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Hailey Sacerty graduates from McMaster University's School of Nursing

Hailey Sacerty, RAYS Scholarship recipient 2018, recently graduated from McMaster University's School of Nursing program, and on May 1st, a day after writing her final exam, she spoke to a full house at RAYS Annual General Meeting about her university experience during a pandemic. Here, in her own words, Hailey reflects on her final year:

"The past 4 years have been such a rewarding and eye opening experience and I am so thankful for RAYS for helping to provide me with this opportunity. The nursing profession drastically changed in 2020 when I was about to start really ramping up the clinical hours … at this time the world was shutting down, I had no job and no class, and I randomly decided to enrol in a full psychology course load for the summer as it was something I've always been interested in but never really had the time for. Through the summer I had 16 hours a week of lectures, plus readings and study time. This was definitely not planned and wouldn’t have happened without the pandemic, but I am glad I made the decision to enrol in all these extra courses because it turns out that I can practice psychotherapy as a registered nurse (who knew?)...so it could actually be valuable to my career...I had to become more adaptable and comfortable with the unknown during my time in university through a pandemic. There was no guarantee we could stay in the hospital, no guarantee I'd get all my clinical hours, and things were changing literally by the hour every day. It was almost impossible to keep up. I spent my fall semester of my final year in the PACU, or the recovery room at the children’s hospital. It was a wonderful environment. Fast forward to my final semester, I found myself on a medicine floor at the biggest hospital in the city…. And not only that, but I was in the “new makeshift ICU overflow” with all the very sick COVID patients. I think that was honestly my favourite part of my final year. I participated in many research studies by administering new treatments and medications to these patients who might not even survive, but I got to see many of them bounce back and recover. I also participated in caring for a patient with VITT, otherwise known as a disorder that causes blood clots from one specific COVID vaccine… he has many studies published on him. Unfortunately as the semester went on the staffing got worse and worse...nurses were left with very unsafe patient loads and afraid to come to work. It was terrifying to witness, especially knowing I was beginning this career when the field was in such a vulnerable state. This is when I realized that I needed to rethink my plan for after graduation. Initially, I wanted to work in the Pediatric ICU, but after seeing how the wards and units were functioning, I realized that it would not be the environment for me and it would be better to revisit that plan down the road. I’m thankful for my clinical experiences, because it allowed me to find a safe and comfortable place where I enjoy working and have the support of many amazing doctors and anesthesiologists in emergencies. I now work in the Pediatric recovery room where I am able to dip my toes into critical care and am working towards my critical care certification so I can revisit the Pediatric ICU later down the road. When university life changed, I relied on a lot of self-discipline. I'm glad I was able to persevere and I think in the end it will have a positive effect on my career." (Speech was condensed for length)

 

Grace Millsap to be a peer tutor for the 2021 academic year

Grace Millsap, RAYS 2020 bursary recipient, will be a peer tutor to first-year students this upcoming year. Grace is currently in her second year of the Agriculture diploma program at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown campus. Aside from her online classes last year, Grace was part of the Student Ambassador Program hosting virtual open houses to prospective students teaching them about the campus and the Agriculture program. She hopes to continue with that program as well this year. This past summer Grace was able to embark on hands-on learning in her chosen field by working as a summer student at Holmes Agro in Stayner as an Office assistant and Crop Scout. "This job ties in perfectly with the courses and knowledge I learned in my first year at Ridgetown putting my knowledge into the real world. It has also helped me gain more knowledge and hands-on experience I had missed out on through the online format my courses were taught through last year," says Grace. After graduating next spring from Ridgetown she hopes to continue her education in the Agriculture field at either the main campus of Guelph or at Olds college in Alberta. "I also hope to continue working at Holmes Agro in the Summer months."

Joe graduates as Class Valedictorian 2021

Joe Sammon, RAYS 2017, recently completed his fourth and final year at Acadia University in the Kinesiology program and was selected as the class valedictorian. Joe was also awarded the AKS Community Initiative Award for his academic excellence and contribution to the Acadia community through his leadership, coaching and volunteer work. While he is sad to end his studies, he is excited to begin his next chapter. After a summer of tree planting in BC, Joe plans on taking next year to shadow both a chiropractor and physiotherapist as those are the two professions he's currently deciding between. "I am thrilled to see what comes next! I want to say thank you for all the support you have given me over the years! Without RAYS, I would not have been able to pursue the things that I have and achieve what I have achieved! From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Amy to intern remotely this summer as a Summit Executive for One Young World, a leadership organization in the UK 

Amy Hinchey, RAYS Scholar 2018, is currently enrolled at Carleton University in Global and International Studies. She was recently elected President of her Students' Society, and is continuing her work as Director of Communications with an organization on campus she helped start, Kroeger Policy Review. Upon completion of her virtual summer internship she will prepare to take the LSAT before resuming her studies in Fall 2021. “RAYS has made a huge impact on my university career, opening countless doors for me with their network, mentorship, and financial supports. Most students understand the stress that comes along with figuring out how to fund their post-secondary education, and having some of that removed thanks to the RAYS Scholarship has allowed me to focus my energies into being more involved with campus life and my community! Over the last three years I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with my Students Society, intern with our local Member of Parliament, and most recently help found a new student-run policy review publication on campus. Without my RAYS funding, my time spend on these initiatives would have instead been focused on working longer hours to save up more money. I’ll always be grateful to RAYS for providing me with that financial assistance, as well as a network of incredible youth and experienced mentors to assist me in my academic journey.”

Josh, RAYS Graduate, accepts one-year position at US-based Green Corps

Like many students, he caught the university activist bug and got involved in politics and the environment, completing his studies in these areas. Upon graduation he accepted a one-year position in the Field School for Environmental Organizing at the US-based organization: Green Corps in Seattle. Four months later, he moved to Philadelphia to work with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. By the summer, he will be an experienced organizer ready to bring both his talent and passion back to Canada. He has readily acknowledged the role RAYS played in making this happen. “Over the years, RAYS has become like a family to me, full of caring and supportive people that want nothing more than to help you achieve your full potential. I don’t think the people at RAYS will ever truly know how big of an impact they have had on me throughout the years, but I hope they know how thankful I am.” RAYS has been very proud to have been able to support his education and see him thrive in his new role.

Rosalyn Martin to attend law school September 2022

Rosalyn Martin, RAYS Scholarship Recipient 2017 and Queen's University graduate, recently shared with us her good news:

"I’m going to be a lawyer!!!!""Very, very excited to share that I will be starting law school at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law this September!I attribute my passion for implementing progressive and sustainable change in the legal system to my experiences on the front line at Elizabeth Fry. I hope to dedicate my career to criminal defence, working with criminalized people in a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, and pro-community capacity.I’m excited to continue decriminalization work in a different capacity and my newest adventure: a progressive legal education."
Abby cheers RAYS support for both education and networking

Abby Ruppert, who graduated in 2020 with a degree in Kinesiology from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, expresses her appreciation for the support she has received from RAYS, “I am so incredibly thankful to RAYS and all of the people who both directly and indirectly have supported, helped, encouraged, and pushed me to where I stand today. To the board members, the sponsors, our mentors, the selection committee, and so many others, you have provided both me and the other students with both education and networking opportunities that may not have been possible without your help!” Abby looks forward to remaining a part of the RAYS community in service of future scholarship recipients as they pursue their post-secondary education.

Allison aims to return to Clearview and give back to the amazing community

Allison McLeod, who is in Business studies at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, tells of her transition to college life and her appreciation for the support she has received from RAYS as part of that process, reporting that “My year has been going extremely well so far but of course it comes with some ups and downs, second tries and lots of adjustments. Overall, I am enjoying my first year back at school and am very grateful for all the help and support I have received from everyone at RAYS. I would love to come back to the Clearview area after finishing school and be able to give back to our amazing community.”

Ryan thrives in his program at Fleming College

Ryan Gillis spent his summers working at Camp Maple Leaf where he developed a passion for helping youth with unique challenges. He’s another RAYS recipient and is in a three-year program to become a Child and Youth Care Worker. “I am loving the program. It’s everything I wanted it to be. I’m surrounded by people with similar values and beliefs in wanting to work with youth at risk or with special needs. It’s all established on working on the youth’s strength and by focusing on what they are doing right can develop and improve their situation,” said Gillis.

Hannah in Fish and Wildlife program counts on RAYS support system

Hannah Stockford, studying at Fleming College, reports, “I’ve always had a natural curiosity for the natural world, but it wasn’t until Grade 9 that I realized I could turn this curiosity into a career. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work with Long Point Bird Observatory doing bird banding. It was there, specifically during the young ornithologist workshop I did in 2017, I realized that I loved educating people about the natural world around them. College can be expensive, so a bursary from RAYS provided some peace of mind going into my first and second years. Additionally, RAYS provided me with a support system that I can count on every step of the way. It’s reassuring to know that there is a community of people that have my back when things get tough.”