One student walked away with more than her degree in microbiology this week, Celine Edwards was also the awarded the top prize for any Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences student, and $10,000.
The Pushor Mitchell LLP Gold Medal Leadership Prize, now in its tenth year, recognizes a top graduating student who not only excelled academically but has shown leadership while earning their degree.
Hailing from the rural community of Falkland, B.C., Edwards moved to Kelowna to attend UBCO with the goal to improve health-care delivery for places like her home town.
“Being selected as the recipient of this prestigious award not only means a lot to me and my family but also my community,” Edwards said. “I’ll be using the award to finance my studies in medicine, enabling my dream of improving the healthcare and quality of life of people living in rural communities.”
Edwards, a recipient of many undergraduate awards for academics and contributions, gave back to the campus through her work as a teaching assistant, a supplemental learning leader and conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease and lung cancer.
“I had the pleasure of teaching Celine in two very challenging courses and in both her level of achievement was exceptional,” UBCO biology instructor Janet Kluftinger said. “Despite a rigorous academic commitment, Celine also managed to find time to pursue valuable volunteer and research opportunities. These experiences seem to have solidified her aspiration to pursue a career in medicine.”
Edwards redirected her attention from neuroscience to cancer last spring after joining the Early Detection Research Team at the BC Cancer Agency. She said she plans to continue her research throughout the summer before moving to Vancouver for her first semester at UBC Medical School.
Managing partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP, Andrew Brunton, said the firm is proud to acknowledge the hard work of the UBCO student.
“We are happy to support Celine in her further studies and development as a community leader,” Brunton said. “We hope she continues to chase her dream of improving healthcare in rural communities.”
“We are proud to be a supporter of UBC Okanagan and to be able to add Celine to the distinguished list of Pushor Mitchell LLP Gold Medal Leadership Prize winners.”