April 26, 2018

Students reflect on the importance of scholarship support

Meet some of the students who received scholarships as a result of our first-ever Giving Day
Clockwise, from top left: Thomas Coderre, Erika Born, Alicia Van Hyfte, and Andrew Woodill.

Clockwise, from top left: Thomas Coderre, Erika Born, Alicia Van Hyfte, and Andrew Woodill.

The University of Calgary’s Giving Day does far more than raise money for student scholarships and experiences — it impacts lives.

Launched in 2017, Giving Day calls upon the community, including UCalgary alumni, faculty, staff and friends, in support of UCalgary students. It’s all part of Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, UCalgary’s $1.3-billion fundraising effort — the most ambitious in its history.

The first-ever Giving Day saw more than $1 million raised from more than 1,300 donors, supporting the creation of 170 scholarships, including 120 new student awards. The goal for 2018 is even higher engagement, with a broadened focus on initiatives that benefit the student experience, including wellness, mental health and transformational learning opportunities.

The impact of last year’s Giving Day was felt almost immediately. Here are just a few stories from student recipients of these new scholarships and awards.

  • Andrew Woodill, after-degree Bachelor of Education

As a single father, Andrew Woodill’s dream of becoming a teacher was turning into a financial burden. He was faced with the reality of having to put his studies on hold indefinitely to focus on his family commitments.

“When I received the award email, I actually teared up reading it … I am so grateful and touched that someone invested in me,” he says. “I will repay this gratitude by helping another student become a teacher someday.”

  • Erika Born, concurrent Education and Natural Sciences

Thanks to scholarship support, Erika Born can get the most out of her UCalgary experience by exploring study abroad programs that immerse her in new cultures and new learning opportunities.

“These programs will take me to Belize for a biodiversity study, to India to volunteer in community development, and to Australia to volunteer as a teacher,” she says. “Receiving scholarships made it possible for me to explore these incredible opportunities.”

  • Alicia Van Hyfte, Marketing and Communications

For Alicia Van Hyfte, a Giving Day scholarship came at a time when it was needed most, allowing her to focus on her studies at the Haskayne School of Business while competing with the Dinos synchronized swimming team.

“Being a student doesn’t just mean attending university, going to class and walking out with a degree. Being a student involves learning what you’re passionate about and pursuing it,” she says. “Scholarships really validate that everything a student is putting into their university experience is worth the effort.”

  • Thomas Coderre, Bioinformatics major in Bachelor of Health Sciences program

Thankful for a Giving Day scholarship that will allow him to spend this summer as a member of UCalgary’s 2018 iGEM team, Thomas Coderre intends to show his appreciation through his research. As a member of the iGEM squad, he will seek targeted solutions to make gene therapy modifying DNA safer and more effective, benefitting not only the world of health care but also areas like agriculture and industrial manufacturing.

“Regardless of the size of their contribution, the intent to support this area of the development of the next generation of scientists or whatever profession plays an essential role in shaping what tomorrow looks like. I can only express my gratitude for their support,” he says. “It really is an essential incentive that drives students, and certainly myself, to perform at our best. It allows you to sort of unlock capabilities that you might not otherwise have unlocked.”

Learn more about how you can support UCalgary Giving Day 2018 by visiting ucalgary.ca/givingday.