A pair of UNBC alumni recently received the year’s UNBC Distinguished Alumni Awards for their leadership and service.

Sarah White accepts her Distinguished Alumni Award from Jennifer Young, the UNBC Alumni Council President. (supplied by UNBC)

Dr. David Llewellyn, the Senior Vice President for Business Operations at STEMCELL Technologies in Vancouver, who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry back in 1997, received the Professional Excellence Award based on his outstanding professional contributions to the social, cultural and economic well-being of society.

Llewellyn, who went on to receive his Ph.D. from McGill University following his undergraduate from UNBC, told MyPGNow that the small class sizes at UNBC played a big role in his ability to receive his doctorate in just four years.

“If you compare an undergraduate at a place like McGill or UBC, the class sizes and labs are so large that I don’t think you get the same type of individual kind of one-on-one mentorship and training from the professors in the lab at those big universities than you get at UNBC,” said Llewellyn. “When I went to UNBC, because the class sizes were so small, I really thought I feel like I got a much higher quality undergraduate degree than I would have got at a larger University.”

Llewellyn said he was able to get access to advanced scientific instrumentation during his time at UNBC.

“That, plus the direct research experience in the lab while I was an undergrad, that really prepared me well for my Ph.D. because I had already been doing that stuff for years. I think that was one of the reasons why I was able to finish my Ph.D. in four years. That’s quite quick when you skip your masters.”

Sarah White, who earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2007, received the UNBC Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service for her significant volunteer role in founding the Northern Cancer Survivor Society, the first cancer support group of its kind in Prince George. She is currently working on her graduate degree in counseling at Prince George’s campus.

“As UNBC graduates, both David and Sarah have become outstanding leaders who are making valuable contributions in their professions and communities,” said UNBC President Dr. Dan Weeks. “They are just two more examples of UNBC alumni who continue to do amazing work and are role models for both our alumni and students.”

A special awards committee selected the recipients based on nominations submitted to the UNBC Alumni Council.