Nine incoming undergraduate students received top University of Guelph scholarships Sept. 1.

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

Two students received the Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship. The award, named for former longtime chancellor Lincoln Alexander, 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.

U of G president Franco Vaccarino and chancellor Martha Billes presented the awards at the Arboretum Centre.

U of G chancellor Martha Billes (far left) and president Franco Vaccarino (far right) with the 2017 President’s and Chancellor’s Scholars

“It is an honour for me to recognize these extraordinary individuals as they start their academic careers at the University of Guelph,” said Vaccarino.

“They are studying in different fields, but share a record of academic achievement, leadership and service to the community. I look forward to seeing the contributions they will make as U of G students.”

The 2017 Chancellor’s and President’s Scholarships are worth $40,000 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 more than 350 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:

Chancellor’s Scholars

Ghaid Asfour (biomedical toxicology) is a top science student and an advocate for gender equality and anti-bullying. She raised awareness about bullying as a volunteer cyber ambassador with Safe City Mississauga. Asfour led a tutoring program for primary schoolchildren and ran the Cyber Ambassador social media campaign. Mentor: Prof. Craig Bailey, Biomedical Sciences

Lauren Chang (arts and science) has run activities for the TOPS (Talented Offerings for Programs in the Sciences) enriched program in math and science for high school students. She won writing competitions in Toronto’s Word on the Street book festival and the CBC Shakespeare Selfie Challenge. Chang has been a peer educator and performer with SeXT (Sex Education by Theatre). Mentor: Ian Newby-Clarke, Psychology

President’s Scholars

Jay Chen (chemistry) won numerous national science fair awards for environmental projects focused on water quality. He started an annual school food drive, volunteered in Ecuador and served as high school student president. Mentor: Prof. Adrian Schwan, Chemistry

Brooke Davidson (human kinetics) is an elite athlete who rallied team members for breast cancer awareness and fundraising events as well as food bank collections. She played soccer, hockey, basketball and volleyball, and served as a member of her school’s athletic council. Mentor: Prof. Chris Whitfield, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Kiana Gibson (arts and science) is a multi-sport athlete and provincial competitor in track and field and cross-country. Gibson has coached and counselled youngsters in gymnastics and at an athletic camp. She helped lead school groups, including serving as co-leader of Tools With Impact, which raises funds for education in Ecuador and Mali. Mentor: Sherilee Harper, Population Medicine

Karling Luciani (neuroscience) was a student trustee in her school board and head of her high school student council. She took part in school and community fundraisers, and has been an advocate for mental health awareness. Luciani won the 2016 Welland Youth Citizen of the Year award. Mentor: Mark Fenske, Psychology

Quinn Rankin (arts) co-wrote and produced a play called Stopover as a fundraiser for mental health initiatives. Working with Crossing All Bridges, a non-profit learning centre for adults with special needs, Rankin created and ran a drama therapy program. He coached track and field and swim teams in Special Olympics.  Mentor: Prof. Ann Wilson, English and Theatre Studies

David Sahai (bio-medical sciences) was a member of school student council and the athletics association. A competitive volleyball player and a musician, he has also been a hospital volunteer. Mentor: Teresa Crease, Integrative Biology

Pooja Sankar (bio-medical sciences) was a school ambassador and helped organize YouthTALK, a city-wide mental health conference to promote suicide prevention resources. Sankar worked more than 1,000 volunteer hours, including with retirees and youth, and with the Canadian Cancer Society. Mentor: Leah Bent, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences