University of Calgary

Outstanding undergraduates rewarded

UToday HomeDecember 19, 2012

By Mark Lowey

Emily Hicks (left) and Gergana Petkova (right) were rewarded for their outstanding academic achievement and community engagement. Photo by Riley BrandtEmily Hicks (left) and Gergana Petkova (right) were rewarded for their outstanding academic achievement and community engagement. Photo by Riley BrandtUndergraduate students Emily Hicks in the Faculty of Medicine and Gergana Petkova in the Haskayne School of Business have received the Parlee McLaws Female Student in Energy Undergraduate Scholarship.

Employees in the law firm’s Calgary office donated $500 for the one-time scholarships, which are awarded to female students who have outstanding academic achievement, are engaged in the community, and are studying some aspect of energy.

The Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), the group that administers the scholarship, matched the donation from Parlee McLaws.

“Both of these students have impressive academic records, donate significant volunteer time to the community and are learning about energy,” says Brian Keay, ISEEE’s interim executive director. “They are both equally deserving recipients of this scholarship.”

Hicks is a leader of the university’s award-winning International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team. In November 2012, the team was named one of the top 16 teams in the iGEM competition to develop novel synthetic biological systems for real-world problems — a competition that involved 192 universities.

The multidisciplinary undergraduate research team developed two biological systems to detect and destroy toxins in oil sands tailings ponds, as well as a platform technology to convert some toxins into value-added products.

Hicks volunteers in the University of Calgary’s speech development laboratory; at her dance school that presents performances at retirement homes, elementary schools and various events; as a tutor for high school students; and with the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Petkova, who is planning a career in the energy industry, has completed the Haskayne School of Business’ co-op internship entirely in the energy sector, working at Nexen for nearly 1.5 years and at Penn West for eight months.

Her volunteer activities include: teaching the Bulgarian language to children in the Calgary Bulgarian School; building a house with Habitat for Humanity and a playground with Parks Foundation Canada; volunteering over the summer at the YWCA; helping serve dinners at the Mustard Seed; and providing her accounting expertise to the University of Calgary’s Volunteer Tax Program.