Three McMaster students in the running for global McCall MacBain Scholarships
Bianca Mammarella, Fei Mu and Amanda Round are finalists for Canada’s largest leadership-based scholarships for master’s and professional studies.
Three McMaster students are finalists for the McCall MacBain Scholarships, Canada’s largest leadership-based scholarships for master’s and professional studies.
The scholarships are the result of a landmark $200 million gift in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, then the 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 at McGill University while participating in mentorship, coaching and a leadership development program.
Bianca Mammarella, Fei Mu, and Amanda Round are among 91 finalists from around the world. More than 700 Canadians applied for the scholarships, and of those, 159 participated in a first round of regional interviews in November and December.
The three students will travel to Montreal to attend final interviews in March, with travel expenses covered by the scholarship program.
Each finalist was chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength and intellectual curiosity.
Bianca Mammarella, from Vaughan, Ontario, is enrolled in McMaster’s Integrated Science program. She co-founded a student group that offers cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training as well as a humanitarian aid club. Mammarella also provides peer support for students experiencing disability. She co-chairs a team of 80 students running an annual research conference, works part-time as a pharmacy assistant, and has been volunteering at an elementary school since 2018. Recently, she started advocating for expanded regulation of youth vaping. Mammarella plans to pursue a master’s degree in the medical sciences.
“I am thrilled to be moving on to the next step in this life-changing experience,” said Mammarella. “The individuals I have met through this process are some of the most passionate, driven and innovative folks I have connected with. It truly is a privilege to be part of such an amazing journey.”
Inspired by her volunteer experiences back in Taiwan, Bachelor of Health Sciences student Fei Mu joined an assisted physical training program for students with disabilities. After the COVID-19 lockdowns, she helped to revive and expand the program. Mu also led a team of peer sexual health educators at McMaster’s Student Wellness Centre, contributed to a health equity club and volunteered at a women’s shelter. She works as a community advisor in residence, supporting first-year students, and spent last summer conducting research on gender-affirming surgeries at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. Mu would like to pursue a Master of Science in Public Health at McGill.
“I feel excited, inspired, hopeful, nervous… so many feelings all at once,” said Mu. “I do know that I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity and my support system, I couldn’t have accomplished this without the people around me!”
Amanda Round, from King, Ontario is also studying integrated science at McMaster. She co-founded and helps run the university’s Humanitarian Organization Providing Empowerment (HOPE) chapter, supporting high school students with their transition to university and organizing wellness activities. Round also works as a project manager for an online education platform, where she created a university transition guide and is working to provide it to students and institutions across Canada, free of cost. On TikTok and Instagram, she creates content for students to improve access to education. Previously, she tutored students with learning disabilities and led a club building pollinator gardens. She is interested in pursuing a master’s degree to study human-environment interactions.
“I am guided by the philosophy that one should always leave things better than they’ve found it,” said Round. “To me, creating positive change is a personal duty and a collective responsibility that empowers others.”
For fellow students, Round added, “You have something to offer to the world, don’t let fear dwarf your potential. Get those reference letters together, be honest and true to yourself when answering questions, and submit that application! The fear of failure always pales in comparison to the regret of not trying.”
“Integrity, kindness, curiosity, and courage are the characteristics we want to see in the next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, Chair of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “By connecting emerging talent to an outstanding graduate education and a community of peers and mentors, we hope to encourage positive leadership for Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the world.”
“More than 300 senior volunteer leaders were involved in selecting this year’s finalists,” said Natasha Sawh, Chief Executive Officer of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “Our team is very much looking forward to welcoming the finalists – who have already distinguished themselves as the top candidates globally – to Montreal in March. We extend our warmest thanks to the universities that nominated them for this opportunity.”
A cohort of up to 30 McCall MacBain Scholars will be selected after final interviews. Canadian finalists who are not selected for the cohort will be eligible to receive a $10,000 Finalist Award.
Another McMaster student was among top candidates in the McCall MacBain Scholarships selection process. Political science student Daniella Chukwu earned a $5,000 McCall MacBain Regional Award, which may be applied to eligible studies at any public university in Canada.
Applications will open in June 2024 for the 2025 cohort. In addition to the 30 fully funded McCall MacBain Scholarships each year, up to 100 additional awards, valued at $5,000 to $20,000, are offered to candidates.
More information about the McCall MacBain Scholarships can be found at mccallmacbainscholars.org.
Interested McMaster students are invited to attend an information session with Natasha Sawh, Chief Executive Officer of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill and a McMaster student finalist on February 29 in Gilmour Hall, Room 110. RSVP here.