McCall MacBain Scholarships Finalists

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

McCall MacBain finalists

University of Waterloo students Sean Murray (BEng'22) and Jaylen Stark (BA'22), as well as graduate Anastasia Jaffray (BAS'21), are 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, advisors, and coaches who accompany them on their journey.

Sean, Jaylen, and Anastasia will be among 50 Canadian finalists representing 28 universities at a final round of interviews from March 24 to 26. During the interviews, they 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.

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.

Mechanical engineering student Sean Murray leads a subteam of the biomechatronics design team at UW. His team aims to create an assistive glove for a quadriplegic patient. Sean is also working to develop a robot that solves Rubik’s cubes, which would complement an educational platform. He led the mechanical design of an easy-to-build ventilator prototype, as part of the Code Life Ventilator Challenge, and previously volunteered at a bird sanctuary.

Sean spent last summer working as a mechanical designer for a new x-ray imaging product. He aims to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical or mechanical engineering at McGill, with an interest in developing rehabilitation and assistive technologies for people with disabilities.

"All the candidates I’ve met have been such impressive young people, so it’s really encouraging to be a part of this group of finalists," said Sean.

He credits UW’s co-op program with providing him with opportunities for professional skill development and personal growth. "The school emphasizes an entrepreneurial spirit and leadership qualities. I think all those tools have been really helpful during this process.”

Jaylen Stark transferred to UW in 2020, after beginning his undergraduate studies in Toronto. He co-led a spoken word club at his previous university and helped run the cognitive science and artificial intelligence student association. Jaylen also worked several part-time jobs during his studies, joined the Royal Ontario Museum Indigenous youth council, and directed an a cappella group’s set for an international competition. After completing his Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Studies and Communication at UW, Jaylen plans to pursue a Master of Public Policy or a Master of Arts in Education and Society at McGill.

Architectural Studies graduate Anastasia Jaffray is currently employed at an architecture firm in Toronto focusing on affordable housing, healthcare, and educational projects. As an undergraduate research assistant, she assisted a professor in managing and hosting the Buildings Workshop online course and independently led the course during a transitional period. Anastasia also contributed to a student design challenge, where her team drew attention to issues of housing affordability and quality on reserves. This year, she is a graduate design advisor for the team. She would like to enter the Professional Master of Architecture program at McGill, aiming to explore the connections between community-driven design, healthcare, and urbanism.

“The McCall MacBain Scholarship finalists have demonstrated empathy, integrity, and courage in a rapidly changing world,” said 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.

The McCall MacBain Scholarships program has also offered 30 Regional Awards of $5,000 each to promising candidates who distinguished themselves at regional interviews. UW student Mackenzie Vallee (BSc'22) earned a Regional Award for master’s or professional studies at any public university in Canada.

While the scholarship program is only in its second year of existence, three UW graduates have already distinguished themselves through the selection process. Nathan Duarte (BASc'21) was chosen as an inaugural McCall MacBain Scholar last year. In addition, Matthew Gerrits (BKI’21) and Laurie Haig (BPH’20) received Regional Awards.

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.