Student Wins Prestigious Scholarship

June 15, 2011 - News Release

A University of Guelph student is among four Canadians to receive a 2011 Mackenzie King Memorial Travel Scholarship. Yvonne Su, who is graduating this week with a degree in international development, will use the $11,000 award to support her studies at Oxford University.

Su was among more than 100 applicants from across the country. The scholarships are named for William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th prime minister and one of the country’s most dominant politicians from the 1920s to the 1940s. The awards are open to students in international relations, law, history, politics and economics. Each university may nominate only two students.

Su will begin a master’s program in refugee and forced migration studies in the fall. She plans to study climate change-induced migration, adaptation and international development, especially in vulnerable communities in developing countries.

“I am very honoured to have been selected as an award winner to carry on King’s legacy,” Su said.

“His childhood motto was: ‘Help those that cannot help themselves,’ and I would like to carry that forward through my work in climate change adaptation. Hopefully, I can help create policies and provide resources that can help those most vulnerable build resilience to effects of climate change.”

A U of G President’s Scholar, Su has long been interested in environmental issues and global activism. She has raised awareness and funds for everything from environmental issues to hunger and has travelled to Greenland to study climate change.

At convocation this week, she received a 2011 international development studies prize. Among her other achievements, she nabbed national headlines this spring by organizing vote mobs and creating a “vote mob” video, both designed to encourage students to vote in the federal election.

She was also one of eight Ontario students named a 2011 “Global Changemaker” by the Ontario Council for International Co-operation. In 2010, she was a finalist in the 2010 Earth Day Canada film competition for her documentary, Dancing With the Wind, about an 84-year-old environmentalist who designed a small-scale wind turbine.

Su participated in the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and in the 2008 War Child’s Walk for Darfur. She raised $4,000 to help build a school in rural China through Free the Children, and was named one of the 2007 “Top 20 Under 20” by the Globe and Mail for a student-run recycling program created at her high school.

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

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1