Three students with ties to New Brunswick are now finalists for a major graduate scholarship. Alex Clow, Martha Pitre and Reid Sutherland are three of just 50 finalists in Canada to be up for the McCall MacBain Scholarship, a graduate prize for aspiring community leaders to attend McGill University in a master’s program.
All three will do their final interviews for the scholarship in Montreal in March. Out of the final 50 candidates, a total of 20 will be named McCall MacBain Scholars. They’ll have their master’s program tuition and fees covered, plus receive a living stipend of $2,000 per month and a relocation grant. That’s valued at between $60,000 and $70,000.
“It was surprising to be honest … it was really cool to sort of be counted among that group,” said Pitre. “I certainly didn’t expect to make the finals, to be honest, but I got the call and that was really exciting and unexpected.”
Pitre, who graduated from Rothesay Netherwood School in 2018, is currently at Mount Allison University, studying philosophy, politics and economics. She serves as editor-in-chief of the university’s independent student newspaper, contributes to the Atlantic Journal of International Studies and works part-time as a teaching assistant at Mount Allison. She intends to study political science for her master’s degree.
“I feel grateful to be selected as a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarship. The other students I met during the first round of interviews were inspiring, smart and kind. It is such an honour to be counted among them,” said Pitre.
To get to this point, Pitre said it was because of a mix of hard work and a lot of luck. She said she’s lucky with school funding at this point and understands the value of that as well.
“Being able to really focus on school is a privilege and I’d really like to be able to do that again into grad school,” said Pitre. “There’s a lot of people that have much heavier financial burdens when it comes to their education. I got really lucky because I’ve been able to put a lot of focus on it for the past eight or so years.”
Clow, who graduated from Fredericton High School in 2018, is currently studying for his bachelor of arts degree in mathematics at St. Francis Xavier University, where he’s expected to graduate this year. He’s volunteered for three years with the X-Project, a student society offering educational assistance, recreational activities and leadership programs for African Canadian and Mi’kmaw youth.
“During graduate studies, I hope to continue my research in pure mathematics,” Clow said. “Attempting to better understand the phenomena across our daily lives that often go unnoticed. Be they in our computers, social media, or traffic, I am fascinated by studying the general patterns which bind us all together.”
Sutherland, who is from Nova Scotia, is studying at the University of New Brunswick toward a bachelor of arts and science degree. She helped create Girls STEM UP, a conference of female-identifying students interested in pure science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She also plays on the UNB women’s rugby team and spent two summers working as a field technician for the Canadian Rivers Institute. She hopes to pursue a mater’s degree in biology or animal science.
Nearly 700 students applied for the McCall MacBain Scholarship, going through interviews that considered character, community engagement, leadership potential and entrepreneurial drive, along with academic strength.
If not selected as a McCall MacBain Scholar, each student is eligible to receive at $10,000 finalist award.