Home » Stories » The drive to excellence

The drive to excellence

Laura Jones
“She exemplifies the best of our student-athletes and she is a role model for future generations not only in the classroom, but on the golf course and in the community.” – SFU golf head coach Matthew Steinbach

As a high school senior in Moncton, New Brunswick, Laura Jones knew that there was something special about SFU—no other university golf program could provide a Canadian education and the chance to compete in the NCAA. 

She accepted a scholarship offer from the late John Buchanan, then head coach of SFU Golf, and became the first member of her family ever to attend university. Since then, she has demonstrated what current coach Matthew Steinbach calls a “fierce work ethic” and “level of maturity not commonly found in undergraduate students” to excel on and off the course.

 “I have had so many opportunities and such support,” Laura says of her SFU experience so far. “I’ve met many incredible people to look up to and learn from, and am building my capacity to take on more. It’s definitely been a time of growth for me, and I’ve pushed myself to my limits, which has been both challenging and extremely rewarding.”

Laura was named an All-American Scholar by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association in 2018 and 2019. She also played a pivotal role in SFU’s sixth-place finish at the NCAA Division II Women's Golf West Regional Championship this past spring. SFU was two spots shy of earning a berth to the NCAA Championships. 

Her ability to balance life as a student-athlete is impressive. In addition to training, competing and travelling for golf, Laura is majoring in health sciences with aspirations to eventually attend medical school. She volunteers extensively for a variety of student and community initiatives, is a strong advocate for student mental health, and started a partnership that sees about 45 SFU student-athletes help run fitness classes and testing for Special Olympics B.C. athletes. She participates in the co-operative education program, and is a research assistant in two SFU health-related labs. 

Earlier this year, Laura received the John Buchanan Memorial Golf Award in recognition of her contribution as a member of the SFU Golf Team. The award was established through an endowment with gifts from SFU Golf alumni, family and friends in memory of Buchanan, a charter member of the SFU Athletics Hall of Fame who worked at the university for 50 years and guided its soccer and golf programs.

“John Buchanan was a big reason why I came here,” she explains. “How much he valued the academic aspect of things, how invested he was in our future careers—that support and level of understanding was really big for me. He was committed to producing not just good golfers but good people.”

Laura expresses tremendous gratitude for the encouragement and financial aid she has received.

“It’s been amazing and has enabled me to be here and to pursue my goals. It’s opened up so many doors for me.”

With her leadership and drive, it’s clear she will open many doors for herself as her journey continues.