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The Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships in Environmental Studies were established by the Arthur Irving Academy Foundation. Together, they have helped to make Acadia a focal point for innovation and research in environmental science.
2019-2020 Arthur Irving Scholarship Recipients
Five students are this year’s recipients of the Arthur Irving Scholarships in Environmental Studies for undergraduate and graduate students at Acadia University, academic awards that are among the most prestigious in Canada. The Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships are conferred on students who demonstrate a commitment to the environment and combine exceptional academic credentials with leadership, community volunteerism and other extracurricular activities.
An Honours with Distinction graduate of Central Kings Rural High School, Olivia Crooks from Coldbrook, Nova Scotia, was at the leading edge of creating an inclusive sports program at her school when she helped form Basketball Team Unified in her grade nine year. In 2018, she received the Lieutenant Governor’s Respectful Citizenship Award along with her teammates for their leadership and commitment to Team Unified. A multi-sport athlete, Olivia is also a certified lifeguard and swim instructor and has been lifeguarding at local pools since 2016. At Acadia, Olivia will pursue her Bachelor of Science in Biology where she will use the opportunities provided to her through her Irving Scholarship to begin her research into the effect environmental contaminants have on human health. Her goal is to pursue a career in medical research, possibly as a pathologist. She is also interested in genetics and the mutations that result from the presence of chemicals and genetically modified organisms in our environment. Her goal is to break the chain of human engineered events that are leading to climate and environmental changes that threaten the health of all species on our planet.
Natalie Koopman of Perth Road, Ontario, says she is at her best when in nature. As a result, she is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Acadia University with hopes of focusing on marine biology so she can further explore her fascination with oceans and use her Irving Scholarship to perform meaningful research on marine ecosystems. A graduate of the IB program at Regiopolis Notre Dame School in Kingston, Natalie co-captained her school basketball team, played rugby, and has been entrusted with various leadership responsibilities including being a peer Mental Health Ambassador. In addition to school-related activities and holding a part-time job, has earned her National Lifesaving certifications, is currently finishing a Water Safety Instructor course that will allow her to teach swimming lessons, and officiates community basketball tournaments. In 2018 Natalie ran a week-long camp in Fort Hope, teaching girls from the Eabametoong First Nation about the meaning and value of sports including basketball and soccer. This camp experience informed Natalie’s views about the importance of Canada’s reconciliation with Indigenous people and reinforced her strong desire, fueled by her visits to Canada’s National Parks and an IB trip to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, to make a lasting impact on the environment by reversing the damage done to the earth by climate change.
A graduate of Rothesay Netherwood School, Abby Legere is from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and grew up with a passion and concern for the environment. Her ambition is to find the means to reduce the environmental footprint of humans through her studies in biology at Acadia and the opportunities her Irving Scholarship will offer her to perform hands-on research. Abby was a three-sport athlete at RNS (hockey, soccer, volleyball) in addition to being a Prefect and maintaining an academic average that allowed her to graduate in June of 2019 with an Honours with Distinction designation. Her most rewarding activity at RNS was being a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters and being paired with an elementary school mentee from whom she learned how to be a positive role model and leader. Abby knows that accomplishing serious goals requires determination, resilience, and a willingness to engage in new experiences. During her three years at RNS she was involved with Outflow, a program that served food to the homeless population in the Saint John area, was chosen in 2017 to represent RNS at the annual Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Leadership Conference, and has coached youth soccer and hockey.
Sophie Visser from Waterville, NS, graduated from Central Kings Rural High School with Honours with Distinction and a plan to become a wildlife biologist. Sophie’s considerable experience raising animals on her family’s farm and participating in 4-H Club activities instilled a concern for species at risk worldwide and a desire to pursue a career in habitat and population conservation. A Bachelor of Science in Biology major, her Irving Scholarship will allow Sophie to immerse herself in research related to her primary fields of interest; disease prevention and sustaining a healthy environment. An accomplished track and field athlete who maintained honours with distinction grades throughout her middle and high school years and was her Grade 12 Class Valedictorian, Sophie is also an accredited swimming and water safety instructor who has been a volunteer with the Special Olympics and the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association. Her concern for humans and animals as a teacher and caregiver, has inspired her desire to make positive changes and give back to her community in the broadest possible sense.
Rachel Clarke earned her Honours Bachelor of Environmental Science degree from Acadia in 2018, concluding her program by conducting research into the accumulation of methylmercury in aquatic insects in Kejimkujik National Park. Understanding how mercury accumulates in insects and is then transferred to aquatic and terrestrial food webs is important to researchers examining the global bioaccumulation of mercury. Rachel has always had a passion for environmental research and is a previous Arthur Irving Academy Undergraduate Student Scholarship in Environmental Studies recipient. Her goals in pursuing her Masters in Environmental Science at Acadia are to continue her research into mercury accumulation in estuarine systems and to provide mentorship and guidance to undergraduate Arthur Irving Scholars.
2018-2019 Arthur Irving Scholarship Recipients
Two students are this year’s recipients of the Arthur Irving Scholarships in Environmental Studies for undergraduate and graduate students at Acadia University, academic awards that are among the most prestigious in Canada. The Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships are conferred on students who demonstrate a commitment to the environment and combine exceptional academic credentials with leadership, community volunteerism and other extracurricular activities.
Alex Hart, from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, is a 2018 graduate of St. Stephen High School. Captain of his school’s hockey, volleyball and soccer teams in his senior year, Alex also co-founded his school’s G.R.E.E.N Group which has given him a platform to inform others about his passion for banning practices that harm our environment such as the use of disposable plastic water bottles. In addition to sports and part-time work, Alex is also a committed volunteer with organization that include his local foodbank and Big Brother Program. Alex will be pursuing his BSc. in Environmental Science at Acadia beginning in September of 2018, where it is his intention to explore ways that humans can live without destroying valuable ecosystems, and to use science to test the many ideas he has for waste reduction and elimination of practices harmful to the environment.
Sarah Lavallée is a 2018 graduate of West Vancouver’s Sentinel Secondary School’s French Immersion Program, with a passion for leading change in how society’s consumer driven culture accounts for the resources it uses and rewards companies and individuals for reducing their environmental impact. Sarah is an award-winning competitive cross-country runner who helped her school team win back to back Provincial championships in 2016 and 2017, a member of her Student Council Executive Team, and played the lead role in Sentinel’s production of Pride & Prejudice. Among her many volunteer and extra-curricular activities, her intense interest in the outdoors led her to co-found the Sentinel Outdoors Club, and she completed a 28-day YMCA remote wilderness course in Banff National Park. Sarah will be pursuing her BSc. in Environmental Science at Acadia beginning in September 2018.
2017-2018 Arthur Irving Scholarship Recipients
Three students are this year’s recipients of the Arthur Irving Scholarships in Environmental Studies for undergraduate and graduate students at Acadia University, academic awards that are among the most prestigious in Canada. The Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships are conferred on students who demonstrate a commitment to the environment and combine exceptional academic credentials with leadership, community volunteerism and other extracurricular activities.
Tyler d'Entremont earned his BScH from Acadia in May 2017, completing his final two years as an Arthur Irving Academy Scholar in Environmental Science. Tyler’s research into two Spartina saltmarsh grasses and the specific fungi found on them earned him recognition from his academic peers. In 2017, he presented his work in Georgia at the Mycological Society of America and in Ontario at the 33rd Great Lakes Mycological Meeting where he won Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation. This research led him to want to examine whether these fungi can be used to help increase the salt tolerance of many plant species used in saltmarsh restoration work. Saltmarshes are important for stabilizing coastlines and creating new habitat for coastal and estuarine species and his Arthur Irving Academy Master’s Scholarship in Environmental Science will support Tyler’s unprecedented research.
Tyler is from Pubnico, Nova Scotia and beyond his studies he is a Jumpstart Advocate in affiliation with Sportchek where he is involved with fundraising to help local low-income families become involved in various sports.
Emma Rand is from Port Williams, Nova Scotia and has a strong background in farming and the 4-H movement. In 2017, she served as President of two 4-H clubs, the Kings County 4-H Council and the Cornwallis Project and since 2013 has collected numerous awards and prizes for her entomology collection as well as her sheep and vegetables. Emma’s goal is to further her studies in entomology specifically as it relates to researching environmental solutions to local and global issues. She has already gained considerable experience through her independent work in organic farming and performing shadow research on fruit flies in local berry crops at the Kentville Research Station. A musician who performed in two high school bands and served on her grad committee, Emma’s commitment to academics included mentoring students and co-founding a peer-tutoring club. At Acadia, in addition to expanding her entomological research, Emma is looking forward to continuing her leadership work in 4-H and giving back to her on-and-off-campus communities.
Karmen Simonson is from Dinsmore, Saskatchewan and was drawn to Acadia because of her fascination with the ocean and its biodiversity. Growing up on a cattle ranch, Karmen has a deep understanding of the challenges facing agriculture and the practices developed by farmers to balance the demands of ever higher crop production with long-term environmental sustainability. A committed community volunteer, Karmen lends her energy and enthusiasm to a number of programs such as Meals on Wheels and Physical Activity for Active Living – a week-long sports camp for children with mental and physical disabilities. Karmen also served as President of her Student Representative Council in her senior year of high school and was co-editor of her school/community newspaper for three years. She plays several sports including hockey and volleyball and coaches younger children. Her goal is to become a doctor with a specific focus on obstetrics and gynecology so she can focus on the challenges faced by women before, during, and following pregnancy.
2016-2017 Arthur Irving Scholarship Recipients
Four students are this year’s recipients of the Arthur Irving Scholarships in Environmental Science for undergraduate students at Acadia University, academic awards that are among the most prestigious in Canada. The Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships are conferred on students who demonstrate a commitment to the environment and combine exceptional academic credentials with leadership, community volunteerism and other extracurricular activities.
Laura Bonga of Saint John, New Brunswick, has a deep admiration for the environment, stemming from generations of family commitment to understanding and preserving the natural world. Laura’s appreciation for the environment goes beyond the classroom, having completed numerous hikes, including the 100 Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail in Maine and the 41 kilometre Fundy Footpath in New Brunswick. Her desire to protect our natural environment and create a more sustainable future has led Laura to Acadia’s Environmental Science program, where she hopes to contribute to the preservation of the environment through research activities. Laura graduated from Saint John High School in June 2016 where she was a multi-sport athlete, having competed both provincially and nationally in track and field. She is a talented artist as well. In her free time, Laura enjoys skiing, sailing and playing the piano.
Fall River, Nova Scotia’s Laura Clerk entered Acadia’s biology program in September 2016, where she hopes to gain research experience leading to a career in medical sciences, or perhaps as a veterinarian, reflecting her love for animals. Laura graduated from Lockview High School in June 2016, where she was a member of the student council and a volunteer peer math tutor. A competitive dancer, she combines her creativity with a commitment to academics that have placed her on the Principal’s List throughout high school with the highest average among all students in her Grade 11 year. Laura is excited to continue to give back to the community during her time at Acadia.
Sydney Scholten, from Moncton, New Brunswick, developed a strong appreciation for nature at a young age while exploring wildlife in coastal St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick. Her relationship with Acadia goes back a long way to when she first visited as a young girl while her father Ben Scholten was responsible for building the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens. She entered Acadia’s biology program in September 2016, where she is fulfilling her long-held dream of attending Acadia and completing scientific research in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre. Originally from Saint John, New Brunswick, Sydney moved to Moncton to pursue an opportunity with the New Brunswick High Performance Soccer Academy and has competed at the national level. Sydney plans to vie for a spot with the Acadia Axewomen varsity soccer team. In addition to being a student council vice-president, Sydney is a Special Olympics volunteer coach and has been on the Principal’s Honours List each year of high school. In her senior year of high school, Sydney received the 2015-16 Student Government MVP Award to recognize her outstanding contribution to student government throughout her high school career.
Dean’s List Scholar Kayoung Heo, of Windsor, Nova Scotia, entered her third year of Acadia’s biology program. Kayoung is actively involved in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre, supporting faculty research projects as well as those of current Arthur Irving Scholars. Kayoung has a strong interest in integrating environmental science and public health, and encouraging the exploration of the use of native plants in the health field. She is highly regarded by her Acadia professors with whom she has made a significant contribution to Acadia’s seed bank program. In addition to her commitment to her studies, Kayoung currently volunteers in Acadia’s Peer Health Group and at the Hants Community Hospital in Windsor. She also tutors chemistry and physics. In her spare time, Kayoung enjoys singing and playing the piano.
"One of the questions I ask myself every day is “what is my purpose?” Reflecting on the 21 years of my life, I have come to a conclusion that my purpose may have to do with caring and tending, whether that is tending people’s broken body and soul or taking care of the ecosystems, sustaining all forms of life and increasing the potential for more life and the quality of life. Every step I have taken and will be taking from now on will be defining my purpose, and I can confidently say that the Arthur Irving Scholarship helped me become more aware and appreciative of my surrounding nature and it helped cultivate my interest in the environment and health. Lastly, I would like to thank you all, especially Mr. and Mrs. Irving for supporting me and believing in me, and also creating the environment where I could endeavour and dream big. Your gift is a great motivation and an encouragement for me to keep working hard, and your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community."
2015-2016 Arthur Irving Scholarship Recipients
Five students who present strong academic credentials and have a history of leadership, community service and extracurricular activities are the 2015-16 recipients of the Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships in Environmental Science at Acadia University.
Jocelyn Kickbush’s passion for the environment, communications, and community engagement has encouraged her to focus her research interests on the interaction between humans and nature. Originally from Kaleden, B.C., Jocelyn earned her BSc Environmental Science (Honours) cum laude from Saint Mary’s University in May 2015 where she was a Dean’s List scholar and was awarded the Environmental Sciences prize. Jocelyn will begin her graduate studies at Acadia in September 2015 working with Dr. Nelson O’Driscoll to generate important new insights into the speciation of mercury that is mobilized and consequently accumulates in Nova Scotia wetlands pre- and post-remediation, and thereby contribute to the development of innovative remediation strategies. Jocelyn will perform fieldwork on Brier Island and use facilities in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre to complement field studies by examining mercury uptake in the lower trophic levels using a model system.
Hannah Machat from Dartmouth Nova Scotia believes the natural parks and wilderness she visited as a child should be preserved so future generations can enjoy the same activities that fueled her curiosity for environmental research. Hannah will begin her BSc in Environmental Science in September 2015 and hopes to find new ways to reduce our impact on natural resources. Hannah is a multi-sport athlete, violinist, active community volunteer and has held several leadership positions in student government, school clubs and Ringette Nova Scotia.
Megan MacIsaac from Creignish, Nova Scotia, will be pursuing a BSc in Environmental Science beginning in September 2015. Megan’s appreciation for her rural community and the many outdoor experiences it offered ignited her interest in environmental research as a means of driving change in our approach to environmental stewardship and personal responsibility. Megan’s extra-curricular activities while in high school included involvement with various clubs and committees, video/website production, community volunteerism and 4H Club leadership.
Sarah Stewart has already launched her research career through her volunteer and summer work experience at the Tantramar Wetlands Centre located next to her home in Sackville, New Brunswick. Sarah will be pursuing a BSc in Environmental Science when she enters Acadia in September 2015 with an interest in researching aquatic life and how humans can reduce their environmental footprint. Sarah excels at badminton, having competed for New Brunswick at the Canada Games, and is a jazz musician and choreographer.
Tyler d'Entremont is from Pubnico, Nova Scotia, an area whose renowned lobster and ground fish industries served as Tyler's inspiration for examining how these organisms can be sustained in the face of environmental pollution. Through his BSc in Biology program, Tyler has developed a keen interest in research geared to achieving breakthroughs in understanding how plants and animals can be made more resilient to environmental degradation, and how industrial waste can be made less toxic or altogether harmless. A Governor General's Academic Medal winner in high school, Tyler is a multi-sport athlete and, in high school, served as the President of his Student Council and as Chair of the Drumlin Health Board.
2014-2015 Arthur Irving Scholarship Recipients
“My fellow Arthur Irving scholars are hard-working, motivated, passionate and environmentally conscious. Although the opportunity to learn, research and mentor is phenomenal—being able to do so with friends is what makes the Arthur Irving Scholarship truly unique.”- Brandon Landry, 2014-15 scholarship recipient
The Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships in Environmental Science were established by Arthur and Sandra Irving in 2014. Together, they have helped to make Acadia a focal point for innovation and research in environmental science.
Seven students who present strong academic credentials and have a history of leadership, community service and extracurricular activities are the 2014-15 recipients of the Arthur Irving Academy Scholarships in Environmental Science at Acadia University.
Baillie Holmes is a second-year Environmental Science (BSc) student from St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia. She is an active member of the Environmental Science Students’ Association and the Fletcher Geology Club. Baillie’s research interests include remediation of contaminated or industrially used land, forest and wetland restoration, and other areas of human impact correction. Baillie also enjoys doing improv with Acadia’s Improv Group.
Sarah Fancy is a third-year Environmental Science (BSc) student from Kentville, Nova Scotia. Sarah is very active in Kings County 4-H, is a member of the Blomidon Naturalists Society and has volunteered with Free Strides Therapeutic Riding Association in the past. Sarah is also an Envirothon team coordinator at her old high school, helping educate team members on environmental stewardship and current issues. Sarah also hopes to volunteer with Open Arms Shelter this coming fall. At Acadia Sarah is enrolled in the Co-Op program and is excited to be continuing her work in the Tissue Culture lab at the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Center this winter. In her spare time, she enjoys her horses, reading and yoga.
Rachel Clarke is a second-year Environmental Science (BSc) student from Albert Bridge, Nova Scotia. A member of Acadia’s Environmental Science Students’ Association, Rachel also volunteers weekly at Acadia’s Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program. She often attends events and activities on campus, especially those with a focus on engineering and women in science. Rachel’s research interests include climate change, ecology and geology. During her spare time, Rachel likes to read and draw.
Brandon Landry is a fourth-year Biology (BSc) student from Tusket, Nova Scotia. For the past three years, he has spent a great deal of time helping other students through tutoring, study groups, and teaching assistantships. Brandon's honours thesis project will focus on isolating native marine fungi from intertidal plants and intertidal plant detritus in an attempt to identify fungal strains capable of degrading hydrocarbons (oil spills) in marine environments. When he’s not in the classroom or the lab, Brandon loves to be outdoors hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, or sailing.
Sadie Moland is a fourth-year Biology (BSc) student from Quispamsis, New Brunswick. Sadie is a member of Acadia Pride and has volunteered extensively with the Acadia Community Farm and the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. Sadie is beginning an honours thesis on the interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bio-char in the freshwater wetland plant Glyceria striata (fowl mannagrass). During her free time, Sadie enjoys playing the guitar, painting, and yoga.
Sarah Adams is a fourth-year Environmental Science (BSc) student from Athol, Nova Scotia. Before coming to Acadia, Sarah attended Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario where she obtained diplomas in the Ecosystem Management Technician and Technology programs. Sarah has extensive volunteer and internship experience with the rare Charitable Research Reserve, the City of Peterborough, the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, and many others. Sarah’s honours thesis will focus on characterizing the diversity of leaf and seed endophytes in Eastern Mountain Avens (Geum peckii - an endangered plant). Sarah is happiest when she’s wading about in a marsh or hiking through an old growth forest.
Adam Godfrey is a graduate of the Environmental Science (BSc) program at Acadia and is beginning the second year of his MSc in Biology. Adam has two young daughters and a very busy family life. He has participated in several community clean-ups along the Cornwallis River and he volunteers his time to help the local I.B. geography class at Horton High School. Currently, Adam’s research is focused on assessing the impact of past logging practices and river damming on water quality and chemistry in an upland river system in southwest Nova Scotia.