Stu­dents re­ceive Hil­lier schol­ar­ships

The Expositor (Brantford) - - NEWS - Vball@post­ twit­ VIN­CENT BALL EXPOSITOR STAFF

Three Brant­ford high school stu­dents were hon­oured Wednesday as the most re­cent re­cip­i­ents of James Hil­lier Foun­da­tion Schol­ar­ships.

Joshua Clugston and Rianna Craw­ford, of Brant­ford Col­le­giate In­sti­tute, and Markus Kunej, of North Park Col­le­giate, were rec­og­nized as part of In­no­va­tion Day at Apo­tex Phar­ma­chem. The day, cel­e­brat­ing the im­por­tance of in­no­va­tion and its in­flu­ence on daily life, was in­spired by the 2006 open­ing of the Hil­lier Ar­chives at the Apo­tex plant on Spald­ing Drive in Brant­ford. This year’s event fea­tured a lec­ture by Prof. Stephen New­man, of the Uni­ver­sity of Ot­tawa’s chem­istry and biomolec­u­lar sciences depart­ment, who re­ceived the 2016 Polanyi Prize in chem­istry.

The stu­dents ex­pressed their de­light at re­ceiv­ing the schol­ar­ships, which are worth up to $20,000 over four years.

“Dr. James Hil­lier was one of Canada’s great­est sci­en­tists and in­ven­tors, so to re­ceive this schol­ar­ship is ex­tremely hum­bling,” Kunej, 18, said. “This award is the cul­mi­na­tion of years of hard work both in and out­side the class­room with many sleep­less nights spent work­ing on science projects or school work.

“I’m very hon­oured to have been se­lected from a pool of highly qual­i­fied nom­i­nees and hope to rep­re­sent the (Hil­lier) foun­da­tion and Brant­ford well as I be­gin my ca­reer in science.”

Kunej is head­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto’s en­gi­neer­ing pro­gram.

“I would like to pur­sue a ca­reer where I can im­prove peo­ple’s lives through the use of tech­nol­ogy, either as an en­gi­neer or an in­ven­tor,” he said.

“I’m un­sure what spe­cific field I would like to go into but my pas­sions are com­puter pro­gram­ming, ro­bot­ics and aero­space en­gi­neer­ing.” Kunej said he has al­ways been fas­ci­nated by rocket ships and space ex­plo­ration and his role model is Cana­dian as­tro­naut Chris Had­field.

Science has al­ways been a part of Kunej’s life. He said re­mem­bers his first science fair project in Grade 7.

“I built a work­ing hov­er­board out of ply­wood, a garbage bag and a leaf blower,” Kunej said. “I fin­ished in third place and got to demon­strate my ma­chine at the next school assem­bly.”

Kunej thanked the teach­ers and staff at North Park, as well as his fam­ily for fos­ter­ing his love of science.

A mem­ber of the North Park ten­nis, vol­ley­ball and soc­cer teams, Kunej was also a mem­ber of the school’s science team and chess club. He also plays on the Brant­ford Galaxy un­der-18 soc­cer team.

Craw­ford, 18, is head­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Ot­tawa to study bio­med­i­cal science. She as­pires to be a med­i­cal re­searcher.

“I want to go into the field of im­munol­ogy to specif­i­cally study im­munother­apy and how it can be used to cure and treat var­i­ous can­cers,” she said. “My in­spi­ra­tion for this is my mother who was di­ag­nosed with a type of cer­vi­cal can­cer when I was 16.

“Ever since, I’ve been fas­ci­nated with the idea of find­ing more ef­fec­tive cures for this dis­ease.

Craw­ford’ s first science fair project was called “The En­vi­ron­men­tal Dan­gers of Safe Win­ter Driv­ing,” which stud­ied the im­pact of road salt on aquatic plant life. She worked on the project with Clugston and they won a bronze merit award for their work at the Bay Area Science and En­gi­neer­ing Fair.

A mem­ber of BCI’s triathlon team, Craw­ford spends a lot time swim­ming, cy­cling and run­ning to pre­pare for events.

“Be­ing a re­cip­i­ent of a Hil­lier schol­ar­ship is ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble,” she said. “I still can’t be­lieve it’s real.

“This is some­thing that I have wanted since the be­gin­ning of high school when I first learned of the award.”

Clugston, 18, is also head­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Ot­tawa to study bio­med­i­cal science. He, too, wants be­come a med­i­cal re­searcher.

“I wish to go into the field of or­tho­pe­dics and specif­i­cally study how stem cells can be used for treat­ment in this field,” said Clugston, adding that he has al­ways had a passion for med­i­cal science as well as as­tron­omy.

He said he also en­joys learn­ing about the world’s ecosys­tems.

“I re­ally ex­plored this passion when i went on a two-week ex­pe­di­tion to the is­land of Do­minica with wildlife con­ser­va­tion group Wal­lacea,” Clugston said. “I stud­ied and did re­search on both ter­res­trial and aquatic ecosys­tems through var­i­ous re­search tech­niques and scuba div­ing.

“My trip to Do­minica re­ally so­lid­i­fied my passion for science be­cause it gave me the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence what real sci­en­tific re­search is all about when I was just 16.”

It was an ex­pe­ri­ence that not many teenagers get, he added.

Clugston was a mem­ber of the school’s cross-coun­try run­ning, swim and triathlon teams.

“This award means ev­ery­thing to me,” he said.

“It will help me im­mensely in the fu­ture and al­low me to fo­cus on my stud­ies and not the debt as­so­ci­ated with uni­ver­sity,” he said.

“It’s es­sen­tially, the high­est hon­our some­body could give me right now, and I fell in­cred­i­bly grate­ful to re­ceive it.”


Markus Kunej (left) of North Park Col­le­giate, and BCI stu­dents Rianna Craw­ford and Joshua Clugston are pre­sented with James Hil­lier Schol­ar­ships at a cer­e­mony on Wednesday.

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