Jake Breen visited Memorial University for a summer volleyball tournament when he was 13.
He liked the atmosphere in St. John’s and on campus and thought it would be a great place to live and study.
This fall Mr. Breen is coming back to Memorial, this time as science major.
Hannah Doyle has been accepted to the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
Both of Ms. Doyle’s parents are Memorial alumni, which was a big part of her decision to begin her university education here. That, and because Memorial has “an excellent reputation for engineering.”
Both first-year Memorial students are the recipients of Schulich Leader Scholarships, financial support that will cover their full university costs and then some.
Established in 2012 by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, the annual scholarship program encourages Canada’s most promising high school graduates to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines and become the next generation of innovators.
Since its inception, 570 Canadian students received the prestigious scholarship, valued at up to $100,000 each.
This year 100 Schulich Leader recipients were chosen from the 1,400 students nominated from across Canada.
Mr. Breen is from Cape Jack, N.S., and is a graduate of East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy.
As a teenager, Mr. Breen was already showing his leadership skills.
He started a bakery business called Gaga’s Goodies Galore in memory of, and named after, his grandmother, who passed away from cancer in 2016.
“My grandmother was always a lover of baking,” he said.
“She was ambitious and dedicated in everything she did, and when she set her mind to something, nothing could stop her.”
Mr. Breen’s ambitions indicate that he inherited some of his grandmother’s traits.
Throughout high school, he took advantage of every possible opportunity to become a better student and learner.
Besides his experience as an entrepreneur, he participated in the Shad program, a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) and entrepreneurship program for students in grades 10 and 11, and always lent a helping hand in his school and community through volunteer and extracurricular activities.
When Mr. Breen found out he’d be receiving the Schulich award, he says he was grateful and excited.
“I remember the day I received the phone call, I had to log off of my last online class of the day because I was shaking with excitement from the news.”
He says not having to worry about finances will change his university experience.
“This scholarship will give me freedom to focus on learning, through academic and extracurricular experiences, and to really get the best out of my time at university. It’ll also give me the chance to take advantage of special opportunities that come with the scholarship and to connect with others in the STEM community.”
Ms. Doyle is a graduate of Carbonear Collegiate.
“I am so thankful for this opportunity to pursue my dream,” she said.
“It is such an honour being acknowledged for my hard work and dedication with such a prestigious award. This scholarship will provide huge financial relief for me and my family in the coming years.”
One of the reasons Ms. Doyle qualified for the Schulich scholarship is her community work, which started early at the age of four when she helped with a Relay for Life and the N.L. Summer Games.
“Since then I have stayed an active member of my community. I have volunteered with Special Olympics, my church, my dance studio, local figure skating club and soccer association. I have also been very involved in my school community.”
Ms. Doyle also achieved academic excellence in high school, where she was valedictorian of her graduating class, and has had a lifelong drive to pursue a career in a STEM field.
“I chose engineering because I love math, physics, problem-solving and creating new things. I am super excited to start at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science in September.”