FAS doctoral student named finalist for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars program

Faculty of Arts and Science doctoral student Alexandra Walters has been named a finalist for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars (PETF) program. The Kinesiology and Health Studies student is one of only 36 candidates to be named as a finalist for the Scholarship and Engaged Leadership program. More than 600 applications from around the world were received for this honour.

“The road to becoming a finalist required a lot of inward reflection on myself, my merit, and my potential to be a valued scholar of the Foundation,” says Walters. “It really was an remarkable opportunity to connect with such promising scholars and listen to the outstanding work that is being undertaken by such young intellects during the group interview.”

The doctoral competition is open to scholars from a variety of disciplines, mainly the social sciences and humanities. The process was quite rigorous, and there are many stages involved - written application, semi-final group interview, and lastly an individual interview for the finalists. The Foundation takes a vested interest in a candidate's leadership skills and abilities and looks beyond traditional measures of ‘success’ like publications or academic achievement.

“Alexandra is an exceptional student,” says Dr. Amy Latimer-Cheung. “She is extremely meticulous; every detail is considered. This characteristic is evident in every task she undertakes. Alexandra has an incredibly diverse and unique skill set.  She is exceptionally well positioned to engage community partners and stakeholders in the design of a tailored implementation approach targeting a critical segment of the population – Canadians with a disability.”

Dr. Latimer-Cheung was her supervisor as she completed her master’s degree in health promotion. Currently, Walters is in her first year of her doctoral studies.

“My research situates within the fields of disability advocacy and health promotion, specifically through promoting accessible and inclusive physical activity opportunities for persons with a disability,” says Walters. “As we dive more deeply into this niche area of research, we are seeing exponential growth in literature. I aim to couple this growth in knowledge with growth in practice through engagement with a variety of stakeholders, from the community level to public policy. Should I be selected as a Scholar, I am confident that I will be challenged to build and refine my leadership skills, as well as connect other Scholars, Mentors and Fellows of the Foundation, who also share this vision for a more inclusive and welcoming society.”

The Application and Nomination Review Committee will next select up to 16 of the 36 finalists after each candidate takes part in an individual panel interview at the end of March. The scholars who are selected will then embark on a three-year journey with the Foundation to hone their leadership skills and engage in meaningful projects.

Learn more about the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars program on the website.