SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

November 22, 2016 10:00 ET

University of Calgary alumnus one of Canada's 11 winners of prestigious scholarship

Mechanical engineer, social entrepreneur and new Rhodes Scholar-elect, James Thorogood heading to Oxford

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - November 22, 2016) - James Thorogood is a recent mechanical engineering graduate who is passionate about water sustainability, food systems, and poverty reduction. He was also recently named as one of only three winners from the Prairie Provinces – and 11 across Canada – to win a scholarship at the University of Oxford.

During his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, Thorogood spent his free time volunteering with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada. As co-president of EWB Calgary's student chapter, Thorogood supported youth outreach programs, promotion of ethical purchasing on campus, and advocacy to Canadian Members of Parliament.

"This is a phenomenal accomplishment and I would like to personally congratulate James for this outstanding recognition of all your hard work, dedication and perseverance," said President Elizabeth Cannon. "I look forward to seeing the incredible things you will accomplish at Oxford and wish you the best of luck in your studies."

Thorogood works on entrepreneurial initiatives at an international scale. He worked with EWB in Ghana to identify viable businesses that could reduce import dependencies and create opportunities for rural communities. He also co-founded Skill2Scale, a social enterprise developing digital education services for low-income youth in India and East Africa. Currently, Thorogood is working with a start-up in Kenya to improve the livelihood of millions of smallholder dairy farmers who are entrenched in cycles of poverty.

"On behalf of the school, I want to congratulate James on this incredible achievement," says Bill Rosehart, dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. "He is an excellent example of an engineering leader making a positive difference in the world."

"James is a natural in terms of collaboration, community and compassion, qualities all great engineers possess," says Marjan Eggermont, associate dean (student affairs) at the Schulich School of Engineering. "He wrote his fourth-year finals early to take a job in Kenya where he is taking on a breadth of activities from designing passive cooling for a greenhouse, to developing a program for cattle nutrition, to networking with investors and building financial models. I am extremely happy and excited for him — he has enormous potential and his time in Oxford will open doors for him that will add to the positive impact he is having on the world already."

In addition to his academic pursuits, Thorogood is an enthusiastic musician. While in university, Thorogood collaborated with Calgary musicians to perform in the university's Battle of the Bands and also recorded an electronic single with producer Sodhivine. A vocalist, violinist, and guitarist, Thorogood continues to enjoy music as a way to meet new people and create new experiences.

"I have discovered the live music community in Nairobi, Kenya and have been practicing with a jazz group which performs around East Africa, " says Thorogood. "I am teaching young children how to play the violin in a town outside Nairobi, and my fee is chai tea and a meal."

Thorogood intends to pursue a master's degree in Water Science, Management and Policy.

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

For more information, visit Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts go to our media center at

Image Available:

Contact Information