2019 Scholarship Winners
Back Row: Toby Czarny, Ahmad Hassan, Michael Chislett. Third Row: Robert Carriero, Adam McMahon, Julia Billings, Kaitlyn Jacob. Second Row: Ally Zaheer, Sophia Steele, Jaiden Smith. Front Row: U of G president Franco Vaccarino, Megan Swinwood-Sky, Marilyn Sheen, Sarah Hynes, chancellor Martha Billes.

Thirteen incoming undergraduate students at the University of Guelph received top entrance awards during the 2019 scholar awards ceremony held on campus Aug. 30.

Seven students received President’s Scholarships, which recognize high school achievements, leadership abilities, and citizenship activities.

Three students received Chancellors’ Scholarships honouring current and former U of G chancellors and awarded for top students with the potential to become leaders in society.

Two students received the Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship, named for former longtime chancellor Lincoln Alexander. The award recognizes top students who have made significant community contributions and who are Aboriginal, a member of a visible minority or a person with a disability.

One student received the Loran Award, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive four-year undergraduate award. The Loran Scholarship Foundation, along with universities, donors and volunteers, recognizes young Canadians for academic distinction and for significant demonstration of character, service and promise of leadership.

U of G president Franco Vaccarino and chancellor Martha Billes presented the awards at PJ’s Restaurant on campus.

In congratulating the students, Vaccarino said, “You have been granted an extraordinary opportunity to pursue your studies here and to learn about yourselves and your world.

“You will find opportunities here to engage, to lead and to prepare to make a difference – key attributes in an ever-changing world.”

The 2019 President’s and Chancellor’s Scholarships are worth $42,000 over four years and include an opportunity for a summer research assistantship worth an additional $9,000. Recipients are teamed with a faculty mentor in their academic discipline.

The scholarship program has recognized more than 400 students since the first President’s Scholarships were presented in 1987. The awards are funded mostly through donations from alumni, friends, faculty, and staff.

This year’s recipients are as follows:

Chancellors’ Scholars

  • Toby Czarny (environmental governance) played violin and oboe and served as co-concertmaster with a youth orchestra. He composed the musical score for a play about a Holocaust survivor. He belonged to a social justice club that supported refugee families and local shelters and volunteered with a local horticultural society. Mentor: Prof. Jennifer Silver, Geography, Environment and Geomatics
  • Sophia Steele (public management) founded a Me to We club that funded a drinking water project in Kenya and volunteered with Me to We in Ecuador. She helped form and lead a local Rotary Interact Club for humanitarian projects and has spoken to younger students about youth empowerment and sustainable communities. Mentor: Prof. Kathleen Rodenburg, Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management 
  • Megan Swinwood-Sky (animal biology) volunteered in Europe through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program. An artist, she has shown work in competitions including an Art for Social Change symposium focused on Indigenous art. She led school-wide environmental stewardship initiatives and took part in training at the Ontario Education Leadership Centre. Mentor: Prof. Renée Bergeron, Biomedical Sciences

President’s Scholars

  • Julia Billings (biomedical engineering, co-op) is a top athlete who organized drives for school and sports equipment for developing countries. She took part in humanitarian missions to Peru and Kenya as well as Relay for Life and fundraisers for the Parkinson’s Society. She led school events for children with special needs. Mentor: Prof. Scott Brandon, Engineering
  • Robert Carriero (physical science) worked to improve his school board’s concussion protocol following his own football injury. He led school activities, served as a representative at the Ontario Education Leadership Centre, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Out of the Cold programs. He studied primate vision with a Jane Goodall Institute researcher. Mentor: Christian Schultz-Nielsen, lab development specialist and liaison officer
  • Michael Chislett (water resources engineering, co-op) has performed with music and theatre productions and was founding director and conductor of a local youth musical ensemble. He has led community arts events for youth and chaired a school leadership committee. A member of a federal youth council group, he will receive a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Mentor: Prof. Ryan Clemmer, Engineering
  • Sarah Hynes (biomedical engineering, co-op) led school activities, including raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society and for a school in Kenya. A volunteer skating coach, she helped launch a skating program for children with disabilities. She took part in a summer engineering program offered by the University of Prince Edward Island. Mentor: Prof. Eran Ukwata, Engineering
  • Kaitlyn Jacob (human kinetics) was captain of a top varsity basketball team and organized sports events for Special Olympics, the YMCA and summer camps. She organized a mental health awareness workshop at school and helped run events for the Canadian Cancer Society, the United Way and a community food bank. Mentor: Prof. Amanda Wright, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
  • Adam McMahon (biomedical and pharmaceutical chemistry, co-op) led model United Nations delegations and helped run a club that fosters an inclusive environment. He volunteered at a long-term care facility and a seniors care unit, He provided tutoring and homework help to other students, and was a skate instructor and camp counsellor. Mentor: Prof. Kathryn Preuss, Chemistry
  • Ally Zaheer (environmental engineering, co-op) served as president of her school environmental council and spearheaded a project to implement reusable dining materials at school. She chaired a teen advisory group, tutored students in math and science, and spent part of Grade 12 as a volunteer host while attending school at the Ontario Science Centre. Mentor: Prof. Jana Levison, Engineering

Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship

  • Ahmad Hassan (biochemistry, co-op) led school groups and founded a school group providing a safe space for Muslim students for prayer and discussion. He used English and Arabic language skills as a summer camp counsellor, including serving as a translator for a camp for recently relocated Syrian refugee children. Mentor: Prof. Steffen Graether, Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Jaiden Smith (biomedical science) took part in humanitarian missions abroad and at home as a leader of her high school social justice team. She developed leadership skills through sports and through organizing summer camp programs for children with special needs. She led a school faith group intended to promote inclusiveness and community. Mentor: Prof. Neil MacClusky, Biomedical Sciences

Loran Award

  • Marilyn Sheen (biodiversity) is a volunteer skating coach who competed in provincial and Atlantic championships. She belonged to the first women’s mountain biking team to represent her province at the Canada Games, and was named female athlete of the year in the sport. A school leader, she has developed independent interests in the arts. Mentor: Prof. Ryan Gregory, Integrative Biology