Meet Intrepid Scholar Bronwyn Delacruz
University of Winnipeg students and academic superstars Julia Antonyshyn and Bronwyn Delacruz have earned the prestigious Sir William Stephenson Scholarships, also known as the Intrepid. Both of these exceptional students are UWinnipeg Collegiate graduates and both share an invested interest in the environment.
Delacruz, who’s originally from Grande Prairie, AB, came to the UWinnipeg Collegiate for her grade 12 and is now pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in biopsychology, also known as neuroscience. She has a particular interest in how the environment affects public health.
Delacruz is an independent, self-driven individual with a commitment to research and advocacy for the environment. Her resolve to explore sustainable initiatives began at an early age. In her grade 10 year, the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster had such a profound impact on her that she felt compelled to act.
Initially, at the age of 15, Delacruz bought a Geiger–Mueller counter, an instrument used for detecting and measuring ionizing radiation, and sourced kelp samples from different regions of the Pacific coast, comparing it to samples that were obtained prior to the reactor meltdown.
“This independent research was conducted to see if wildlife in the Pacific were still being affected by the destroyed reactor,” said Delacruz. “By measuring radiation levels in different organisms from varying locations in the Pacific Ocean, I discovered positive results for nuclear waste products in salt water kelp and fish species.”
Throughout her undergraduate studies, Delacruz continued to build on her project and collaborated with institutions such as RadCast, an organization that focuses on collecting and interpreting radiation data. She took her findings and presented at the Peace, Global Health, and Sustainability Undergraduate Poster Presentation Conference hosted by the University of Toronto.
One of her goals is to help reform environmental policies through research. Disheartened by the Fisheries and Oceans’ research libraries and databases closing down, Delacruz is petitioning for the funding of environmental research facilities and Water Pollution Research Laboratories to further monitor the radiation levels on the west coast of Canada.
This year she is working as a research assistant for a pollution project under the mentorship of Dr. Judith Huebner (Chair, biology), focusing on how micro-plastics are affecting fresh water species native to Canada’s freshwater lakes.
“Bronwyn has been a pleasure to have in the lab,” said Huebner. “She is bright, supremely organized, careful and frankly unflappable.”
When Delacruz is not doing research she is inspiring young minds to pursue science as a laboratory demonstrator in the UWinnipeg High School Enrichment Program.
Delacruz finds teaching to be an incredibly rewarding experience. She is also a member of UWinnipeg’s jack.org chapter that works to improve mental health for young people and is an active volunteer with St. John’s Ambulance, which provides emergency medical response and first aid training to the community.
After graduation she wants to pursue a master’s degree in public health, epidemiology, or possibly rural medicine.
“I want to positively impact my community and the rest of Canada though advocacy, health education, and care, as well as research.”
Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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