McGill welcomes eight new Loran Scholars 

Hailing from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, McGill's eight newest Loran scholars are recipients of Canada’s largest and most comprehensive undergraduate merit-based award
Top row, l to r: Bianca Matthews, Geneviève Doiron, Ryan Brown and Kim Lefort. Bottom row, l to r: Laura Doyle Péan, Leon Picha, Jaime Little and Ta’Ziyah Jarrett

From over 5,000 applicants, and among 88 finalists, eight Loran Scholars from the class of 2019 have chosen to begin their undergraduate studies at McGill this autumn. Ryan Brown of Owen Sound, Ontario; Geneviève Doiron of Bedford, Nova Scotia; Laura Doyle Péan of Quebec City, Quebec; Ta’Ziyah Jarrett of North York, Ontario; Kim Lefort of Canmore, Alberta; Jaime Little of Fredericton, New Brunswick; Bianca Matthews of Brampton, Ontario; and Leon Picha of Delta, British Columbia, are recipients of Canada’s largest and most comprehensive undergraduate merit-based award.

Established in 1988, the Loran Scholars Foundation invests in what it calls “Canada’s greatest resource – our youth.” The national charity works in partnership with universities, donors and volunteers throughout the country to support young people who demonstrate strength of character, commitment to service and leadership potential. The foundation looks for qualities in Loran Scholars that a transcript alone cannot show — integrity, courage, compassion, determination, entrepreneurial spirit and a high level of personal autonomy — and invests in these students to study and realize their potential on Canadian university campuses.

“To me, being a Loran Scholar means having a keenness to develop oneself, even when it is uncomfortable, and taking meaningful risks,” Lefort says.

Jarrett adds, “It’s a unique and fulfilling opportunity in which I have been given a framework that will help me maximize my potential as a professional, as a leader, and as a person.”

Loran Scholars receive a renewable four-year award valued at over $100,000 comprising an annual $10,000 living stipend and matching tuition waiver from one of the foundation’s 25 partner universities; up to $10,000 in funding for tri-sectoral summer internships (enterprise, public policy and community development); one-on-one mentorship; and the opportunity to connect with other high-potential youth through scholar gatherings.

Each of the eight new McGill Loran Scholars bring their unique talents and perspectives to campus. They embody Loran’s values of character, commitment to service, and long-term leadership potential, as demonstrated by their contributions and initiatives.

  • Ryan Brown (McCall MacBain Loran Scholar ’19) organized his small town’s first pride parade and was actively involved with his community theatre. He served as the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association’s Public Board President and as a student trustee for the Bluewater District School Board. When reflecting on his choice of school, Brown says, “McGill’s academic reputation, location and distance from home make it an exciting opportunity.” He is currently studying International Development Studies.
  • Geneviève Doiron (Rebanks Family Loran Scholar ’19) was treasurer of Charles P. Allen High School’s student council and sat on a provincial youth council. She was a program volunteer with Special Olympics and started a lunch-hour buddy program for students with special needs. Doiron is a long-time soccer player and worked as a counsellor at a French-language summer camp. “McGill seems to understand the importance of interdisciplinary education to gain the tools to tackle complex issues, so they offer really great programs that don’t limit your area of study! I’m passionate about a few things so I’m excited that McGill doesn’t force me into a box,” notes Doiron, who is studying Sustainability, Science, and Society.
  • Laura Doyle Péan (Loran Scholar ’19) oversaw communications and was the spokesperson for the local committee of EUMC Limoilou, which raised nearly $46,000 to sponsor student refugees and organized activities to raise awareness about forced migration. In addition to being a librarian and a poet, Doyle Péan was the secretary of the board of directors of TCMHNQ, which is responsible for Black History Month in Québec. They/them chose McGill for their unique BCL/LLB program: “I can now study Law with a transsystemic approach and evolve in a bilingual environment. I am excited to study here as this university and program will allow me to face new challenges and grow, not only as a student but also as a citizen and activist.”
  • While at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, Ta’Ziyah Jarrett (Scace Loran Scholar ’19) was the chair of the inaugural Equity Council. She worked as a member of the Racialized Communities Strategy at Legal Aid Ontario and has volunteered with the Midtown Toronto Youth Council. Jarrett had been an active member of her student council since the 11th grade, and played an integral role in planning her school’s annual charity week. What attracted her to McGill is its “rich history and diverse population of both the institution itself and of the city of Montreal.” Jarrett says, “I look forward to finding and cementing my place somewhere amongst the wide range of co-curricular activities available here” while she pursues her Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Kim Lefort (Loran Scholar ’19) attended UWC Atlantic College in Wales, United Kingdom, and was a founding member of the Feminist Club and leader of the Feminist Conference. She was an elected member of her school’s peace council, where she organized a march to raise awareness about the Rohingya Crisis. She taught theatre to children, volunteered at a senior home, and was a member of the board that organized a volunteering/action week at her school. Hailing from a small town, Lefort is excited to experience living in Montreal and the possibilities for international connectivity that the University offers: “I chose McGill to experience the city life, be in a bilingual environment, and study in an internationally-acknowledged institution which permits me to link with international students as well as future employers all over the world.” Lefort is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Jaime Little (Gucciardi Loran Scholar ’19) was the co-editor of Fredericton High School’s yearbook committee. She planned fundraising initiatives as a part of the school Safe Grad committee and played in the school concert and jazz band. Little volunteered with the school’s breakfast program and helped spread awareness about hunger. She also worked as a cashier at Walmart. “I chose McGill since it’s a very diverse institution known for its research and it has many programs in my areas of interest,” says Little, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree.
  • Bianca Matthews (Loran Scholar ’19) chaired a school board-wide leadership conference which promoted the acquisition of leadership abilities in high school students. She self-published her own poetic dossier surrounding mental health and advocated for the permanent implementation of mental health resources within Turner Fenton Secondary School. On why she chose McGill for Biological, Biomedical, and Life Sciences Studies, Matthews says, “I want to take this leap into a new environment because I’ve been living in the same city for all of my life. I haven’t been able to further my abilities and truly push my boundaries past my comfort zone. I needed to learn how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and McGill will give me exactly that.”
  • Leon Picha (McCall MacBain Loran Scholar ’19) held various roles while at Matthew McNair Secondary School, from being a vice-president of the student council to stage manager of Theatre McNair’s production of The Wizard of Oz. As a participant of McNair’s Mini School program, Picha upheld the program’s values of continuous social, physical, and academic development. He also spent his weekends working as a manager for McDonald’s Canada. “For a large part of my life I was told that McGill would always be a dream, never a reality. After that, it became a challenge: get into McGill and prove myself through my own actions and ambitions that anything is possible,” Leon reflects. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Commerce.

The scholars share an enthusiasm for getting involved and are inquisitive about the experiences that await them at McGill. As Little says, “I am excited to study with and learn from the unique people at McGill and I look forward to becoming involved in the numerous opportunities on campus and in the community.”

Of the 661 past and present Loran Scholars, 137 have attended McGill over the past three decades. Four became Rhodes Scholars:

  • Diane de Kerckhove (Loran Scholar ’92)
  • François Tanguay-Renaud (BMO Loran Scholar ’98)
  • Alexandra Conliffe (W. Garfield Weston Loran Scholar ’99)
  • Clare Lyle (Belzberg Loran Scholar ’14)