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Business student earns coveted Frank H. Sobey Award

By Moira Finn | Jan. 23, 2012

Fifth-year Memorial University student Samantha Phelan has been awarded a $15,000 Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies.

Strong leadership skills, extensive involvement both on campus and in the community as well as significant academic achievement all helped the bachelor of commerce (co-op) student earn the generous and prestigious award.

One of only six student scholarship recipients in business studies at Atlantic Canadian universities, Ms. Phelan is both a top student -- maintaining a cumulative 3.81/4.0 GPA and making the Dean’s List every year of her degree program -- and an active volunteer.

The 21-year-old from Mount Pearl, N.L., is president of the commerce Class of 2012, an organizer of numerous faculty events and a member of the Memorial business team competing in the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) case competition in the Netherlands next month.

Volunteer activities off campus include acting as a local Ambassador for international non-governmental organization Global Vision.

It was through this organization that Ms. Phelan was able to participate in a trade mission to Asia and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation CEO Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii within a span of the last six months. During the latter event, she met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to talk about Canadian youth and was able to sit in on a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama, two experiences that further honed her interest in international business. 

“My concentration is in marketing,” said Ms. Phelan. “However, I have a real interest with the international side of business, so I hope to find a career in international relations while pursuing a master’s degree part time.”

Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean of Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration, was keen to congratulate Ms. Phelan on her accomplishment.

“Samantha’s academic record is excellent,” he said. “But she is also a vibrant person who rallies those around her to accomplish things for her class, her university and the community.”

The Frank H. Sobey Scholarships are considered particularly prestigious both because of the amount of the bursary and because students must be nominated by the dean of their faculty or school to be considered for the award.

“The academic excellence, leadership skills and business knowledge shown by these students is remarkable,” said David F. Sobey, chair of the board of directors for the Frank H. Sobey Award, upon  announcing the 2012 award recipients. “My father was an innovator and I’m sure he would be particularly impressed with the great business initiative and entrepreneurship these students have shown through the various projects they are involved in.” 

Ms. Phelan and the other Frank H. Sobey Scholarship winners for 2012 will be recognized for their achievements at a reception in Stellarton, N.S., later this spring.