Meet the Wilson Leaders: Kylie Hopkins


Meet Wilson Leadership Scholar Kylie Hopkins.

In April, three accomplished students became the first recipients of the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award, a prestigious new award established to cultivate the country’s next generation of leaders. 

The awards, which include $50,000 to cover education costs over two years along with admission to an elite leadership development program, recognize students who demonstrate exceptional promise and potential.

The program is among the highest value undergraduate scholarships in the country.

Kylie Hopkins is a second year Nursing student with an extensive track record of working with youth in sport in both the Hamilton and McMaster communities.

In addition to volunteering with the Good Shepherd’s food bank, Hopkins has worked with kids as a karate instructor, coach and fitness co-ordinator. She even helped develop a more interactive, student-based program of activities for McMaster’s Sport Fitness School.

We asked Kylie about herself, the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award and who she looks up to as a leader:


Dundas, Ontario


3rd year Nursing

Describe yourself in a tweet:

I am often described as energetic, adventurous and very outgoing. I spend a lot of my time running in the trails surrounding McMaster and with friends and family.

Why did you come to Mac?

Originally, McMaster wasn’t on my radar of schools to apply for and enroll in. Mostly, because it was so close to my hometown of Dundas. I wanted to go away to have the “university experience.”

Regardless, I ended up applying to McMaster along with thirteen other schools for Nursing. I was sure I wanted to go into nursing but not sure what school in particular. I have spent most of my childhood training for track and field at McMaster, coming here for school tournaments, and working here as a coach at sports camp.

When I received my acceptance to McMaster in February of 2014, I trusted my intuition and immediately accepted before telling any family or friends. I realized that McMaster was home to me, I loved everything about it. I loved the school colours, campus and beautiful surrounding trails and waterfalls in Hamilton.

The nursing program here is one of the best in the country and I had the opportunity to be on the universities varsity track team. McMaster to this day gives me my university experience but most importantly gives me a sense of belonging and truly feels like home to me.

Why did you apply to become a Wilson Leader?

I received an email from my boss at McMaster Sport Fitness School which is a summer camp here at McMaster telling me that I should consider applying for the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award and that he would help me through the application process. Andrew Pettit is the Sports leagues and Camps Coordinator along with Maggie Cockburn the former Director of McMaster Sport Fitness School, and many others helped me become aware of this awards existence as well as mentored me throughout the application process.

After reading about the award and the leadership development program I was immediately intrigued. This program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I applied to be a Wilson Leader because leaders in my life thought I was capable of being a part of this program. They empowered me to go for this amazing opportunity which included mentorship, skill development and community action.

This leadership program has opened up possibilities in my life that I could have never imagined before this award.

What does being a “leader” mean to you?

I think leaders are individuals who believe in the development of others by teaching, supporting, and challenging others to become the best versions of themselves.

A leader is one that is continuously self-reflective and is relentlessly motivated to become successful. Leaders are role models who inspire others by their resiliency and unwavering dedication to strive towards a common goal in order to achieve group success.

Who do you look up to as a leader and why?

Terry Fox is someone I look up to as a leader because of his dedication and hope. I remember the first time I learned about Terry’s story how amazed I was of his courage. I think as a runner, the story did captivate my attention but his leadership qualities are undeniable.

Even during the hardest times of his life, he looked to the future. He never gave up, he ran until he could not take another step. He saw the impact that he made on people and inspired others to fight for not only his battle with Cancer but to this day his legacy and courage lives on as his story raises awareness and donations for people all over the world fighting against cancer.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Wilson Leader?

Over the next two years as a Wilson Leader I want to take in each and every learning experience this program offers me to make me not only a better leader but a better citizen of Hamilton and Canada.

I hope to be able to take what I learn and apply my learning to our community project, so we can have a positive impact on Hamilton.

I want to discover more about my passions, and interests for the future so I can dive into new challenges and accomplish tasks I never thought I would have the chance to.

Why should someone apply to become one of the next year’s Wilson Leaders?

If there is even a small chance that you could be chosen as a Wilson Leader, which is true for each and every application, then why not apply.

If you are interested in becoming mentored by successful individuals in your field, or you want to narrow down what your future career interests are then apply for this scholarship. If you want to make a change in your community, and want the opportunity to be tapped into support then just apply.

I believe that if you want to become the best version of yourself, be a role model to others and develop your skills as a leader, then you should take this chance. There is nothing to lose, so put yourself out there, and go for it. Trust me, it will be worth it.