Dean of Environment's Scholarship for Excellence Fall 2020 winners

Monday, February 22, 2021

Each year, the Dean of Environment’s Scholarship for Excellence is awarded to up to five incoming undergraduate Environment students. Recipients are selected based on academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and their commitment to the environment. Meet the Fall 2020 winners.

Karen Chan with quote. Quote reads, "it is important to study the environment, the science and motivations behind why and how we are destroying it, so we can understand why the status quo must change".Karen Chan

Karen Chan is a first-year School of Planning student who is passionate about how the built environment influences the behaviour and livelihood of communities. She finds ways to amend the economic divide that planning policy has created throughout history by studying both the scientific and moral aspects of the natural environment.

Chan believes the preservation of the environment is essential for the survival of humanity and that we must look beyond ourselves to focus on marginalized communities, as they endure the greatest impacts of climate change. Chan tells us, “it is important to study the environment, the science and motivations behind why and how we are destroying it, so we can understand why the status quo must change.”

Through her first year Chan enjoyed learning the ins and outs of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and how to use the software to analyze real-world problems. She dives deep into determining inadequate historical planning structures. She hopes to take the knowledge she gains at The University Waterloo and pursue careers such as a real estate lawyer, public defender, or regional planner, but is still open all opportunities.

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Harry Cheung with quote. Quote reads, "Sustainability and protecting natural resources mean ensuring that future generations, our children and our grandkids, can enjoy life as we are living it today".Harry Chueng

Harry Chueng chose the Geomatics program in the Faculty of Environment to combine his interests in geography, history and the environment. His interest in the environment started in elementary school and continued into high school when he became the President of the school’s Eco-Club. This position allowed him to grow his knowledge of raising awareness and environmental stewardship into a lifelong passion. In the future, Cheung hopes to use this passion to provide strategies and policies for businesses and the government to help solve complex environmental challenges they may be facing.

“Sustainability and protecting natural resources mean ensuring that future generations, our children and our grandkids, can enjoy life as we are living it today. Sustainability is a lifestyle, a mindset, and a philosophy for a greener future. It couldn’t get any simpler than that,” he explains.

Cheung chose to live at St. Paul’s University College for his first year, and through the experience he has learned how independent and self-driven the university lifestyle is. Although this semester is completely virtual, he has taken advantage of the ability to easily connect with others around the globe and the University of Waterloo to discuss global environmental challenges.

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Hayden Chan with quote. Quote reads, "Something about being surrounded by mountains of garbage from my own town helped me realize that it wasn’t possible for me to do nothing about environmental issues while I was actively contributing".Hayden Chan

Knowledge Integration (KI) felt like the perfect fit for Hayden Chan because his variety of interests wouldn’t fit one traditional major. KI allows him to keep plenty of doors open so he can explore his interests by taking courses in science, math, language and computer science. Some of these classes have actually opened more doors for him he didn’t previously see.

Chan chose to live at St. Paul’s University College for his first year and, was his favourite part of first year. It allowed him to be exposed to the diversity of people that attend Waterloo and all the unique things they have to offer.

Being within the Faculty of Environment is important to Chan. He discovered the impact humans have on the environment through his Grade 11 Environmental Science class. During the class he visited his local landfill and stood next to the massive piles of rubbish his town produced. After this experience he knew it was important to actively take action. Chan looks to pursue careers like environmental consultation, conflict management, and environmental law, but is keeping the door open for many other possibilities.

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