2012 Recipients

Congratulations to the eight outstanding recipients of the 2012 Joan Donaldson Scholarship and the Weather Centre scholarship winner. You can also find out about past recipients.

2012 Recipients
Left to right: Emily Brass, Matthew Black, Lisa Laventure, Julia Sisler, Calvin To, Brigitte Noël, Christy Climenhaga, Alina Perrault and David Thurton

Alina Perrault

Alina is a band member of the Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan, and was raised in a small Fransaskoise community called Zenon Park. Alina belongs to two minority communities: the First Nation community and the Fransaskoise community. Alina’s passions to better understand her place in society led her to complete a bachelor of arts (sociology) with a focus on Aboriginal justice and knowledge at the University of Saskatchewan. After she graduated with her BA, she decided to explore her interest in journalism. She received a diploma in advanced television and radio at Western Academy of Broadcasting in Saskatoon.

Her interest in learning about storytelling then led her to the Indian Communication Arts (INCA) Summer Institute in Journalism at the First Nations University of Canada. Following that, she interned with CBC Radio in Regina. After her internship, she worked as a story producer for a Saskatchewan current affairs television show called 5 Days, which aired on the New Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN). She also wrote articles for Eagle Feather Newspaper and has served as a communications officer at the Assemblée Communautaire Fransaskoise.

Brigitte Noël

Brigitte Noël is a Franco-Ontarian raised in Sturgeon Falls, a small town best known for its poutine. She got her first taste of reporting at the age of 17, writing about everything from politics to little-league softball games for the West Nipissing Tribune.

Brigitte studied Communications at the University of Ottawa, where she spearheaded the university's Relay for Life cancer fundraiser, one of the first campus-held events in the country. In 2006, she was elected VP of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa and launched the campus's first student food bank. After graduating Magna Cum Laude and travelling around Asia, Brigitte moved to Toronto to work in corporate communications and PR for the Teletoon network.

She is now completing her Master of Journalism degree at Ryerson as a laureate of the prestigious Fondation Baxter et Alma Ricard scholarship. In 2011, she organized Women in the Field, a symposium addressing the challenges faced by women journalists. Brigitte has written for the Toronto Star, Metro Canada and This Magazine, and has also interned at The National.

Calvin To

Calvin To is a storyteller with a sense of adventure. In the summer of 2011 he drove from Toronto to the prairies to report for CTV Saskatoon. He led the evening newscast twice with breaking news as an intern.

His passion for journalism began when he was a child watching the evening news. It has since grown into a dedicated career. During his studies at Western University, he hosted a current affairs radio program focusing on health and human rights.

Calvin now reports on a wide variety of stories, from hard-hitting politics to fun human interest pieces.

He has travelled to destinations in Europe, Asia and South America, experiencing the cultures of the world and finding good stories along the way.

Calvin holds a master of journalism degree from Ryerson University and an honours bachelor of medical science from Western University.

Christy Climenhaga (CBC News Weather Scholar)

Christy graduated with a B.Sc., Specialization in Atmospheric Sciences, from the University of Alberta in May 2012. She received the Jason Lang Scholarship yearly for academic excellence as well as making the Dean's List. In the spring of 2011, she participated in a field study at Environment Canada, producing daily Graphical Area Forecast maps and shadowing employed Operational Forecasters.

In the summer of 2009, Christy travelled to Ecuador to aid in the research of the migratory pattern of humpback whales in relation to changing ocean temperatures. She travelled daily on fishing boats with local researchers tracking whale pods using GPS. She also trained and acquired a private pilot's licence in 2010, and flies as often as she can. She is working towards her twin engine rating.

Christy is a true Albertan cowgirl, as her family owns and maintains a bison and cattle business. She has spent most of her free time on the farm, and has been riding for as long as she can remember. She is also an accomplished musician, having her eighth-grade level in Royal Conservatory classical piano. She has played guitar and bass on stage for three years and has 15 years of vocal training.

David Thurton

David Thurton is a Trini-Canadian. He was born in Toronto but when he was eight years old, he and his family moved to Trinidad & Tobago. His life is shared between these two countries.

David won an internship at the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian after high school. A year and a full-time job at the newspaper later, he decided to move back to Toronto in order to study at the bachelor of journalism program at Ryerson University.

While studying, he was a reporter at RUtv News, and produced articles and news features for a number of other campus news sources. The Radio Television News Directors Association awarded him the 660 News Diversity Scholarship for a radio documentary he produced about how Toronto artists are cashing in on multiculturalism. During the 2011 Ontario provincial election, David interned at the political website OntarioNewsWatch.com.

He enjoys volunteering with his church and replicating his mother’s famous Trinidadian cuisine, sometimes with success. He eagerly documents his iPhoneography and journalism journeys on his blog davidthurton.com and through his twitter account @dthurton.

Emily Brass

Emily Brass graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a BA in broadcast journalism and a minor in French. She won several awards for her reporting, including the Rogers Sportsnet Scholarship and the Cynthia Gunn Award.

In the summer of 2011, Emily was an intern at the CBC London bureau in the U.K. She worked on breaking international stories and produced a radio piece on the rising popularity of the ukulele in London for World Report. Emily recently interned at the CBC Montreal bureau.

Interest in the environment led Emily to specialize in science reporting. She was a research assistant investigating best practices in environmental journalism for the Concordia Science Journalism Project and has won first prize for a presentation on her research at Concordia's Undergraduate Research Day in 2011. She also won the Canadian Science Writers Association Emerging Journalist Award and the Don McGillivray Prize in Explanatory Journalism.

Formerly a touring musician, Emily also specializes in music reporting. She hosted two world music shows on Concordia's radio station, CJLO.

Julia Sisler

Julia Sisler finished her master of journalism degree at Carleton University, with a focus on broadcast journalism. Prior to this, she completed a six-week internship at CBC News Network in Toronto, where she wrote copy for radio and gathered news for local TV. She was also an intern at CFRA News Talk Radio in Ottawa where she reported daily and put a short radio documentary on air in just a few hours.

At Carleton, she helped direct and film a short documentary about a family of unschoolers whose son made it to Grade 9 without ever taking a test or getting a mark. She is currently finishing a longer radio documentary about the experiences of First Nation students who leave their communities to attend high school.

Before going to journalism school, Julia was a teacher for a year in a remote First Nation community in northern Ontario, where she made her radio debut playing 'Happy Birthday' on the violin.

Julia holds an honours bachelor of arts in literature and philosophy with a minor in Aboriginal studies from the University of Toronto, where she tried to learn as much Ojibwe as possible.

Lisa Laventure

Lisa Laventure received a BA in Political Science from Concordia University and graduated year with a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. Originally from Montreal, Lisa is bilingual in English and French.

At Western, Lisa produced a current affairs television program exploring issues relevant to young people in the city. Lisa also helped create Rabble.cas first ever tablet ebook showcasing the sites best works from 2011, and founded Western Universitys chapter of Journalists for Human Rights.

Last winter, Lisa interned with Reuters in South Africa, for which she was awarded the William C. Heine Fellowship for International Media Studies. In Johannesburg, Lisa wrote feature stories on economics, politics and the environment. She also freelanced for CBC Radios The Current, contributing to a piece on contentious South African politician Julius Malema.

Prior to entering the world of journalism, Lisa studied international relations at INHA University in South Korea. In the summer of 2010, she biked across Canada in 75 days, raising funds and awareness for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Matthew Black

Matthew Black graduated with a master's degree in journalism from the University of British Columbia. Prior to entering journalism, he was pursuing a PhD in public policy at Simon Fraser University. He also holds a BA and MA in political science from the University of Alberta.

As a lifelong sports fan, he began his career last summer as a sports writer for the Vancouver Sun. While there, he reported and blogged on UFC 131 and the Stanley Cup final. His profile and feature stories also appeared in the paper's weekend editions.

Matthew interned at the CBC's London bureau last summer and worked with reporters Ann MacMillan, Nahlah Ayed and Susan Ormiston on stories including the News International phone hacking scandal and the London riots. He also reported and produced a radio piece about a south London community's response to the relocation of its soccer team.

More recently, he covered homelessness in Vancouver and the Occupy movement as a reporter for the B.C. bureau of the Globe and Mail. His articles have also appeared on cbc.ca, thetyee.ca and deadspin.com.