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‘Path to my dreams’

Joyce Family Foundation bursary creating conditions for success

Campus and Community

By Lisa Pendergast

Adrianna Warren has encountered a great deal of adversity in her life.

However, thanks to a strong work ethic, positive attitude and the help of the Joyce Family Foundation Bursary, the second-year Memorial University student is rising above that adversity and exploring opportunities that she once believed were out of reach.

‘Blessed by the altruism’

“The uplifted feeling from being offered such a great deal of support is one that I will never forget,” said Ms. Warren.

“I’m sure that any student that has benefitted from philanthropic support knows exactly that feeling. I want to extend the greatest thank you possible on behalf of myself and every single student that has been blessed by the altruism of Mr. Joyce and the foundation.”

The Joyce Family Foundation, created by Canadian entrepreneur Ron Joyce, presented Memorial with a $5 million gift in 2014 to create a bursary for students demonstrating critical financial need and experiencing other obstacles beyond their control.

The child of a single parent home, Ms. Warren has experienced financial struggles and housing insecurity in her young life. University was always a goal, however.

“This bursary has changed my life.” — Adrianna Warren

She’s been working two, sometimes three, part-time jobs to help with bills and save for her education since her high school years, volunteering and participating in student leadership activities all the while.

Mr. Joyce says the foundation is pleased to offer this support to students who want to pursue higher education at Memorial.

“Education has the ability to open doors for those with determination to share their talents and skills in society,” said Mr. Joyce.

Memorial students eligible

The bursary is available annually to students entering Memorial University who are in their final year of high school or have graduated within the last 12 months from a high school in Newfoundland and Labrador. Each award is valued at $5,000 annually and is renewable for up to three additional years.

Students must commit to working with a mentor throughout their program of study, who will provide guidance and support to the recipients as they transition from high school to university life. In their second year of studies at Memorial, recipients are also offered on-campus employment opportunities.

Adrianna Warren, back row, third from left, with other scholarship recipients from 14 universities and colleges across Atlantic Canada who have received support from the Joyce Family Foundation. Ron Joyce is seated at centre.
Photo: Submitted

During the 2018 fall semester, Ms. Warren took advantage of a position in the Faculty of Medicine through Memorial’s Undergraduate Career Experience Program (MUCEP).

She credits the experience with providing a key credential for the recent application she successfully submitted to the Research Internship in Science and Engineering program in Germany.

“I am so excited about this opportunity — it’s a perfect fit for me,” said Ms. Warren.

“It’s partially funded by the German Academic Exchange Service and I’ve been lucky to find an internship that concentrates on the biochemistry of the eyeball. Last year I declared my major in cell and molecular biology with a minor in biochemistry, and I am loving my courses. My plan after Memorial is to do further study in optometry — it’s something I am really passionate about.”

‘Freedom to choose’

Ms. Warren credits the Joyce Family Foundation Bursary for creating a turning point in her life.

The fact that tuition and a portion of her housing costs are taken care of has also made the upcoming internship in Germany possible – giving her the flexibility to allocate work savings for the experience instead of living expenses.

“I’m 100 per cent on the path to my dreams and when I stop and think about it, it’s like, oh my goodness, this bursary has changed my life,” said Ms. Warren.

“It’s a situation where I’ve been given the freedom to choose my own direction, but the Joyce Family Foundation has made it possible to get on that path.”

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