Media Release | Jun. 25, 2012

Students receive $60,000 from the Schulich Leader Scholarships program to study at UBC

Two incoming first-year students – Cassandra Elphinstone and Jen-ai Lai – will receive $60,000 each over four-years from the Schulich Leader Scholarships program to study at the University of British Columbia.

Announced in the fall of 2011, the Schulich Leader Scholarships program recognizes students across Canada who demonstrate excellence in academics and community leadership, and plan to study in science, technology, engineering or mathematics during their undergraduate degree.

From Nanaimo, B.C., Elphinstone is passionate about protecting the environment and will be pursuing a science degree at UBC’s Vancouver campus. She has worked to improve salmon habitats locally and her activities helped her Eco Club win a $50,000 Staples award supplying green computer equipment to her school. A trip to the Arctic encouraged Elphinstone to help draft an Arctic Youth Statement presented at a Senior Arctic Council meeting, and co-author a Students on Ice Alumni Delegation paper for the Rio+20 Summit. She is also the founder of an organization called GAIAactivism that allows student leaders from Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America to coordinate their actions into larger international gatherings.

Lai, of Stratford, Ontario, founded a non-profit organization to combat social injustices locally and internationally. Her charity, Hope for Happiness, works to provide her community food bank with produce from its local garden co-op, and supports rehabilitation efforts in a community in Sudan. Lai has also dedicated over three years of service with seniors at a nursing home and volunteered on a sanitation project in remote areas of rural China. Passionate about issues of social justice, Lai will be pursuing a science degree at UBC’s Vancouver campus.

Elphinstone and Lai were selected from a pool of Schulich Leader Nominees who applied their nomination to UBC. Every Canadian high school, secondary school and CEGEP could nominate one student each to be eligible to receive the scholarship. In 2012, 40 students were awarded scholarships out of 977 nominees.


Schulich Leader Scholarships were created by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich and is managed by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. In addition to the Canadian program, a similar Schulich Leader Scholarships program is being carried out in Israel. The historic $100 million scholarship initiative was implemented to secure the future economic competitiveness of Canada and Israel and is designed to ensure that future Canadian and Israeli leaders are among the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation.

Learn more about the Schulich Leader Scholarships program at:

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Heather Amos
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604-822-3213

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