Oct. 25, 2022

Cannon Lachapelle Award embodies entrepreneurial thinking across three faculties

Each recipient receives $10,000 to support their academic and entrepreneurial efforts
Tanmoy Newaz, Shubh Patel, Rigel Tormon, and Cassie Wood
From left: Tanmoy Newaz, Shubh Patel, Rigel Tormon, and Cassie Wood

The Cannon Lachapelle Award in Entrepreneurial Thinking was created in 2019 through a generous donation from Dr. M. Elizabeth Cannon and Dr. Gerard Lachapelle. The goal was to support UCalgary undergraduate students by incorporating entrepreneurial thinking in their education experience. Each recipient receives a $10,000 grant to support their academic and entrepreneurial efforts.

This year's recipients are changemakers who are making a positive impact on their communities. They have demonstrated creative ways of thinking and innovative ways of helping the UCalgary community and beyond. The Hunter Hub is proud to recognize the exceptional individuals who have demonstrated their creativity and innovation in various ways.

Tanmoy Newaz, Faculty of Science

Newaz is entering his final year of cellular, molecular, and microbial biology. Previously he had collaborated with the Hunter Hub and the Canadian Organization for Undergraduate Health Research to provide underrepresented students with an opportunity to participate in a summer research program.

An aspiring biotechnology entrepreneur, Newaz is the co-founder of a synthetic biology startup that is researching ways to create proteins out of microbes. This research can have an impact on the environment, as it can create sustainable solutions in industries with negative environmental impacts.

“This opportunity provides me with enough capital to not have to worry about getting through the year financially, and take leaps and bounds toward innovation,” said Tanmoy.

Shubh Patel, Cumming School of Medicine

Patel is a third year biomedical science student at the Cumming School of Medicine. At the university, Patel has engaged in many entrepreneurial activities such as Medical Makers, Rotary Rotaract, and The Debtless Students. 

“When I think of entrepreneurial thinking, I like to think of it as the ability to recognize a problem no matter how big or small it is and seize it as an opportunity for innovation,” says Patel.

Patel co-founded The Debtless Students in 2020. The non-profit organization provides scholarship services, mentorships, and financial literacy education to students free of charge. He believes education is a right and wants to provide everyone with equitable access to educational opportunities.

Rigel Tormon, Schulich School of Engineering

Tormon is in his third year of chemical engineering, minoring in biomedical engineering at the Schulich School of Engineering. His team Neocycle participated in Map the System, and was the first prize winner of the Liftoff! pitch competition.

Neocycle is a process his team developed to affordably extract rare-earth metals from old computers and reuse them in new computers. This project can help reduce CO2 emissions from conventional mining and make the industry less energy intensive.

“Winning the Cannon Lachapelle Award means being able to explore first-hand the potential of entrepreneurial thinking, and really continue the entrepreneurial thinking journey that has started with team Neocycle,” says Tormon.

“The financial support provided by this award would show someone like me, who wasn’t really entrepreneurially inclined at the beginning, where a bit of exploration of entrepreneurial thinking would get me.”

Cassie Wood, Cumming School of Medicine

Wood is a third-year biomedical science student at the Cumming School of Medicine. She is a social entrepreneur who focuses on creating positive social change. Wood’s journey in entrepreneurial thinking began as a way to express herself through poetry and connect with the queer community. 

“Entrepreneurial thinking means creating creative solutions for the communities that you are passionate about,” says Wood. “I wanted to create social change through my poetry by sharing my authentic experiences and hoping to create social change in the queer and mental health community.”

Wood has published four poetry anthologies that are sold internationally. One is a women’s empowerment anthology that involved collaboration between 19 women around the world. She is currently spearheading a similar project for queer creators. 

“Congratulations to this year’s award winners. It is inspiring to see young innovators embrace entrepreneurial thinking to make a positive change on their community,” says former UCalgary President Cannon.

“I hope that this award will help their entrepreneurial endeavours and encourage other innovators to get involved with entrepreneurial thinking at the university.”

Starting in 2022-2023, one award will be available for an Embedded Certificate in Entrepreneurial Thinking student.