Posted February 5, 2009

DeGroote recognizes student achievement
by Julia Thomson

Hamilton - A former member of the Canadian National Gymnastics Team, an international student from China, an exchange student who "found herself" in Europe, a future chartered accountant and a former competitive dancer are just five of the commerce students who will be recognized Wednesday night at the DeGroote School of Business' annual undergraduate awards night.

"DeGroote is extremely proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. We are especially pleased to be able to support our students in their achievements through scholarships and bursaries, and we appreciate the generosity of individuals and corporations who support these programs," says Dean Paul Bates.

Student support is a key priority of The Campaign for McMaster University. Financial assistance to students in the form of scholarships, bursaries and academic grants will ensure McMaster continues to recruit, reward and retain the best and brightest students who will further the University's reputation for academic and research excellence. The School of Business will recognize 275 scholarship and bursary recipients at last nights event.

DeGroote profiles five recipients:

Eric Kafka enrolled in the commerce program at DeGroote following his success as a member of the Canadian National Gymnastics Team. Now in his fourth year, the 27-year-old is specializing in finance and plans to pursue a career in investment banking. Kafka received the SB Partners' Scholarship, funded by the long-established Burlington accounting firm. "The drive, ambition and teamwork that Eric displayed during his gymnastics provide a solid background for the hard work required in his studies at McMaster. SB Partners is very pleased to support his education," says CEO and Partner John Chisholm.

Another fourth year student Na Qin immigrated to Canada from China five years ago. An outstanding student, she has received numerous scholarships for attaining the highest sessional average and was nominated her for the Chancellor's Gold Medal, a University-wide award based on scholarship, leadership and influence. To her donors, the future investment banker says, "I want them know that their "investment" will have great return one day."

During her third year, Christina Wood decided to bring an international perspective to her commerce studies through an exchange to France. The Maria Chan Scholarship for International Studies in Business (established by business professor Luke Chan and his family) helped her fulfill her dream. "The exchange program helped me find who I am. It gives you opportunities and experiences that help you grow up," she says. "In the future, I want to provide the same opportunity [to students] because people did it for me. They planted a seed and I'm growing from it."

Sam Chan had originally planned on pursuing sciences or health studies in university before a business program in high school exposed him to the wide spectrum of opportunities that involve business. Now in his second year at DeGroote, Chan is investigating the many functional areas of business to find his fit. "I plan to focus my study in accounting and minor in economics, but I feel that marketing seems to be a very interesting and dynamic area that I would like to explore further," he says. Receiving the DeGroote School of Business Alumni Undergraduate Scholarship is both a reminder to Chan that hard work pays off and an incentive to continue his efforts this year.

With a background in dance and the arts and parents in the medical field, second year student Myles Yaksich had minimal exposure to business careers prior to enrolling in DeGroote. Receiving several scholarships, including a Hawkrigg Family Scholarship in Business and a City of Hamilton Economic Development Department Scholarship, confirmed his decision to study business. Yaksich says, "The scholarships I've received will help in my education a lot. The fact that I have been chosen to receive these awards means the faculty of business and scholarship review board has seen something in me... I'd like to let [the donors] know that they have made a good choice. I am eager to make them proud and I won't let them down. I have big plans, high expectations of myself, and the drive to achieve all of my goals."

© Copyright 2009/Exchange Morning Post/Exchange Business Communications Inc.
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