Sixteen incoming undergraduate students at the University of Guelph received top 2020 entrance awards in a virtual event held Sept. 17.
Fourteen students received President’s Scholarships, which recognize high school achievements, leadership abilities and citizenship activities.
Two students received the Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship, named for former long-time chancellor Lincoln Alexander. The award recognizes top students who have made significant community contributions and who are Indigenous, a member of a visible minority or a person with a disability.
This year’s scholars were introduced to the U of G community through self-capture videos and citations. The event also allowed the students to meet virtually with their mentors and senior administrators.
In congratulating the students, president Charlotte Yates said, “At the University of Guelph, we emphasize a broad view of the whole student, including your academic, social, physical and mental well-being.
“You will find opportunities here to engage, to lead and to prepare to make a difference – key attributes in an ever-changing world. Your University of Guelph education and experience will give you opportunities to learn, to grow and ultimately to improve life for yourself and the wider world.”
The 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:
Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship
- Grace Wylie (management, co-op) helped found a safe school space for students and founded and led an Indigenous studies club to promote broader understanding of First Nations issues. She captained the volleyball team and ran drama and dance events. She mentored with the Big/Little Sister program and recruited donors for Canadian Blood Services. Mentor: Prof. Ruben Burga, Department of Management
- Martha Yiridoe (biochemistry) appeared in school musicals and competed on top provincial soccer teams. She founded an Explore STEM program for high school students and co-led activities to integrate students with learning and physical disabilities. She served with the United Way and helped lead an anti-racism rally. Mentor: Prof. Wei Zhang, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Omar Anany (bio-medical science) helped organizations distribute winter homeless kits and sponsor orphaned children. He helped settle 50 Syrian refugee families in Guelph in 2017 and assisted with an Arabic-language school for elementary students. A varsity athlete, he led his school’s inaugural sports equipment drive for a non-profit children’s organization. Mentor: Prof. Michael McBurney, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
- Rosa Antonini Leal (bio-medical science) played volleyball for Team BC, co-founded a Sports for Kids program, and ran children’s basketball and volleyball tournaments. She taught ukulele and ran worm composting initiatives. She volunteered to support international students, served on the grad council and was a fundraiser for the Terry Fox Foundation. Mentor: Prof. Andrea Clark, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
- Emma Badley (child studies) helped organize mental health events and worked to improve access to mental health services. She founded a program matching student volunteers with nursing home residents, led fundraising for epilepsy research, volunteered with sports tournaments and clothing and food drives, and mentored younger students. Mentor: Prof. Tricia Van Rhijn, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
- Asha Bullerwell (animal biology) launched UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals events, including a food drive and a Girls’ Night In event to empower young women. She helped create a mental health support group, co-led a junior leadership club, ran student leadership activities and volunteered with a developmental riding program. Mentor: Prof. Luis Arroyo, Department of Clinical Studies
- Priscilla Dyck (bio-medical science) helped found a safe, inclusive games room, leading to creation of her county’s first e-sports team. She helped run food drives and raise money for a school in Sierra Leone. A peer tutor in math and science, she has represented her school at a leadership program called Rotary Adventures in Citizenship. Mentor: Prof. Pavneesh Madan, Department of Biomedical Sciences
- Jared Fischbach (bio-medical science) facilitated outreach support and social-recreational programs for individuals with developmental disabilities at the Renna Foundation. He ran in the Jerusalem Marathon for a fundraiser supporting individuals with special needs. He organized sports and wellness activities, helped conduct tours for prospective students and helped run school stage productions. Mentor: Prof. Jim Petrik, Department of Biomedical Sciences
- Desiree Francis (microbiology, co-op) is an officer with the air cadets. She helped lead a school program promoting inclusivity and diversity. A volunteer with the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, she has been a peer tutor, served as president of the school arts council executive and directed a Fringe Festival production. Mentor: Prof. Georgina Cox, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Larissa Kouroukis (bio-medical science) co-led HOPE (High Schoolers Opening People’s Eyes) in food and toy drives and in fundraising for charitable organizations. She helped lead the school athletics council and HOSA-Future Health Professionals for students interested in science and health careers. She attended leadership training and participated in the SHAD summer program. Mentor: Prof Glen Pyle, Department of Biomedical Sciences
- Tess Muller (environmental engineering, co-op), a Duke of Edinburgh Award recipient, led sports teams and served as spokesperson for her school’s exceptional athlete program. She founded an activity program for girls in inner-city schools, delivered after-school programs at a community fitness and wellness facility and served as a Special Olympics volunteer. Mentor: Prof. Jana Levison, School of Engineering
- Daniel Neiterman (accounting, co-op) received the Navy League of Canada Medal of Excellence for community service with various organizations. He organized concerts to raise money for HIV/AIDS research and volunteered for a school leadership camp. He founded a Jewish culture club and was inaugural president of the National Congregation of Synagogue Youth. Mentor: Prof. Sandra Scott, Department of Management
- Karen Reymer (agriculture) served as a representative for 4H Ontario at the National Members Forum. She has volunteered with local service clubs and the annual Canadian Dairy Expo. As student council president, she helped raise mental health awareness, led inclusivity events, served as a peer tutor and took part in fundraising for Relay for Life. Mentor: Prof. Alfons Weersink, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics
- Julia Shannon (human kinetics) has volunteered with church youth ministry and has served as a school peer mentor for ESL students. A provincially ranked and nationally competitive Nordic skier, she founded her school Nordic ski team and founded the Special Olympics Nordic Experience for children with special needs. Mentor: Prof. Lindsay Robinson, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
- Meghan Spence (arts and science) led a gender equity and rights club, helped organize an International Women’s Day assembly and organized a memorial for the victims of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal. She helped secure funding from Pollinate Toronto to plant a pollinator garden and led student rallies for climate change action. Mentor: Samantha Brennan, dean, College of Arts
- Jordan Thakar (environmental engineering) helped focus attention on plastic cleanup efforts in partnership with 4Ocean and led events to highlight impacts of climate change. He helped found a committee that introduced Black History Month to his school and started a group to support an animal shelter and wildlife centres. Mentor: Prof. Rafael Santos, School of Engineering