Source: University of Toronto
UTSC student wins prestigious awardWorldly undergrad seeks out life experiences beyond the classroom
October 24, 2006
A global perspective comes naturally to Eliza Jiang Chen, the first recipient of the prestigious Jon S. Dellandrea Award for International Students.
Born in China, raised in Panama, and studying in Canada, Chen seems ideally suited to receive the $25,000 Dellandrea award, given annually to an international undergraduate student at U of T who demonstrates exceptional academic achievement and extracurricular leadership. The award was established in 2005 in recognition of Jon Dellandreaís contribution to the university during his 11-year term as vice-president and chief advancement officer.
Chen speaks four languages ó Spanish, English, Mandarin and Cantonese ó and is learning French. A fourth-year management co-op student, she has taken on the role of student co-ordinator for Hisapanoforum, a conference of Latin American and Spanish business people and entrepreneurs, facilitating the admission of students to this event for the first time. Chen also served as president of the University of Toronto Model United Nations Club, a UN simulation that gives students a chance to gain perspective and knowledge on International current world issues through UN simulations.
"Academics are the most important thing for university students but all of us should look for ways to gain life experiences while we are here," Chen said. "University is very challenging so itís not always easy to do extracurricular activities, but itís important to seek out these opportunities because the skills and relationships we build on campus will be for life ó they are a big part of our education as well."
During her time in the management co-op program, she has become interested in international business and business law. The coop experience helped to hone her interviewing skills, which came in handy when she faced a daunting panel of 10 people on the award interview committee.
"I am constantly amazed by the quality of students around me so I feel thrilled to have won this award," said Chen, 22. "To be surrounded by so many hard working, brilliant and diligent people, I could not believe that I had won because it was a university-wide award."
Chen calls her undergraduate experience at U of T Scarborough fabulous. "Although this campus has grown a great deal in the last year, it still feels like a small and close-knit community. The professors here are so accessible and I feel that I wouldnít get that elsewhere."
This year she has taken on the role of residence adviser at Joan Foley Hall, the student residence, to help guide and orient younger residence students coming in. It is her way of giving back to the campus from which she has gained so much, she noted.
For her future career, she is still exploring her options. She may apply to law school and is interested in international law and business exchanges. "Iím particularly interested in helping to form strategic alliances between businesses from different regions."
Management professor Sandford Borins described Chen as an excellent student. "She is the sort of student that U of T hopes to attract from other parts of the world and itís easy to predict that her career will unfold in a way that will be a great credit to our university."