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Date: December 11, 2013

UVic student wins 2014 Rhodes Scholarship

British Columbia’s winner of the world’s oldest and most prestigious student scholarship for 2014 is a 21-year-old biochemistry student from the University of Victoria.

Dylan Collins will head to Britain’s famed University of Oxford next fall as a Rhodes Scholar. The award— which supports outstanding all-round students from around the world—is worth more than $100,000 and covers all travel, living and study expenses at Oxford.

“We’re extremely proud of Dylan and his achievement,” says UVic President Jamie Cassels. “He is an outstanding student who has pushed himself in the classroom, the lab, the community and the workplace to get a well-rounded perspective and hands-on experience in his chosen field of study. His determination to make a difference in the world is remarkable.”

“I’m very excited,” says Collins, who hails from Tlell, a tiny village on the northeast coast of Haida Gwaii. But he admits that attending Oxford wasn’t really on his radar until his research interests started to gel at UVic.
“I fell into this passion for public health,” he says. “Once I started thinking about grad school, I looked around for the top people in the field who would be the best mentors possible. That led me to Oxford.”

Collins will graduate from UVic in June 2014 with an honours BSc in biochemistry. But his bulging academic résumé spans much more than the pure sciences. “I went into biochemistry because I was interested in medicine and health,” he says. “But I quickly realized that if I want to make big changes in terms of helping people, then I’d need to shift more toward the social determinants of health.”

Funded during his UVic studies by a Loran Scholarship, he completed a series of internships that exposed him to many different aspects of health care.

He worked in Kenya with the Foundation for Sustainable Development on improving access to health care in a rural region, with the BC Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver on a drug overdose prevention and treatment program, and with KPMG management consultants on health care budgeting.

“It’s incredibly inspiring to see health policy transformed into practice and how work done at a system level can impact many members of our community in a positive way,” he says.

Collins currently serves on the board of AIDS Vancouver Island. He’s also completing his honours thesis in a BC Cancer Agency lab on a project that involves the chemical modification of genes or gene-associated proteins.

For the last year, Collins has been working with UVic’s Centre for Aboriginal Health Research (CAHR) and a Haida Gwaii community on a project that explores barriers to harm reduction among Aboriginal people who use illicit drugs.

At Oxford, Collins will pursue the British equivalent of a PhD through the Nuffield School of Population Health. “I’m committed to exploring the interactions between substance use, social determinants, and the broader context of poverty, colonization, culture and trauma.”

Collins also cycles, surfs, sails and rock climbs. He plans to add rowing to the list while at Oxford. “It’s been a lifelong dream,” he grins, “but for one reason or another I couldn’t fit it in—until now.”

Up to 11 Rhodes Scholarships are awarded in Canada each year, including one from BC. The scholarships require outstanding scholastic achievement, strong qualities of leadership and character, and a commitment to public service.

UVic has produced seven Rhodes winners in the last 12 years, including last year (2013).


UVic-produced video about Dylan Collins:

Media contacts:

Dylan Collins at 250-858-8755 or dylancollins07@gmail.com

Valerie Shore (UVic Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-7641 or vshore@uvic.ca


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