Feb. 9, 2022

UCalgary students recognized by McCall MacBain Scholarship program

Emilee Bews a national finalist, Max Brant wins regional award
Emilee Bews
Emilee Bews

University of Calgary student Emilee Bews, BA'22, is in the running for the McCall MacBain Scholarships, Canada’s first comprehensive leadership-based scholarship program for master’s and professional studies.

The scholarship enables students to pursue a fully funded graduate degree at McGill University while participating in an intensive leadership development program. McCall MacBain Scholars are matched with mentors, advisers and coaches who accompany them on their journey.

Bews will be among 50 Canadian finalists representing 28 universities at a final round of interviews from March 24 to 26. During the interviews, she will meet with leaders from academia, business, government, and the social sector. Final interviews are planned to take place in Montréal, with travel costs covered.

Rigorous selection process

Nearly 700 people applied for the McCall MacBain Scholarships this year, and 146 participated in regional interviews with local leaders in November before the 50 finalists were selected. Up to 20 McCall MacBain Scholars will be chosen after final interviews.

Finalists were chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity. They include aspiring dentists, engineers, entrepreneurs, community leaders, scientists, lawyers, policy-makers, doctors, public health specialists and more.

Bews is completing a Bachelor of Arts in English. Connecting with her Indigenous heritage, she volunteers as an Indigenous student peer mentor and has previously served on Calgary's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Committee. During the pandemic, she facilitated creative writing workshops and developed summer camp programs for elementary school students.

Bews developed team leadership skills at a young age, having been promoted to swing manager at McDonald's at age 18. She carries these skills throughout her studies and current role as the Indigenous librarian assistant at UCalgary. After she graduates, she aims to pursue a master's degree in education at McGill.

Empathy, integrity, courage

"There are many days where I catch myself thinking, wow," says Bews. "It feels incredibly rewarding to be named a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarships. I'm beyond grateful for the opportunities to share my passions while connecting with and learning from my fellow applicants."

I've been fortunate enough to work with and learn from several strong, brilliant women within the UCalgary community — all of whom have encouraged me to own my culture, follow my passions, challenge my abilities, and take risks in pursuit of the change I hope to see concerning Indigenous education and reconciliation.

“The McCall MacBain Scholarship finalists have demonstrated empathy, integrity and courage in a rapidly changing world,” says Natasha Sawh, dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships. “While their undergraduate experiences may have differed from what they initially expected, these students have dedicated their time and talents to a wide array of initiatives. They have distinguished themselves through their commitment to meaningful social change.”

The McCall MacBain Scholarship covers tuition and fees for the program of study, a living stipend of $2,000 per month, mentorship, coaching and leadership development opportunities.

Finalists who are not selected as McCall MacBain Scholars will be eligible for a $10,000 Finalist Award for their studies at McGill.

Max Brant

Max Brant.

Brant distinguishes himself, earns Regional Award

The McCall MacBain Scholarships program has also offered 30 Regional Awards of $5,000 each to promising candidates who distinguished themselves at regional interviews. University of Calgary student Max Brant, BSc'22, earned a Regional Award, which is tenable at any public university in Canada.

Brant developed his sense of ambition, dedication, and work ethic while training for three years as a long-track speedskater in the Olympic Oval program. He leads weekly recreational activities for residents at a seniors’ home, works part-time, and previously volunteered at a support centre for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. He has a keen interest in synthetic biology and aims to pursue a master’s degree in biotechnology or biological and biomedical engineering.

“It is truly an honour to receive this award from the McCall MacBain Foundation,” says Brant. “Time is a valuable resource and I believe it is important to make the most of it. Best of luck to everyone in their future endeavours!”

Young scholarship offers big rewards

While the scholarship program is only in its second year of existence, three University of Calgary graduates have already distinguished themselves through the selection process. Last year, Graham Bennett, BA’21, BHSc’21, and Cindy Zhang, BSc’21, were finalists for the scholarship. Winnica Beltrano, BHSc’21, earned a Regional Award.

The scholarships are the result of a landmark $200 million gift, which at the time was the largest single donation in Canadian history, by John and Marcy McCall MacBain. The scholarship program will expand internationally over the next decade, with nearly 300 McCall MacBain Scholars selected by 2030.

Applications for the first global cohort, comprising 20 Canadians and 10 international students, will open in June 2022 for September 2023 admission.