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Rowing to success

October 1, 2012

Rowing to success
Competitive rower and Western dentistry student Jennifer Martins has achieved both athletic and academic success.

Jennifer Martins’ schedule sounds exhausting. Between practices for Western’s varsity rowing team and a full load of classes at dentistry school, Jennifer has little time to relax.

“I have an average of around eight hours of class a day, and often stay late to complete lab work,” she says. “When training and preparing food is factored in, there is hardly time to sleep.”

That makes her receipt of a Gordon Risk OSOTF Bursary a welcome opportunity. Established through a bequest from Mr. Gordon Risk, the bursary is awarded to a student demonstrating athletic leadership. “This award has helped reduce the financial stress, making it easier to focus on my academic and athletic goals,” she says. “The support that I and other student athletes receive is greatly appreciated and contributes immensely to our success.”

Jennifer has already achieved much success. Last fall, she and her Western teammates earned two gold medals and a second-place overall finish at the Canadian University Rowing Championships. As a member of Canada’s Under 23 (U23) women’s eight team, she helped set a world record and earn gold at the 2011 U23 World Rowing Championships.

“Because London is the training site for the women’s Olympic team, Western’s rowing program is among the best in the country, and this has led to many great opportunities to compete at a high level,” says Jennifer.

Her athletic and academic success, plus her volunteer work teaching underprivileged children water safety in Toronto, led to Jennifer being recognized as a Woman of Influence by Ontario University Athletics in 2012.

“Rowing has been a huge part of my university career, and has definitely shaped me both as a person and a student,” says Jennifer, whose interest in rowing began during her first year at Western.

Today, Jennifer is pursuing a dental surgery degree at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. After graduating in 2014, she hopes to start her own dental practice – maybe after rowing for a couple of years to train for the national team.

However long she decides to row, Jennifer plans to give back some day. “I hope to be successful enough to give to Western,” she adds, “and create a scholarship to help out students, just as I’m being helped now.”


This article appeared in the 2012 edition of Student Awards Recipient Report
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