Fourteen incoming undergraduate students at the University of Guelph received top entrance awards during an event held Sept. 2.

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

One student 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 person with a disability or a racialized person.

Also recognized was one recipient of the Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino President’s Scholarship. Named for former U of G president Franco Vaccarino, this award recognizes a top international student and potential leader who has made significant school and community contributions.

Stressing U of G’s standing as one of Canada’s top comprehensive universities and its wider community standing, chancellor Mary Anne Chambers said, “You will find opportunities here to engage, to lead and to prepare to make a difference. Your U of G education and experience will give you an opportunity to learn, to grow and, ultimately, to improve life for yourself and the wider world.”

Dr. Cate Dewey, associate vice-president (academic), thanked donors for supporting the awards and faculty mentors for working with students. Addressing the scholars, she said, “You are joining an elite group of students who enrich this campus with your commitment to making this a better world, your passion for volunteerism, your dedication to excellence in the arts or as an athlete, and your leadership.”

The President’s and Chancellor’s Scholarships are worth $8,250 a year over four years plus one $9,500 stipend for a summer research assistantship. Recipients are teamed with a faculty mentor in their discipline.

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

Fourteen people stand in two rows in a gazebo

Lincoln Alexander Chancellor’s Scholarship

Sydney Yott (biomedical engineering)

Yott led mental health and sustainability initiatives as a Niagara district student trustee. She served as Indigenous relations co-chair for the Ontario Student Trustee Association and as president of the Catholic Board Council. She was also vice-president of her school athletic council, a peer tutor and a volunteer at various non-profits.

Mentor: Dr. Scott Brandon, School of Engineering

Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino President’s Scholarship

Aryana Gautama (economics, co-op)

Gautama served as president of the Scholars Society, initiating a school partnership with national park and wildlife organizations to help conserve Nairobi’s natural heritage. She led community service projects, advocated for teen mental health awareness, led sports teams and was a musician in youth theatre.

Mentor: Dr. Audrey Jamal, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

President’s Scholarships

Swara Bangali (bio-medical science)

Bangali served as athletic council co-president, led Health Occupations Students of America, and founded a MEDLife chapter to support medical care, education and development in low-income countries worldwide. She has been a taekwondo coach, a competitive dance instructor, a summer camp counsellor and a hospital volunteer.

Mentor: Dr. Glen Pyle, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Kaya Bartlewski (neuroscience)

Bartlewski served as president of student council and a social justice club as well as founding EmpowerYouth Guelph. She was a member of student senate and volunteered with the Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, the Create Change Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Mentor: Dr. Neil MacLusky, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Cara Braun (environmental sciences, co-op)

Braun served as minister of the environment for her school’s EcoTeam. A founding member of the Windsor-Essex Youth Climate Council, she created lesson materials for local students on climate change and energy use, She also received the local conservation authority’s youth conservation award.

Mentor: Dr. Liz Mandeville, Department of Integrative Biology

Zoë Brown (bio-medical science)

Brown directed student activities for a Grow Girls leadership conference for new high school students and led the school culture club intended to celebrate diversity. In her wider community, Zoë worked with the Me to We organization, the Special Olympics program and the Vansittart Woods outdoor education program.

Mentor: Dr. Roger Moorehead, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Denver Bubelich (neuroscience)

Bubelich served as president of a STEM chapter, providing resources and support for minority groups. Denver ran food and clothing drives and helped organize a project that presented an artwork at Canada’s Parliament highlighting racial injustice and issues faced by Indigenous peoples. She also led production of mental health materials during the pandemic.

Mentor: Dr. Shaun Sanders, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Lily Eldon (biomedical engineering, co-op)

Eldon served as a peer tutor and co-leader of the JUMP math program and was a co-leader of math and law clubs. She founded a school debate team and led fundraising initiatives as minister of charity for student government. Lily co-founded the Women in Math organization and worked on environment and well-being while on the school board senate.

Mentor: Dr. Huiyan Li, School of Engineering

Livia Fleischmann (biological engineering, co-op)

Fleischmann served as president of a school environmental group and was selected for the EcoSchools Canada Youth Advisory Committee working to address climate change. She served as student council president, organized school humanitarian events and volunteered with a camp for children with physical and mental disabilities.

Mentor: Dr. Ashutosh Singh, School of Engineering

Emma Kueneman (child studies)

Kueneman served on student council, leading fundraising and special events, coordinating the HeadStart program and helping run the Relay for Life fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. She volunteered with a local women’s shelter, a library mental health program, KidsAbility and a local retirement home.

Mentor: Dr. Tara Abraham, Department of History

Emma LeBrun (food science, co-op)

LeBrun served as student council prime minister and was a member of student senate with her school board. She led fundraising for clean water initiatives on First Nation reserves, was founding president of a Rotary Interac club, and has volunteered with a local food bank, tree planting, community meals and a local nursing home.

Mentor: Dr. Lisa Duizer, Department of Food Science

Charli Shapiro (criminal justice and public policy)

Shapiro earned the Ontario Principal’s Award for Student Leadership for activities including heading a peer mentor program, serving as president of the athletic council and helping to host student orientation events. She led a Young Feminist Leadership Team that created a safe space for female-identifying and non-binary students.

Mentor: Dr. Ryan Broll, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Lindsey Wamboldt (wildlife biology and conservation, co-op)

Wamboldt served as a science communicator at a Nova Scotia aquarium and as a co-op student with a charitable rehabilitation organization. She led conservation activities with Wild Outside, served with student council and took part in fundraisers for initiatives including a project to alleviate poverty in developing countries.

Mentor: Dr. Amy Newman, Department of Integrative Biology

Samantha Wheadon (biochemistry, co-op)

Wheadon led student orientation activities as well as environmental fundraising and awareness campaigns and organized inclusion, diversity and equity events. She volunteered with Ausome Ottawa for autistic children in sports, with a library teen advisory group, with a parent resource centre and with a community youth group.

Mentor: Dr. Siavash Vahidi, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology