SOI Congratulates Alumnus awarded Rhodes Scholarship

SOI alumnus Alysia Garmulewicz was recently awarded the coveted Rhodes Scholarship to complete her master’s degree in geography and the environment at Oxford University.

Alysia participated in the Students on Ice Antarctic Expedition in 2002. Upon returning to Canada she felt inspired to take action and to raise awareness of Climate Change and organized the 2005 Canadian Youth Climate Change Conference.

From all of us at the Students on Ice family, Congratulations Alysia! Keep up the great work!

Read more from the Ottawa Citizen:

Carleton student wins Rhodes Scholarship
Environmental activist ‘thrilled’ by chance to study at Oxford
Brendan Kennedy, Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, November 26, 2008

OTTAWA – Carleton University’s newest Rhodes Scholar knows how to make the most of her days.

“I love everything that I have going on, but I’m pretty good at sleeping,” joked 21-year-old Alysia Garmulewicz by phone from her home in New Denver, B.C., about 100 kilometres north of Nelson in the West Kootenay region.

Alysia Garmulewicz is a Carleton University student who has won a Rhodes Scholarship. She is organizing the World Changing Careers symposium in July, 2009 on youth careers in sustainability.?For her entry in the 2007 Next Great Prime Minister contest, she produced a video in which she outlined her vision for Canada, hoping to use the environment to galvanize Canadian politicians to reconsider our future. She beat out more than 300 people to become a finalist.

She won the 2009 Rhodes Scholarship for British Columbia based on her academic and athletic achievements and dedicated work on climate change and sustainability.

“I’m just so thrilled,” she said. “It’s quite something and it’s just starting to sink in.”

For several years, Ms. Garmulewicz has been an ardent environmental activist and researcher.

In 2006, she won the Canadian environment award sponsored by Canadian Geographic magazine and was one of 10 Canadian students to receive Environment Canada’s Cambio Merit scholarship at the Montreal Conference on Climate Change in 2005. She is also organizing the World Changing Careers symposium in July 2009, and was a finalist on CBC’s Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister show in 2007.

One of Ms. Garmulewicz’s references came from former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who saw her talent and enthusiasm up close as a panellist on the show. In his letter, Mr. Mulroney wrote that Ms. Garmulewicz “is outstanding in every respect and is likely to make a huge contribution to Canada.”

Ms. Garmulewicz is also a Nordic skier and was an Ontario all-star in 2007 as a member of Carleton’s bronze medal-winning ski team. But she said she made a conscious decision to scale back her athletic commitments this year to concentrate more on her work with climate change “because it’s really where my heart is.”

Ms. Garmulewicz will attend Oxford University next fall to pursue a masters of philosophy in geography and the environment, focusing on environmental policy.

“The program itself is quite cutting-edge and I’m really excited about that,” she said, adding that the interdisciplinary approach of the program is very similar to her current program at Carleton, which is in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on climate change and sustainability.

Asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Ms. Garmulewicz said she feels strongly about the capacity of government institutions to be leaders in climate change and sustainability.

“I’d like to be an active part in designing our government to be a better leader in that regard and not just be a reactive force,” she said. “I’m really just interested in how I can best be part of that change.”

Ms. Garmulewicz is Carleton’s fifth Rhodes Scholar since 1961. The scholarships that pay for students from around the world to study at Oxford are funded by the fortune of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of the De Beers diamond company.

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