Our scholarships recipients are cultivating pathways to careers that combine their career pursuits with their passions for combating anti-black racism, building thriving communities, and solving big global challenges.
A call for representation and understanding
Kinross Gold Corporation Scholarship recipient, Sojourner San Vicente hopes through her chosen profession of midwifery she can help tackle issues experienced by Black communities.
She and a fellow Toronto Metropolitan University (previously Ryerson) Midwifery Education Program student have developed a series of educational videos on midwifery featuring Black students, midwives and families to provide representation, to overcome misconceptions, and to help the Black community better understand their pregnancy care options.
San Vicente points to the selflessness she observed growing up from aunts, uncles, and community members, and how they shaped her desire to help build a healthy, thriving community. “I’m looking forward to giving back as they do.”
Fighting climate change with entrepreneurship
Leana Kazadi, last year’s 2021 Robert K. Brown Scholarship recipient, plans to merge entrepreneurship and public well-being through social enterprise — the practice of solving social or environmental challenges with business strategies.
She developed a passion for using business skills to help solve climate change at a summer enrichment program for high-school students in Saskatchewan, where she developed a biodegradable and compostable bailing twine as a solution to this agricultural waste problem.
Kazadi is motivated to social responsibility by the example of her Congolese-Canadian father who passed away in 2018. “He taught me the very definition of community. He was always socially aware, doing what he could with the little that he had to help others.”
Moving to support healthcare in the Black community
Sydney Hussett is the 2021 Dr. Gervan Fearon Graduate Studies Scholarship recipient. Hussett noted that in her studies she sees a lack of representation, that she was one of only six or seven Black students in a class of more than 230 students when completing her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.
“I felt extremely isolated and as a result, my mental wellness, community engagement, and academic performance deteriorated,” she told scholarship judges. “In my third year of studies, I began volunteering and making an active effort to connect with Black students and professors on campus.”
Sydney is now studying public health. Her goal is to bring the skills she’s learned in kinesiology around preventive medicine and using exercise to reduce disease to develop culturally aware programs for the Black community.
“I chose public health because it’s the best of both worlds. I can do preventative medicine and work with marginalized groups.” She believes solidarity and engagement are the keys to building a thriving community.
Fueling confidence and encouragement
Being selected to receive a scholarship can go a lot farther than just helping pay fees. They give recipients motivation and a boost of confidence. After all they are selected from all the applicants to be receive this aid and recognition.
Receiving the Dr. Gervan Fearon Graduate Studies Scholarship was a real boost to her confidence, says recipient Sydney Hussett.
Similarly, Leana Kazadi, says that being awarded her scholarship was motivating. “I’m just happy to be one of the recipients of this award, because it just shows me there are people that believe in me and see my potential, and that’s an incredibly encouraging thing to have.”
“It reminds me that anything is possible.”
Applications for 2022 scholarships are now being accepted. If you or someone you know could use some financial assistance, please check out the scholarships available on the Tropicana Community Services Site.