UBC student Lauren Bytelaar, who graduated today with a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography, is the first recipient of a $10,000 prize created by Pushor Mitchell LLP, awarded each year to a top graduating student in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC's Okanagan campus.
Bytelaar says she plans to use the money to pursue her dream of establishing a career in urban development that focuses on the creation of affordable homes for women living on the streets.
"Pushor Mitchell is honoured to recognize excellence in a student graduating from UBC Okanagan in the area of community leadership," says Theresa Arsenault, partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP. "Our lawyers and staff are great supporters of community involvement, and look forward to encouraging and rewarding UBC students who share our passion for helping others. Congratulations to the first recipient of the Pushor Mitchell Gold Medal Prize from the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences."
The Pushor Mitchell LLP Gold Medal Leadership Prize is given annually to an undergraduate student who demonstrates exceptional academic achievement, as well as leadership in at least one of the following areas: community service or volunteerism, cross-cultural relations, promotion of diversity, intellectual pursuits, and artistic or athletic endeavours.
Bytelaar was awarded the prize on the recommendation of a special adjudication committee in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. Cynthia Mathieson, Acting Dean, notes that Bytelaar demonstrated outstanding scholarship and leadership during her undergraduate career, both locally and globally.
"Some of her noteworthy activities include student projects that promoted healthy living, working with women living on the streets in Kelowna, and providing meal service for homeless people," says Mathieson. "Her experiences in Norway and Uganda, as part of the UBC Go Global university exchange program, are remarkable as well. Amidst conditions of extreme poverty, violent rioting, and exposure to personal illness, she volunteered for five weeks in Kampala, Uganda, caring for children orphaned by AIDS."
"By utilising the skills and knowledge obtained in my geography program, while holding tight to the life-changing global experiences I've had over the last two years, I am ready to take a life path that challenges my enthusiasm for urban development and my passion for women," says Bytelaar.
"I would like to give my biggest thanks to Pushor Mitchell LLP for their extreme generosity which has ultimately made this award possible. It will greatly help to achieve my goals of assisting women living on the street."
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