July 23, 2021

Recipients of Cannon Lachapelle Award in Entrepreneurial Thinking announced

This year’s applicants showcased their innovation and perseverance in a difficult year
Anita Malekian and Mina Mina.
The winners of the Cannon Lachapelle Award: Anita Malekian and Mina Mina.

Students at the University of Calgary continue to embody ingenuity and entrepreneurial thinking in their studies and activities, even when faced with a global pandemic and remote learning, as evidenced in the applications for this year’s Cannon Lachapelle Award in Entrepreneurial Thinking.

The award was created in 2019 with a generous donation from Dr. M. Elizabeth Cannon, PhD, and Dr. Gérard Lachapelle, PhD, with the aim of supporting the future of UCalgary undergraduate students by incorporating entrepreneurial thinking in their education experiences.

“The Cannon Lachapelle Award is not only to reward some of the best ingenuity by undergraduate students, but is also a vehicle to highlight the growing, impactful innovation community at the University of Calgary,” said Dr. Cannon, president emerita, University of Calgary. “Their innovation and creativity, along with the potential impact of their entrepreneurial ideas, provide tremendous inspiration for the future of our city and province.”

Since then, successful applicants have demonstrated creativity and innovation in new ways of doing, helping, and thinking, and of supporting the UCalgary campus community and beyond. Many have showcased their leadership and interdisciplinary skills as they develop a business venture or social enterprise. For their efforts, each recipient receives $10,000 to support their entrepreneurial and academic efforts.

The Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s award:

Anita Malekian

Anita is a third-year student in the Schulich School of Engineering, majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in energy and environment.

“Receiving this award, amongst the many entrepreneurial and innovative thinkers that form the fabric of the University of Calgary, is an incredible honour,” said Anita. “The Cannon Lachapelle Award will help fund Water Movement, a venture under Engineers Without Borders, which aims to champion the United Nations’ sustainable development goal for clean water and sanitation by helping to eradicate the boil water advisories that devastate Indigenous communities across Canada. UCalgary support will enable Water Movement to continue to build a platform that is a resource to the frontline heroes of Canada’s water crisis: the Indigenous water treatment operators.”

In addition to being on the founding team for Water Movement, Anita has also represented UCalgary at the World’s Challenge Challenge, and was a semi-finalist in the Map the System and AquaHacking challenges this year.

Mina Mina

Mina is a fourth-year student in the Schulich School of Engineering, majoring in mechanical engineering with a biomedical engineering specialization.

“Over the past years, I have participated in many entrepreneurial activities—activities where I have been able to apply my engineering background and experience to address challenges faced by our community,” said Mina. “Through the Cannon Lachapelle Award, I will be able to continue tackling such real-world challenges. Whether it be bridging a gap in access to health care or designing equipment to enhance even an individual’s quality of life, these projects are knit together by a central mission: to serve others while pioneering and seeking value realization.”

Mina is
the lead engineer of the Physical Spine Simulator, a venture designed to assist with pedicle screw insertion surgery to treat spine compression fractures. The simulator has the potential of reducing the misplacement rates of pedicle screws during surgery, which would consequently decrease costs to the healthcare system, increase the confidence of medical students, and prevent harm to patients.

This year’s recipients were selected by a team of faculty adjudicators, led by Dr. Alice de Koning, PhD, the academic director for the Hunter Hub.

“On behalf of my colleagues, I can say we were all extremely impressed by the level of talent shown in the applications,” said Dr. de Koning. “The Cannon Lachapelle Award in Entrepreneurial Thinking is an excellent initiative that allows the best of the best at UCalgary to be highlighted. Although there can only be two recipients, all of the applicants should be proud of their accomplishments so far and inspired by the bright future of opportunity ahead of them.”

About the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking

Created with a generous gift from the Hunter Family Foundation in 2017, the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking is UCalgary’s community innovation hub that transforms lives and economies through fostering entrepreneurial thinking in students, faculty and the community. Our mission is to create and support game-changing innovators and accelerate their ideas from conception to impact on society.

The Hunter Hub contributes to the University of Calgary’s strategic vision to be the most entrepreneurial university in Canada.