated his time and energy to combatting food insecurity, including donating 120 Easter treat bags to the Kennebecasis Valley Food Bank annually.

As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, he advocates for equity for all. In 2022, he successfully lobbied council to rename the laneway at the end of Landing Court as Equality Lane, providing a lasting reminder of the many diverse populations that make up Quispamsis.

Noah's dedication to community service, entrepreneurship, and activism has earned him the Daniel Clowes Memorial Award, in recognition of his work with the unhoused, and Startup Canada's Atlantic Canadian Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Now, he adds Outstanding NBCC Alumni to the list.

Charity of Choice: Rainbow Railroad

Kyana Kingbird, Criminal Justice Corrections, Class of 2016

A Mi'kmaw and Ojibwe artist, dancer, designer, and community worker, Kyana Kingbird is making a difference in her community and across the country with her leadership.

Through her work as a Cultural Officer with Ulnooweg Education Centre, First Nations Affiliate with the John Howard Society, Community Safety Planning Coordinator in Esgenoopetitj, and a freelance interdisciplinary artist, Kyana inspires and empowers Indigenous women to embrace their culture and share their knowledge for future generations.

Trained in domestic assault risk assessment, suicide intervention, facilitation, and restorative justice, Kyana is a big believer in the power of education. With two degrees in addition to her NBCC diploma, learning is her favourite hobby.

In the arts, Kyana covers the full spectrum of disciplines. She dances at powwows across the continent and was the first Indigenous person to be signed as an artist/dancer with a professional sports team in Canada when she performed in the halftime show at a Toronto Raptors game. Her fashion designs range from beadwork to full jingle dress regalia and her work was shown at Fashion Art Toronto. She has also performed a lead role in a television pilot.

Whether as a performer at the Indspire Awards Show or keynote speaker at the Empowering Indigenous Leaders conference, Kyana is an inspiring role model who gives freely of her time. She conducts cultural

workshops for aspiring Indigenous artists and donates her artwork to various fundraisers in a shining example of NBCC's tradition of community leadership.

Charity of Choice: Tobique Youth Centre

Kara Martin, Business Administration: Sales and Marketing, Class of 2010

With strong leadership, determination, and resilience, Kara Martin brings her passion for enriching the lives of her fellow Mi'kmaw into everything she does.

Kara's dedication to community development, particularly around job creation and industry leadership, has had a profound impact on New Brunswick's Mi'kmaw communities. She established a women's support group at Natoaganeg First Nation, providing services like self defense, financial literacy, economic development programming, mental health counselling, and court services navigation. Her work in developing partnerships and agreements with industry has resulted in meaningful employment opportunities for those in her community.

Outside of her work as Strategic Manager for Natoaganeg First Nation, Kara has a demonstrated desire to improve educational opportunities for Indigenous students. She played a key role in creating an Indigenous-led curriculum for an Introduction to Electrical Trades program, focusing on renewables, at NBCC. She holds a special place in her heart for the annual Mag Simon Women's Softball Tournament initially inspired by Kara's beloved Aunt Mag (Margaret Ann Simon). Over the past eight years, the tournament has raised close to $20K to assist families with funeral costs, to aid families who have lost loved ones in Natoaganeg and Esgenoopetitj First Nations.

Kara is also a keen volunteer for community betterment initiatives, including youth sports, food security and food sovereignty, health care, and economic development. She served as the New Brunswick Indigenous Summer Games coordinator Natoageneg in 2016.

Kara's approach to her work and community leadership has had a positive impact on the lives of many, and she continues to give back in ways that move her community forward.

Charity of Choice: Orange Shirt Society

Ryan Mitchell, Electronics Engineering: Data Systems, Class of 1995

Friend of New Brunswick Award Recipient

From the classrooms and hallways of NBCC to the CEO's office at Saint John Energy, Ryan Mitchell has made the pursuit of innovative energy solutions his life's work.

One of Canada's top sustainability leaders, he has served as a board member with the Atlantica Centre for Energy, Smart Grid Innovation Network, Electricity Canada and the Atlantic Hydrogen Alliance.

Under Ryan's leadership, Saint John Energy is advancing clean energy solutions and driving innovation. His application of information technology to the energy sector has positioned Saint John Energy for the future.

The utility, having garnered national and international acclaim for its ingenuity, is building the Utility of the Future and has embarked on Zero30, a roadmap to net-zero emissions in its operations by 2030.

For his vision, Ryan was named in 2021 to Canada's Clean50 list, saluting emerging leaders in forging a clean energy future for the nation.

He's also a dedicated community volunteer, having supported the United Way as part of its campaign cabinet, served as a youth sports coach, been on the board of the Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative and spearheaded a sustainability project with Outflow.

Ryan's contributions to the energy sector and his community have had a significant impact in Saint John and beyond, and set an inspiring example to current and future students of NBCC.

Charity of Choice: Sistema New Brunswick – Saint John