McMaster students named finalists for McCall MacBain scholarship

Two side-by-side headshots of Abby Butler and Jessie Meanwell

Abby Buller (BEng’23) and Jessie Meanwell (BSc’23) are in the running for the McCall MacBain Scholarships, Canada’s first comprehensive leadership-based scholarship program for master’s and professional studies.

McMaster students Abby Buller (BEng’23) and Jessie Meanwell (BSc’23) are finalists for the first global cohort of McCall MacBain Scholars at McGill University.

The scholarships are the result of a landmark $200 million gift in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, the second-largest single donation in Canadian history. Designed to encourage purposeful leadership, the scholarships enable students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree while participating in mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development program.

Abby and Jessie are among 87 finalists chosen from across Canada and around the world after a first round of regional interviews. They will attend the final round of interviews in Montréal from March 8 to 12, meeting with leaders from academia, business, government, and the social sector.

Students and graduates from more than 1,200 universities applied for the McCall MacBain Scholarships in this first year of global admissions, and 242 participated in regional interviews with local leaders in October and November before the 87 finalists were selected. Up to 30 McCall MacBain Scholars will be selected after final interviews.

Meet McMaster’s finalists:

A headshot of Abby ButlerAbby Buller is an engineering physics student at McMaster University in Hamilton. She volunteered for the Faculty of Science welcome week for three years, competed on the junior varsity rowing team, and led a technical project for a healthcare research company during a co-op term. Abby now leads the software sub-team of the medical engineering design team and teaches weekly tap dance classes. She works part-time as a teaching assistant during the year. Eager to work on healthcare technology challenges, Abby is applying to start a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill.

“I feel very fortunate to have been chosen as a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarships,” said Abby. “I have already met so many incredible people through this opportunity and know that I am in great company. I look forward to meeting the other finalists in Montreal!” 

A headshot of Jessie MeanwellA mathematics student at McMaster University, Jessie Meanwell makes free educational math videos and serves as vice-president academic of the mathematics and statistics student society. She has led high school outreach workshops, volunteered as a homework helper at a community health centre, and contributed to several other campus groups. Jessie also worked part-time to build an inclusive program for incoming first-year math students and worked as a camp counsellor. After graduating, Jessie plans to pursue a master’s degree in mathematics or education.

“If this opportunity excites you, try not to let the imposter syndrome win,” said Jessie as advice to other McMaster students. “I felt unqualified at first, but I took the time to reflect on what I’d done and what I’m passionate about. You have more to offer than you realize — go for it!” 

“McGill, Montréal, Québec, and Canada attract talented students from all over the world,” said John McCall MacBain, Chair of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “Our aim is to provide a life-changing opportunity for students who have a track record of contributing to their communities and a genuine desire to make a positive impact.”

“Our committees were delighted to receive great interest from all corners of the world,” said Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “More than 280 volunteers were involved in assessing candidates. They looked not only for academic strength, but for qualities like integrity, kindness, curiosity, and courage.”

If not selected as a McCall MacBain Scholar, both students are eligible to receive a $10,000 Canadian Finalist Award for studies at McGill.

Applications will open in June 2023 for September 2024 admission. Interested McMaster students are invited to attend an information session with Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships on February 15, 3:30 PM at Gilmour Hall 110.

RSVP here.

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