Meet some of the McCall MacBain Scholarship finalists

Scholarships enable students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree while participating in mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development program

As announced earlier today, 91 exceptional students from across Canada and around the world have been chosen as finalists for the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. These 91 exceptional students will arrive in Montreal in March to interview for the scholarships. Some will be travelling from far away, including Brazil, Ecuador, Kenya, Mongolia, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tunisia.

The result of a landmark $200 million gift in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, the McCall MacBain Scholarships are designed to encourage purposeful leadership, the scholarships enable students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree while participating in mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development program.

Meet a few of the finalists:

Hannah Ayamba

Education: University of Ghana (BA’22)

Hometown: Ga East, Ghana

Hannah works as a talent acquisition analyst for SEO Africa, a non-profit organization in Accra. She recently graduated from the University of Ghana as valedictorian of the College of Education, where she was involved as a course representative. Hannah serves as vice-president of the African Youth for Education and Empowerment Foundation, a charitable project she co-founded in 2015 to empower youth in her community, and as a finance committee member for the Evangelical Church of Ghana. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in sociology, with a focus on gender and women’s studies.

“I am extremely honoured and privileged to be a finalist for the prestigious McCall MacBain scholarship. I feel fulfilled seeing all my hard work and impactful activities recognized. This will be a launchpad to multiply the impact of my community engagement endeavours.”

“I am a development-oriented individual who prioritizes giving back to society, motivated by my upbringing and success in overcoming the challenges I’ve faced. I seek to replicate and champion this journey by empowering the youth, especially young girls in my community, to improve their life outcomes.”

Juan Francisco Escalante Villar

Education: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (BMgt’21)

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Juan recently graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) with a bachelor’s degree in public management. He works at Peru’s National Council for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities, a government and civil society organization, where he co-authored research on disability representation in news media and led the renovation of a major website. Juan volunteers with a public service research group as well as with professors in management epistemology and organizational theory. He recently completed an internship with a non-governmental organization in Austria, and he will enter the Master of Public Policy program at McGill in 2024.

“This is like a dream — the one you wake up from and still remember! The process has been challenging but enriching and a value in itself. I am excited to get to meet and learn from other finalists soon.”

“I trust the Master of Public Policy at McGill will give me the chance to use policy knowledge not only within the public sector but with and from any organization. I am also willing to talk about disability rights with a diverse international community with whom we can build better strategies.”


Education: IBA Karachi (BSc’24)

Hometown: Quetta, Pakistan

Rahima is an economics student at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. She has been volunteering for several years with a Hazara student group, helping more than 100 marginalized students with university admissions counselling. Rahima also contributed to a flood relief program and served on the board of the school’s community welfare society, leading charitable initiatives. She worked part-time during her studies and recently started a project supporting women entrepreneurs in Balochistan. Rahima is applying to several master’s programs with the goal of contributing to Pakistan’s policy-making and agricultural economy.

“Being a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarships makes me feel so proud and special. Knowing how competitive the selection has been so far, and how this opportunity will enable me to study at McGill with a full scholarship, keeps me optimistic for the future.”

“Most of my volunteer work has been mostly in the community, particularly for students and women. The motivation to advocate for underrepresented voices of women and students always came from the challenges that I had from during my journey, and my dedication to not let anyone else go through them.”

Hedi Jaza

Education: Lebanese American University (BSc’24)

Hometown: Bizerte, Tunisia

Hedi is studying mathematics at Lebanese American University as a Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) scholar. He facilitates a live broadcasting club, volunteers with a non-profit organization as a mathematics tutor and supervisor, and serves as a teaching assistant for math courses at his university. Hedi also founded the North African student society, participates in his scholarship program’s leadership and debate committees, and contributed to a machine learning research project. He envisions pursuing a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics to highlight and address the needs of marginalized communities.

“Volunteering on campus and in my community allows me to put my skills in mathematics and computer science into practice and make a social impact. As a MEPI scholar, I am passionate about using education to empower others and address issues in marginalized communities, whether through tutoring, mentorship, research, or club leadership.”

Jean Kagame

Education: McGill University (BSW’19)

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Jean is a social worker for CISSS de la Côte-Nord, an integrated health and social services centre. He previously worked for the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, in northern Quebec, where he lived for three years. He volunteers as a personal support worker for the elderly and co-leads a social enterprise producing and purifying water for rural communities in Malawi. During his undergraduate studies at McGill as a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, Jean organized an annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and led the African students’ society. He also led an intramural volleyball team. Jean has been admitted to law school at McGill, and hopes to pursue a career promoting human rights and legal inclusion in East Africa.

“Being chosen as a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarship is an incredible honour. So far this journey has helped me to reflect and rethink my goals.”

Harley Martin

Education: Concordia University (BA’24)

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Harley worked in forestry for 10 years and is now a history student at Concordia. As general coordinator of the student union, he works with the executive team, staff, and other community members to advocate for student rights and implement council directives. Two key initiatives Harley is overseeing are the planning and development process for a new student centre and the implementation of two new mental health services for students. He also serves as treasurer of a solidarity cooperative and previously volunteered at a community centre and at a shelter. Harley aims to study law or public policy at McGill.

“My university experience both in and out of the classroom has led me to interact with a great variety of ideas, people, and subjects, which has strengthened my ability to work within a team in an interdisciplinary format to analyze and solve relevant community issues.”

Samantha Nepton

Education: McGill University (BEd’23)

Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Sam works as a homeroom teacher with the English Montreal School Board, supporting students with cognitive disabilities. She recently graduated from McGill University with a bachelor’s degree in education, and spent last summer interning with the IMPRESS Indigenous summer research program. During her studies, Sam served as the first equity commissioner of the Education Undergraduate Society, facilitated activities for children at a foster home, and played clarinet in the symphonic band. During an exchange term at the University of Adelaide, she participated in a comedy club. Sam plans to pursue a master’s degree in education or public policy.

“I have learned so much in just the past year from incredibly talented people and the positive impacts they are making in their communities. I want to be able to do the same – be it in teaching, curriculum development, policymaking, or wherever I end up. Ultimately I think I want to keep learning from and with like-minded people who can help me reach my personal and professional goals.”

“To other students: Even if you’re just a tiny bit interested, apply! Even if the deadline is fast approaching, apply (and be super nice to your references for helping out last minute)! You don’t need to have the perfect, most ‘stereotypical’ experiences to be successful.”

Coralie Tcheune

Education: University of British Columbia (BSc’24)

Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Coralie is a biomedical engineering student at the University of British Columbia (UBC). As co-captain of the Biomedical Engineering Student Team, she co-founded an annual career networking event and leads high school outreach. Coralie also leads her department’s student association and worked to launch an application to improve healthcare access for non-English speakers. She also served as vice-president of the engineering undergraduate society, organized two medical supplies fundraisers, and volunteered at a long-term care home. Coralie would like to study biological and biomedical engineering at McGill.

“I felt a mix of honour, excitement, and relief when I heard I’d be heading to Montreal as a finalist. More than anything, I’m excited to meet the other finalists; I love surrounding myself with ambitious young leaders who bring fresh and diverse perspectives.”

“In grade 7, we had a small version of “Carnaval de Québec” where I tried maple syrup taffy made by pouring maple syrup over crushed ice. Although I hate the cold, I hope it’s snowing so I can have Québec-style maple syrup taffy fresh off a pile of snow!”

Noémie Veilleux

Education: Université du Québec à Montréal (B. A. 2024)

Hometown: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Noémie is a sexology student at Université du Québec à Montréal, and a sexual violence prevention specialist at Collectif social, a Quebec non-profit organization. Over the last few years, she coordinated the francophone activities of a pan-Canadian sexual and gender-based violence prevention plan on post-secondary campuses and, through her role as an intern with the Quebec Ministry of Higher Education, contributed to the implementation of the Quebec action plan to prevent and counter sexual violence in higher education establishments. Her research activities are marked by a desire to see tangible community impacts. Noémie volunteers with the Association des sexologues du Québec. Previously, she served as president of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec and was an administrator of Forum jeunesse de l’Île de Montréal.

“For my master’s, I’d like to strengthen my understanding of sexual victimization. I aspire to study in a field related to sexology, where I can gain specialized knowledge and a deeper understanding of this social issue. I would also like to develop tangible leadership skills, which the scholarship program would make possible.”

“This unique process gives you the opportunity to reflect on the path you’ve taken and the one ahead. It has helped me think about my personal, professional and academic motivations on a deeper, more human level. Whether or not I’m awarded the scholarship, I’ll come out of this process grateful for what it has brought me as a person.”

See the full list of finalists



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