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 2015 Young Alumna Award

 Victoria CHENG'00

Victoria CHENG'00 was a finalist on the CBC Television show Canada's Smartest Person, and you can easily see why. She is one of those high-achieving people who is ready for anything. A classically trained violinist from childhood, still playing. A serious athlete, still racing up mountains. A graduate with two MAs, including a Harvard credit. A writer and editor, working at McGill University. And, hardly least, a mother of two young children.

Victoria grew up in Edmonton, then spent three high-school years in her parents' native Hong Kong before moving to Branksome for Grade 13. At Branksome, her language and writings skills flourished. "It was an exciting time for me intellectually, developing my passion for the written word," she says.

She met her future husband, Thomas Leenders, at the University of Waterloo, and later received an MA in English from Western University. The couple married in 2005 and soon after moved to Boston where Thomas was accepted at Harvard. Victoria took the Master's in journalism program at the Harvard Extension School, where she won the Dean's Prize for her thesis. Her classes led to regular freelance work with the Boston Globe and an internship with National Public Radio.

After the couple moved to Montreal, Victoria joined the communications team at McGill University's Faculty of Law, editing the alumni magazine and pioneering a more digital approach. For a time, she edited McGill's research magazine, then rejoined the Faculty of Law in her former role.

Outside work, she volunteers in her daughter's school and plays her violin in an improvisational orchestra. "I don't know from one year to the next what the new one will bring," she says, "but I trust that it's going to be exciting and entertaining and fun."


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