The first recipients of a unique scholarship are set to graduate

Convocation 2024

The first recipients of a unique scholarship are set to graduate

Queen’s will soon be celebrating the first graduates of the Promise Scholars program, a comprehensive access initiative for local, first-generation students.

By Andrew Willson, Senior Communications Officer

June 14, 2024


Promise Scholar graduate Reem Gharib

Reem Gharib started at Queen's as a member of the first cohort of Promise Scholars in 2020 and is set to graduate this June. (Zainab Gharib)

Queen’s University is getting ready for convocation, and this year’s ceremonies will be a milestone for an important access initiative. The first two graduates of the Promise Scholars program, which provides comprehensive supports to local, first-generation students, will be donning their caps and gowns and crossing the stage to receive their bachelor’s degrees.

Reem Gharib, who recently completed the commerce program, is one of the Promise Scholar graduates. Gharib grew up in Kingston and started at Queen’s in fall 2020. As she gets ready to finish her undergraduate experience, she is looking back on how much she’s grown over the past four years.

“Being a Promise Scholar has been a transformative experience and it was truly an honour to be part of the first cohort of the program,” says Gharib. “I was able to pursue my dream program because of this scholarship. I know I’m never going to forget the opportunities it’s given me.  The support that my fellow scholars and I received through the scholarship is unmatched. From academic to career support, the Promise Scholars program has really helped me in my four years and removed a lot of barriers, which helped reduce the stress of being a student.”

All Promise Scholars receive academic and career support in addition to four years of funding of $60,000-$100,000 (depending on program) that enables scholars to graduate loan free with no repayable debt. Queen’s connects Promise Scholars with guidance even before they start their studies by enrolling them in QSuccess, a mentorship program that pairs a first-year student with an upper-year student mentor.

Gharib credits QSuccess with helping her adjust to university, especially amid the uncertainties of the pandemic. She appreciated the mentorship she received so much she decided to become a QSuccess mentor herself to help first-years starting after her.

Gharib played an active role in other campus groups as well throughout her time as an undergraduate, getting involved in the Smith Commerce Society, Queen’s Women in Leadership Club, and The Agency, a student-run marketing organization.

“Taking part in extracurriculars really enriched my experience at Queen’s,” says Gharib. “They gave me opportunities to learn different skills and lead teams, which I know will serve me well in the workplace. And they also allowed me to make a tangible impact on the Queen’s community. I think it’s really important for students to be able to leave university feeling like they’ve made a difference for other students, and I’ve been able to do that at Queen’s.”

Now Gharib is preparing to begin a full-time job at an insurance company in Kingston. Looking to the future, she hopes to one day take on a leadership role in the workplace and maybe start a company of her own, building on the skills she has acquired from running her own photography business.

Background of Promise Scholars program

Queen’s announced the creation of the Promise Scholars program in 2019 and admitted the first students in 2020. Five awards are available each year, and there are currently 16 Promise Scholars enrolled at the university.

“When we created the Promise Scholars program and admitted our first students, we looked forward to seeing them cross the stage at their convocation,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “Now we are thrilled to see student-recipients fulfill their educational goals and move on to the next chapter of their lives with the skills and experiences they have developed at Queen’s, ready to make an impact in their communities. We are very proud of them and look forward to seeing what they achieve next.”

Learn more about the Promise Scholars Program on the Office of the University Registrar’s Financial Aid and Awards website.

Reduced Inequality