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Queen’s alumna wins prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship

Heather Evans (Com’16), a member of the winning team from the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative, will study for a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Heather Evans (Com’16), a member of the winning team from the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative, will study for a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Heather Evans (Com’16), a member of the winning team from the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative, recently received a Schwarzman Scholarship and will study for a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing. (Supplied Photo) 

Heather Evans (Com’16) thrives in stressful situations. When she was a commerce student at Queen’s, she successfully juggled schoolwork with launching a 3D printing company, Mosaic Manufacturing, with four other students. She and her cofounders were recognized as the top venture in the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative winning $40,000.

She beat long odds and is preparing for another heavy workload as she prepares to head to China next year after receiving a prestigious scholarship.

Ms. Evans is one of 142 people selected from a field of more than 4,000 applicants from across the globe to receive a Schwarzman Scholarship. Inspired by the Rhodes Scholarships, Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of the private equity firm The Blackstone Group, founded the program three years ago with an aim to promote international understanding. Mr. Schwarzman personally contributed more than $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $500 million.

“It was the best feeling in the world. I cannot wait to move to Beijing,” Ms. Evans says. “I think it will be one of the most interesting, intense, and craziest things I have ever done. The scholarship is extremely generous, so I have the freedom to stop working, pause my life and move to China for 11 months.”

Ms. Evans still has a small stake in Mosaic Manufacturing but is no longer involved in its day-to-day operations. Upon graduation from Queen’s, Ms. Evans launched a second startup through Canada’s Next36 and now works for the Government of Ontario in technology strategy and was very involved in launch of Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Ms. Evans and the other Schwarzman scholars will live and study together for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of the top universities in China. All expenses are covered by the scholarship. 

She feels her year in China, which starts in August 2018, will be an amazing opportunity to learn about one of the world’s most powerful economies. That’s an important lesson for any entrepreneur.

“The Chinese culture and economy is completely foreign to me as someone who has grown up in Canada,” says Ms. Evans, who was born and raised in Kingston. “Living in Beijing seems like one of the best ways to have a better understanding of how China operates.

When she started at Queen’s she didn’t feel like an entrepreneur. She is grateful that Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC), and Jim McLellan (Sc’81, PhD’90), Academic Director of the DDQIC, convinced her to take part in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative and helped teach her the tools to succeed in business.

“Heather is smart and a hard worker. These are the kind of people we look for at the Dunin-Deshpande Centre – people who have drive and curiosity,” says Mr. Bavington. “This is what makes successful entrepreneurs. I know she will do well in China.”