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Justice Studies student wins prestigious scholarship

Emma Kelly

I hope that being honoured with this award helps Guelph-Humber’s profile with Alpha Phi Sigma."

The recent Alpha Phi Sigma Honour Society Annual Conference was a special occasion for Emma Kelly and the University of Guelph-Humber, as the fourth-year Justice Studies student was named the winner of the prestigious V.A. Leonard Scholarship.

Named after its founder, the award is based on academic achievement, professional recommendations and extracurricular activities. Out of the Society’s more than 400 chapters, one undergraduate wins the coveted award each year.

Kelly, who is vice-president of UofGH’s Alpha Phi Sigma Society chapter, was presented with a certificate and a cheque for US$1,500 by the Executive Director, Dr. Regina Shearn, at the conference’s close.

“I’m really happy to have won this scholarship because it brings attention to our Alpha Phi Sigma chapter at UofGH,” said Kelly, noting that UofGH’s chapter is one of only two in Canada. “I hope that being honoured with this award helps Guelph-Humber’s profile with Alpha Phi Sigma.

“I’m certainly personally happy to have received it, but hope that it benefits the school as well. I’m grateful for the opportunities UofGH has afforded me and they absolutely contributed to my win.”

Looking back, Kelly said she was able to build her resume of extracurricular activities on the strength of UofGH’s many opportunities to get involved. Certainly, her participation in Alpha Phi Sigma – an honours society with a 75-year history helping students prepare for careers in law by encouraging academic achievement, leadership skills and an interest in social justice – provided many chances to run events and plan activities on campus.

Beyond the award, the conference was an illuminating experience for Kelly and the other students who attended. Kelly noted that because Alpha Phi Sigma is affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the two organizations held their conferences side-by-side in the same hotel, which allowed students access to a number of thought-provoking sessions.

“We were able to attend presentations on a whole range of interesting topics by academics across North America, ranging from the impact of body-worn cameras to issues in cyber-facilitated crime,” she recalled.

“All of our students present represented UofGH in the tradition of professionalism and enthusiasm that we have come to expect,” said Dr. Glenn Hanna, Assistant Program Head of Justice Studies.

“My hat is off to all of them. A special congratulations to Emma for her outstanding achievement.”

Of course, the students also enjoyed getting to know the vibrant city of New Orleans. Some of Kelly’s highlights included sampling such local specialties as beignets, jambalaya and alligator, listening to live music in the French Quarter, and embarking on several historic tours.

With graduation coming up, Kelly plans to work for a year before pursuing her master’s degree. For other students, she can only offer encouragement to explore on-campus opportunities to their fullest.

“I think winning this scholarship also shows the ways in which getting involved can pay off,” she said.