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2013 Athena Scholarship winners Leslie Skakun, Christie Kluytmans and Julia ChurchAthena Scholarship winners Leslie Skakun, Christie Kluytmans and Julia Church

UWindsor women honoured with Athena Scholarships

University of Windsor alumna Julia Church and student Leslie Skakun received two of three 2013 Athena Scholarships awarded by the Athena Scholarship Fund and the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon on Thursday. The event also featured guest speaker and Canadian Olympic Boxer, Mary Spencer.

Julia graduated last spring from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Biochemistry. For her thesis, she evaluated the efficacy of novel anti-cancer compounds. She plans to continue her studies at Michigan State University in the Osteopathic Physician program next June. Julia has worked as a lifeguard and aquatics instructor and mentored first-year university students as well as a child of the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society. She has volunteered in a medical clinic in Guatemala and at the Windsor West Urgent Care Centre. Julia fundraises for the Terry Fox Run and for Shinerama, as well as participating in a variety of sports.

Leslie Skakun is in her third year of an Honours Bachelor of Nursing program. She is a Resident Assistant at the University and serves as a mentor to first-year nursing students. Leslie volunteers for St. John Ambulance and the University of Windsor Emergency Response Team. She fundraises for the Canadian Paraplegic Association and also raised awareness and dollars for Operation Smile which provides reconstructive surgery for children. Leslie is a champion athlete and has worked as a lifeguard and aquatics instructor.

The Athena Scholarship Program is a "made in Canada" initiative, It was created in Windsor in 1999 to recognise and reward young leaders of tomorrow who display solid values and achieve academic excellence. Recipients must be interested in increasing leadership opportunities for women, enhancing the quality of life in their community, mentoring, team building and pursuing diversity.