The University of Guelph awarded its most prestigious annual scholarships Sept. 4 at the Arboretum Centre.
The President’s Scholarships are awarded to first-year students based on high school achievements, leadership abilities and citizenship activities. This year’s recipients are Spencer McGregor, Julia Bryson, Jordan Buchan, Chris Gray, Joyce Cheng, Emily Hill and Owen Krystia.
Jodre Datu was awarded the David Mirvish Chancellor’s Scholarship, named for U of G chancellor David Mirvish and recognizing student leadership in arts and culture.
Sydney Collins won the University of Guelph Chancellors’ scholarship, which recognizes exemplary student leaders interested in international development.
Marta Thorpe and Elli Shanen each received a Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship. This award, named for former longtime chancellor Lincoln Alexander, recognizes top students who belong to an ethnic minority and who have made significant community contributions.
The 2015 Chancellors’ and President’s Scholarships are worth $26,000 each over four years and include an opportunity for a summer research assistantship worth an additional $8,000. Recipients are teamed with a faculty mentor in their academic discipline.
The scholarship program has recognized about 340 students since the first President’s Scholarships were presented in 1987. The awards are funded mostly through donations from alumni, friends, faculty and staff.
Recipient bios are presented below. Learn more about the history of the University of Guelph’s undergraduate scholarship program, and about Chancellors’ and President’s Scholarships application details.
Julia Bryson (Biomedical Science) has worked to improve the well-being of underprivileged and impoverished communities. Her fundraiser for Health Partners International of Canada contributed more than $20,000 worth of medications and supplies for medical missions overseas. To support exploited Haitian workers, Bryson founded a social justice group called Activism Creating Transformation. She helped lead the Students Promoting Leadership Action Team, which raised funds to build a school in Sierra Leone. She will be mentored by Prof. Coral Murrant, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences.
Jordan Buchan (Biomedical Science) worked with her school’s community environmental leadership club and social responsibility council to strengthen her community’s connection to nature and raise the school’s eco-status. As a dedicated alternative caregiver for the past seven years, she has supported a young girl whose rare syndrome impacts her social interactions. She will be mentored by Prof. Cate Dewey, Population Medicine.
As a project chair for Key Club International, Joyce Cheng (Engineering) helped lead fundraising to provide tetanus immunizations to poor and neglected mothers and babies abroad. Working with the Ontario Youth Council, she designed events and led workshops about environmental awareness. At the Marc Garneau Institute, she helped to orient new students and enable them to build relationships for success. She will be mentored by Prof. William Lubitz, Engineering.
Chris Gray (Biomedical Science) was a peer supporter, helping Grade 9 students adjust to high school. He developed and took part in projects intended to foster student engagement and community awareness. As captain of his rugby and hockey teams, he encouraged sportsmanship and excellence. He will be mentored by Prof. Brad Hanna, Biomedical Sciences.
As a volunteer with the Farley Foundation, Emily Hill (Criminal Justice and Public Policy) helped raise money to subsidize the cost of veterinary care for pets of people in need. She has volunteered with Water Ambassadors Canada to provide clean water and benefit impoverished families in developing countries. Through her school’s social justice club, she led food drives and organized campaigns to promote healthy body image and to prevent violence against women. She will be mentored by Prof. Troy Riddell, Political Science.
Owen Krystia (Applied Human Nutrition) was a student senator for his local school board and president of his school’s administrative council. Organizing the largest-ever canned food drive in Sudbury, he led more than 200 volunteers to collect 16,000 pounds of food. Krystia taught at the Sudbury Korean Martial Arts Centre and volunteers at a hospital. As an active member of a local anti-tobacco coalition, he has organized educational events and worked with the Sudbury Health Unit on a youth anti-tobacco campaign. He will be mentored by Prof. Andrea Bucholz, Family Relations and Applied Nutiriton.
Spencer McGregor (Agriculture) is a member of the Ontario Nature Youth Council, where he petitioned against insecticide use. He established the Blue Dot movement, seeking to amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to guarantee Canadians the right to a healthy environment. McGregor has received many accolades for his scholastic achievements. As a member of the Student Voice Program, he worked with school administrators to identify and solve problems for students. He will be mentored by Prof. Rebecca Hallet, Environmental Sciences.
Jodre Datu (Biomedical Toxicology) wrote, produced and directed a play for the Sears Drama Festival that earned acclaim as one of the top new works in Ontario. He has won several writing contests and published his work in an anthology of short stories, and has won math and science subject awards. He was also a part of the school’s student senate and served as editor of his school yearbook. He will be mentored by Prof. Patricia Turner, Pathobiology.
Sydney Collins (Environmental Biology) promotes small projects to improve environmental sustainability. As a member of her school’s ecology club, she organized initiatives to reduce waste, create green space and curb CO2 emissions. Her project to weave recycled milk bags into waterproof sleeping mats not only helped improve environmental sustainability but also bettered the lives of poor people in developing nations. She will be mentored by Prof. Shelley Hunt, Environmental Biology.
Elli Shanen (Biological Engineering) organized a high school multicultural club, helping students learn about one another’s culture, and promoted inclusivity and cultural education. Shanen led planning for a retreat with workshops and activities for more than 150 Grade 9 students. She led a group in designing and building an engaging and educational outdoor space for school and community members as part of the Alive Outside Canada Challenge. She will be mentored by Prof. Michele Olivier, Engineering.
Working with organizations such as Free the Children and the Zonta Club, Marta Thorpe (Biomedical Science) has built schools in India and assembled birthing kits for women in developing countries. She has tutored other students and organized events to welcome Grade 9 newcomers. She organized a mission trip to volunteer at clinics, schools and farms, and ran fundraisers to support the Polish Aid Foundation in Jamaica. She will be mentored by Prof. Alicia Viloria-Petit, Biomedical Sciences.