Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
$10,000 for studying drugs

Mike W. Braynt
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 21/01) - One university student home for the holidays, has 10,000 reasons to celebrate this year.

Parneet Cheema, who is currently working on her master's thesis in biotechnology at the University of Toronto, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship award last April.

The Merck Frosst Ltd. award is the largest scholarship available to students in her field.

It is also new. Cheema is the first student to receive the award by the pharmaceutical company.

"I was just going to do my (degree) at the University of Calgary, but when I found out about the scholarship, I just couldn't refuse," said the former Sir John Franklin high school student.

"My dad is super proud. He's the one who saw the ad in the Globe and Mail, and told me about it."

Cheema is one of only 14 students in the University of Toronto's biotechnology graduate program.

She hopes to eventually get her doctorate degree, and then move on to the drug development business.

She already has a job lined up with Roche Canada Pharmaceuticals, a major firm in Toronto.

"I always liked science, so I took science in university," said Cheema, who finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, where she graduated with first-class honours.

"When I went to Sir John my average was not that great," said Cheema. "It's when I was going to university that I started pulling things together."