Introducing The Sandy Lapsky Award in Geography

We are pleased to announce the establishment of a new $4,000 award for international graduate students in Geography, thanks to a generous donation by the department’s administrator Sandy Lapsky.

The Sandy Lapsky Award in Geography is open to international students in good academic standing, and will be awarded annually on the recommendation of the department, in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

As an alumna of UBC herself, and administrator of the Department of Geography since 1989, Sandy says:

“As I reflect on my wonderful experience in this special workplace, I dearly wanted to give back. I felt that an endowed scholarship was out of reach, but when we worked on the Emily Acheson Student Support Fund I realized that I could set up a named award, and I was so happy to pursue that. The department has generously matched my donation and there is now a $4,000 award for an international student annually for 5 years.”

Sandy’s desire to support international students in particular draws on her own experience of coming to UBC from Hong Kong in 1977: “Having experienced UBC as an international student all those years ago, when I was not allowed to work in Canada, I know they have additional challenges and wanted to provide some support.”

She hopes the award will help to ease some of the difficulties students still experience when moving to Canada for the first time.

“I think there are more resources now to help students, but I remember feeling lost in my first year. There was a huge culture shock, which I did not expect as I had thought that Hong Kong was quite westernized. Everyone seemed to have friends from high school, and I did not know anyone. It took a long time to settle into a new way of learning.“

“Now, I try to be especially nice to our incoming grads as everything is new for them and I give special attention to our international students. I hope to provide them with information, attention, understanding, patience, inspiration and encouragement.”

The Sandy Lapsky Award in Geography is currently funded for 5 years, and remains open to further donations so that it can continue on beyond that time.

If you are interested in becoming a donor, you can do so here:

Students do not need to apply for the award; you will be automatically considered if you are eligible, and notified if you are successful.

The recipient for 2022 has been notified and will be announced shortly.