This year’s recipient of the FHS Young Alumni Award exemplifies all of the desired attributes – and then some.
Gina Uppal entered our Faculty in 2010 as a highly accomplished student. She earned a number of scholarships including the prestigious President’s National Scholarship. These scholarships are reserved for the very best and brightest students and at the time, only six of these awards were allocated to the nation’s top students. She applied and was accepted into the Scholar’s Elective Program at our University. This program is designed to provide the most elite students with value added research experiences and individual project time with our top professors. Gina thrived in this program as well. She was a regular member of the Dean’s Honour Roll each of her undergraduate years and I have had the pleasure of introducing her at awards celebrations that recognized her academic accomplishments.
She enriched her undergraduate experience and preparation through her extensive involvement in many co-curricular activities. She served in student government, she held a number of key elected positions in the Faculty of Health Sciences Student Council, including serving as the Vice-President of Student Affairs. I have always found her to be a caring, committed and articulate young woman and role model, with unlimited leadership potential. She demonstrated a strong sense of social responsibility in everything that she did, including participating in Western’s Alternative Spring Break Program where she joined a number of other committed students and travelled to Costa Rica where she participated in a number of travelling health care clinics to deliver service to those in need. She continues to help us promote the Faculty to prospective students and their parents during our Open House events.
Naturally I was very pleased when upon graduation she was one of 20 Canadian students selected to participate in a Fulbright-Killam Fellowship in Washington, D.C. As expected, she excelled in that program as well, earning a GPA of 3.91. While in Washington she accepted an internship with the Centre for Health Market Innovators, further enriching her experience and preparation.
Since leaving us Gina has served as the Scholars Programs & Academic Outreach Coordinator in the Student Success Center – helping students enrich their post-secondary experience through workshops, leadership initiatives, and one-on-one counseling
She was 1 of 8 people selected for the Fellowship with the Ontario Non-profit Network – to help her better understand the non-profit sector and giving her the opportunity to gain experience working with senior advisors on policy & systems change working groups. She was also selected to participant in exclusive program in New Your Starting Bloc Social Innovation Fellow – in New York
The past two summers she has traveled to the New York Institute to support incoming fellows by facilitating workshops and reflection events.
She’s been a leader in the Innovation Works program – the first social innovation shared space in London where she and her colleagues create and execute strategic programming, events, and campaigns to support an innovative, fun, and forward thinking culture within Innovation Works.
And she has also worked with the London Food Bank and London Poverty Research Council - demonstrating her commitment to equity and inclusion – and underscoring why she is such a good choice for this award.
It is my pleasure and privilege to introduce this year’s recipient of the Faculty of Health Sciences Young Alumni Award, Ms. Gina Uppal
Read about Jannah in Health Sciences Matters magazine.
This year’s recipient of the FHS Young Alumni Award has dedicated herself to improving human health around the globe since leaving Western in 2008 with a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree. As a student leader, she was heavily involved in Students’ Council initiatives and helped found the FHS Dream Team, which is dedicated to funding the wishes of children facing life-threatening illnesses.
She has held positions with the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and the World Health Organization, and earned a master’s degree from the London School of Economics. More recently, she spent three years working across Africa to improve maternal health and newborn survival rates. And if that wasn’t enough, just this month she enrolled at the University of Toronto and is pursuing a PhD in social and behavioural health sciences.
It is my privilege to introduce this year’s recipient of the Faculty of Health Sciences Young Alumni Award, Jannah Wigle.
Read about Tom in Western News.