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Recognizing student leadership

Three Queen’s students are finalists for McCall MacBain Scholarships, which provide comprehensive funding for master’s and professional studies.

Three Queen's students are among 50 finalists for the inaugural McCall MacBain Scholarships, Canada’s first comprehensive leadership-based scholarship for master’s and professional studies.

In March, Nicole Osayande, Mikyla Callaghan, and Rhianna Hamilton will participate with peers from 28 universities in virtual final interviews with Canadian leaders from academia, business, government, and the social sector.

The scholarship enables students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program. Finalists were chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity.

“Queen’s students are known for their passionate leadership, and I am pleased to see that Nicole, Mikyla, and Rhianna are finalists for the McCall MacBain Scholarships. These three students exemplify the Queen’s spirit and will undoubtedly go on to be leaders in their fields and communities,” says Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green.

Over 735 people applied, and up to 20 McCall MacBain Scholars will be chosen after the final interviews. Finalists who are not selected will be eligible for a $10,000 entrance award for their studies at McGill University.

Ms. Callaghan (BSc’21) says she appreciates how Queen’s provided her with opportunities and an environment for personal growth.

“The engaging campus community inspired me to pursue my interests outside of the classroom through extracurricular, volunteer and research activities. My undergraduate experience taught me how to challenge and believe in myself, and how to turn my passions into valuable change,” she said.

By pursuing a master’s degree, she hopes to discover new ways to become an advocate and leader in global health equity research. “I am particularly interested in understanding structural and societal barriers that influence interactions within primary healthcare or education systems.”

The scholarships are the result of the 2019 landmark gift of $200 million (Canadian), the single-largest gift in Canadian history at that time, by John and Marcy McCall MacBain. The McCall MacBain Scholarships will expand internationally over the next decade, with nearly 300 McCall MacBain Scholars selected by 2030.

“There is no typical McCall MacBain Scholar,” said Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships. “We look for potential in students from all walks of life, with different academic and volunteer interests. What unites them is the inner drive to learn, lead, and make a positive impact in other people’s lives.”

Queen’s Finalists for the inaugural McCall MacBain Scholarships

Photograph of Nicole Osayande
Nicole Osayande

After hearing that she was the first student in her high school’s history to attend Queen’s, Nicole Osayande (BCmp’21) started a project to encourage other students of diverse backgrounds to consider applying to the university. She served as president of this project for three years, building a team of more than 30 students. Nicole also organized a campus-wide African, South American, and Caribbean culture “cook-out” for students and worked with a professor to build software modules for a hip replacement surgery tool. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical engineering.

Photograph of Mikyla Callaghan
Mikyla Callaghan

Mikyla Callaghan (BSc'21) leads a healthy cooking team on campus, helps manage a positivity club, and provides one-on-one mentoring support for other students. She also coaches children in a weekly afterschool program, feeling a personal connection to the cause. While studying Life Sciences, Mikyla held part-time jobs on campus and spent her summers working on research projects at the University of Calgary. She is applying for master’s programs in public health, family medicine, and educational psychology at McGill.


Photograph of Rhianna Hamilton
Rhianna Hamilton

Rhianna Hamilton (BA'21) co-edits the undergraduate political studies journal and helped organize an environmental education conference. Recently, she joined Greenovations, a group encouraging students and community members to adopt low-cost environmental solutions to problems, as its community outreach director. During her studies, Rhianna has worked part-time as a research assistant and website designer. She is applying for master’s programs in politics and public policy.