By Rina Barone Posted August 6, 2021 The Creemore Echo
Being a student this past year was anything but normal: it meant navigating online classes while adapting to the challenges that come with learning remotely. Three RAYS scholarship recipients, who were each awarded $20,000, rose to the challenge and persevered, graduating recently from their respective university programs. They are: Rosalyn Martin, Joe Sammon and Mikaela Bacon.
Mikaela Bacon is a 2021 graduate from the University of British Columbia in the Science program with a Major in Earth and Ocean Science. “Moving across the country to attend university was not financially feasible for me at that time, so RAYS helped me attain an education that I didn’t think was possible for me,” says Mikaela.
Being far from home, Mikaela had to adapt to a new environment. “I’ve learned that I’m resilient and even when things get extremely hard, I always find a way to push through. I’ve broken down barriers and achieved things that I never thought I could.”
Mikaela is currently working at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, specifically on fisheries management policy and reconciliation around Pacific salmon fisheries.
“I have been working at Fisheries and Oceans Canada since before I graduated, and I plan on staying there to continue to develop my career and work in a position that I’m passionate about.”
Rosalyn Martin, having recently completed four years at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario graduated with a degree in Political and Gender Studies. Rosalyn was awarded a RAYS scholarship in 2017 when she was in her senior year at Nottawasaga Pines District High School.
“I feel so lucky to have been supported by RAYS place through the duration of my undergraduate degree,” says Rosalyn. “RAYS has alleviated components of financial stress, allowing me to spend time volunteering, getting involved in community work and developing career networks. I have been able to sit in the House of Commons, advocate for others through various student government positions, take on volunteer opportunities in politics, work with the Canadian Council of Young Feminists, and the Canadian Coalition of Youth Peace and Security. These are areas that I am incredibly passionate about and have strengthened my sense of community within my chosen fields.”
Joe Sammon, a RAYS 2017 scholar, graduated in Spring 2021 from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia from the Kinesiology program. In addition to being selected as his class Valedictorian, Joe received the AKS Community Initiative Award for his academic excellence and contribution to the Acadia community through his leadership, coaching and volunteer work. Currently tree planting in British Columbia, Joe is excited for his next chapter. He will take next year to decide between physiotherapy and chiropractic medicine through shadowing local clinics. He hopes to apply to grad schools starting in fall of 2022.
“Being a part of the RAYS Scholarship program has been a life altering opportunity,” says Joe. “It allowed me to pursue my passion and provided me with the tools and resources to succeed. RAYS and my sponsors helped me financially, but also provided me with incredibly valuable mentorship throughout my degree.”