WATERLOO – A student-athlete who balances varsity hockey, a demanding academic schedule and community service has been named the first outstanding woman of Laurier. Fiona Aiston
received the inaugural award during a special luncheon earlier today.
Laurier launched the Outstanding Women of Laurier award this year to recognize female students who combine athletic and academic achievement with an active commitment to leadership and the development of young athletes through community teaching or coaching. The award winner receives $1,000 and a gold pendant.
“It’s an honour to be here today,” said Aiston. “I really don’t think the three of us (Aiston and her two co-nominees) are the exception. There are so many women at Laurier who exemplify what this award recognizes.”
Aiston is a third-year biology student. She has twice been named an academic all-Canadian, which requires a grade point average of 80 percent or better, by Canadian Interuniversity Sport. She has played hockey since she was seven years old and was one of 40 players chosen to try out for the Team Canada under-22 hockey team in 2005. She describes the tryout as an amazing learning experience that tested her athletic abilities.
Away from Laurier, Aiston volunteers with KidsAbility, a local centre that helps children with disabilities. She volunteers in the centre’s pool therapy program for children with speech problems. Aiston believes that significant physiological, psychological and social benefits can be achieved through sport and physical activity, which can positively influence women’s growth and development.
“Fiona’s commitment to her sport, her studies and her community are truly representative of the qualities the Outstanding Women of Laurier award seeks to recognize,” said PETER BAXTER
, Laurier's director of athletics and recreation. “She, and the two women who joined her on the shortlist, demonstrate the range of interests and abilities we encourage in all our student-athletes.”
Fifteen women applied for the award and two joined Aiston as finalists. Liane Chornobay
is a third-year honours kinesiology and physical education student who has played varsity-level field lacrosse for three years. Prior to attending Laurier, she played at the club level with the U-20 Oshawa Lady Blue Knights team, where she was named outstanding graduating player. As a coach of athletics and recreation in her hometown community, Chornobay promotes the importance of sports involvement to young women.
Meaghan McGrath, in the fourth year of kinesiology and physical education, has played on the varsity women’s basketball team for four years. For the past 12 years, she has participated on various basketball teams and, this past summer, she played on the team that represented Canada at the International University Sport Federation games in Izmir, Turkey. McGrath also helps girls between the ages of eight and 15 to develop their basketball skills at Laurier’s summer sports camp.
Chornobay and McGrath also received Outstanding Women of Laurier pendants.
Laurier presented the awards at a luncheon today at the Waterloo Inn & Conference Centre. Pamela Wallin, whose credentials include former national journalist, current Canadian Consul General of New York and Laurier honorary-degree recipient, hosted the luncheon. Two-time Olympic gold medalist and Laurier alumnae Cheryl Pounder will discuss leadership during the event’s keynote address.
Event organizers hoped to raise $50,000 for female athletes at Laurier. The event exceeded expectations, raising $75,000, and prompted the committee to aim higher next year.