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April 30, 2018 7:58 AM

Symposium showcases student achievement and excellence

On April 20, the School of Health and Life Sciences and Community Services hosted the Public Health and Informatics Symposium at the Doon campus.

The full-day event welcomed Conestoga students and employees, as well as community partners, and showcased a broad range of projects completed by students in the Bachelor of Applied Health Information Science and Bachelor of Environmental Public Health (BEPH) degree programs.

The day concluded with an awards presentation to honour student achievement and excellence. 

Tara Balge was named the winner of the Top Research Award which recognizes the most original research project prepared by a BEPH graduating student in the Professional Research Internship course.

Balge received a $1,000 prize and certificate and is the first student to receive the award as her cohort is the first to graduate from the program.

“I feel so surprised and grateful to have received this award. Being the first to receive it is a great honour and I hope it also reflects positively on my program and my fellow classmates. We are a group of really hard working and talented people and that was really showcased during the symposium," said Balge.

For her research project, Balge explored reusable grocery bags and how they may contribute to the four million cases of foodborne illness in Canada each year. She found the way people use their bags may make them home to several bacteria as well as viruses, molds and yeasts.

“I would definitely recommend the program to anyone wishing to seek a career where they can truly make a positive impact on people’s lives," added Balge. "Our professors are also amazing, knowledgeable and truly want to see us succeed. I am very happy to be a part of the first graduating class, and to represent the program going forward.”

BEPH student Ashley Zell was also among the group of winners. In March 2018, Zell learned that she had an extremely rare type of cancer and would require a leg amputation. Despite the circumstances, she did not miss any of her course deadlines. She received the Ashley Zell Perseverance Award -- named in her honour -- which recognizes a student who excels while overcoming personal obstacles. It will be presented to a fourth year BEPH student annually.

Visit the School of Health and Life Sciences and Community Services for more information about the Bachelor of Environmental Public Health and Bachelor of Applied Health Information Science degree programs.

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