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Navigating her way

Loran scholar finds new home at Memorial University

By Janet Harron

For an 18-year-old from a small town, Jesalyn Tremblay certainly knows what she wants.

The 2018 recipient of the Loran Award for outstanding character, service and leadership joined Memorial University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences this fall and she’s already impressing senior administrators like Dr. Rob Shea of the Marine Institute.

Jesalyn Tremblay with Shona Perry-Maidment, Memorial University’s deputy registrar and Dr. Rob Shea, associate vice president (academic and student affairs), Marine Institute.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“LORAN is an abbreviation for long-range aid to navigation, a term used for finding one’s way in the air or on the sea,” said Dr. Shea.

“Jesalyn’s choice of Memorial University, and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, indicates that she is a true explorer–unafraid of the challenges a new journey will bring and confident in the possibilities.”

“Newfoundland was always on my bucket list.” — Jesalyn Tremblay

Ms. Tremblay grew up in Meadow Creek, B.C., (pop. 100) and knew she didn’t want to go to university in a big city.

“For the Loran scholarship you have a list of 25 universities,” she explains. “I was looking over the list and noticed Memorial. I knew I wouldn’t do well in Toronto because I’m a country girl at heart and Newfoundland was always on my bucket list.”

Carving a path

The Loran Scholarship encourages students to get out of their comfort zone–so much so that recipients are not permitted to attend university in their own province.

“We think it is valuable to learn about a new region of Canada while carving out a new path in a new place,” said Heather Spratt, senior director of programs and operations for the Loran Scholars Foundation.

“Students who move away from home are forced to be more self-reliant as they form new relationships, negotiate their new environment and learn much about a new community. We also believe our scholars are excellent ambassadors for their home regions, so the learning is reciprocal.”

This year, out of a pool of 5,023 applicants across Canada, and among 88 finalists, 34 earned the Loran Award, marking the largest class of scholars in the foundation’s history.

Ms. Tremblay joins the ranks of three past Loran Scholars who chose to attend Memorial University over the past 30 years.

“To me, being a Loran scholar is everything; there’s no other way to explain it,” she said.

“Throughout the selections process and even to this day, Loran has encouraged me to realize my true potential as an individual and has continued to push me to go that extra mile, to try that new thing, and to no longer let fear hold me back. The Loran Award has given me pure, unwavering confidence. For this, I will be forever grateful.”

Great fit

The Loran Scholars Foundation put Ms. Tremblay in touch with Memorial’s deputy registrar Shona Perry-Maidment when she was first considering attending Memorial.

“Shona made my decision final,” Ms. Tremblay said. “She was so friendly and embodied everything I had read about Newfoundlanders.”

On her part, Ms. Perry-Maidment knew Ms. Tremblay would be a great fit from their first communication.

Jesalyn was organized, knew what she wanted and knew how to ask the right questions at the right times,” she said. “I can only imagine the impact she will have and can’t wait to see it unfold. Makes the work we do seem like anything but work!”

Unique qualities

The Loran Scholars Foundation, established in 1988, is a national charity that works in partnership with universities, donors and volunteers throughout the country to find and nurture the next generation of leaders of character: young Canadians who demonstrate integrity, commitment to service and leadership potential.

The foundation looks for qualities in Loran Scholars that a transcript alone cannot show—courage, compassion, determination, entrepreneurial spirit, and a high level of personal autonomy—and invests in these students to study and realize their potential at Canadian institutions.

Ms. Tremblay’s major is law and society; her ultimate goal is to become a rural health advocate.

“I lost both grandparents a year and four days apart and I believe this stemmed from a lack of resources in rural health care,” she said. “I want to stand up for others so they don’t have to go through what I did.”

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