Prof, Students Among Top '40 Under 40'

June 24, 2010 - News Release

A U of G professor and four students have been named among "40 Under 40" Guelph residents recognized for their personal successes and community contributions.

Environmental sciences professor Madhur Anand and U of G students Ramata Tarawally, Mike Vieira, Mihiri De Silva and Christie Menzo were honoured yesterday at an event at the Guelph Youth Music Centre.

The city’s top “40 Under 40” are featured in a special supplement published today by the Guelph Mercury. The newspaper established the awards in 2008 to recognize outstanding people making a difference in Guelph.

This year’s winners range in age from 11 to 39 and include athletes, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, health-care workers and public servants.

Anand was cited for her research and outreach efforts. Holder of the Canada Research Chair in Global Ecological Change, she studies the effects of climate change on ecosystems.

Anand has mentored ecologists and has worked diligently to educate and inspire the public. She has chaired the outreach committee of the School of Environmental Sciences and has organized community events such as Café Scientifique, the Kenneth Hammond Lectures and the Environment Bound book series.

She belongs to the Guelph Arts Council and is a published poet.

“It’s a great honour to be recognized by the local community for the scientific work my research group and I have been doing over the past 10 years,” said Anand. “Guelph is a special place for someone like me who is passionate about both science and the arts.”

Tarawally, a residence life staff member, was recognized for her efforts to teach students about global issues.

“It’s nice to know that I have impacted my peers in a positive way and have given a bit back to Guelph. I feel that the Guelph community has truly helped me to grow and develop as a person in so many ways.”

She belongs to World University Service of Canada and its Shine a Light campaign, and has led efforts among U of G residences to raise awareness and collect donations for victims of this year’s Haitian earthquake.

She has also worked one-on-one with first-year students to develop study strategies, effective time management skills and writing skills.

Vieira, also a residence life staff member, said the awards motivate recipients to continue contributing to the community.

He said the “40 Under 40” award is important “because it celebrates the personal choices and decisions each honouree has made throughout his or her lifetime, from a dedication to one cause or many, a drive to persevere through significant hardships, or a focus and commitment to push one's personal limits.”

Vieira, now entering his fourth year in international development, was honoured for his contribution to community development projects abroad. As a member of the Global Youth Network, he has volunteered at an orphanage in Tanzania and helped raise funds to build a community centre in Thailand and a housing project in Laos.

De Silva, who just graduated from the environmental sciences program, was recognized for her work as a peer helper with the university’s co-op program. For excellence in helping students search and prepare for job opportunities, she received the Collin Cureatz Memorial Award for Co-op Student Involvement.

She also volunteered with Project Serve and during the annual environmental symposium.

“I think it’s great to acknowledge young people in the community who are making an impact in their own unique ways,” said De Silva. “I'm honoured to be put into this category and feel that it will encourage me to continue getting involved in my community.”

Menzo , currently completing a master’s in English, was selected for her talent in musical theatre.

She has performed with Royal City Musical Productions and performs regularly with Fantasy Fables Children’s Entertainment. She has volunteered with children’s summer camps and with the Guelph Jazz Festival.

“I couldn't be more excited and honoured to be included in Guelph's top ‘40 Under 40’ this year,” said Menzo. “I think the annual awards are a fantastic way to bolster a sense of community in the city, and to share in the wonderful and interesting accomplishments of the city's remarkable citizens.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or

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