U of G Students Named Vanier Scholars

August 05, 2011 - News Release

Two University of Guelph PhD students have received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, the most prestigious doctoral awards in Canada. Worth $50,000 a year for up to three years, the scholarships are awarded to leading Canadian and international doctoral students at Canadian universities.

Nathan Lachowsky and Marina Neytcheva were among the 167 recipients of the awards, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday.

The highly competitive awards were created by the federal government in 2008 to attract and retain world-class doctoral students. Nominees are evaluated by multidisciplinary peer-review committees and selected by Canadian and international experts.

The scholarships are administered by Canada’s three federal research granting agencies — the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Lachowsky, a population medicine student, said, “I feel truly humbled and honoured to be awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. This scholarship is a testament to incredible training opportunities and experiences provided for graduate students at the University of Guelph.”

Working with Cate Dewey, chair and professor in the Department of Population Medicine, and Alastair Summerlee, U of G president and professor of biomedical sciences, Lachowsky studies HIV in at-risk populations in Canada and New Zealand.

He said the scholarship will encourage him to work even harder on applied research to help improve public health. He hopes to pursue HIV research in Canadian academia.

“I believe strongly in the power of education and research to help shape tomorrow. Through teaching new generations of students, I hope to help put today’s public health issues behind us, and work on building more inclusive and resilient communities.”

Neytcheva studies species persistence in temperate forests with integrative biology professors Andrew MacDougall and Karl Cottenie. She hopes to learn about species’ vulnerability to extinction, and to bridge basic science and applied conservation to help protect biodiversity.

“It’s an honour to have been selected to receive this prestigious award,” Neytcheva said. “I’m grateful that my achievements have been deemed worthy of such recognition.”

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