Meet McGill’s newest Loran Scholars

Four young leaders come to McGill as Loran Scholars, joining 129 current and former Scholars who have chosen to attend the University over the past 30 years
Clockwise from top left: Mariam Sabbah, Violette Drouin, Léa Papillon and Hugh Churchwell, McGill’s newest Loran Scholars.

Just a few weeks into her studies at McGill and Violette Drouin is full of high praise for her new school. “McGill is full of incredible opportunities, and from the moment I chose to study here, I knew it was the right place for me,” she says. “My classes are all wonderfully challenging, and the students I meet share my goal of making the world a better place. I cannot wait to spend the next four years learning, building and growing at McGill.”

Drouin is one of McGill’s four newest Loran Scholars. The others include Hugh Churchwell, Léa Papillon and Mariam Sabbah. This year, out of a pool of 5,023 applicants across Canada, and among 88 finalists, 34 earned the Loran Award, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive undergraduate merit award. Conferred by the Loran Scholars Foundation, the Awards reward young Canadians who demonstrate integrity, commitment to service and leadership potential. 

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); a dedicated mentor; and the opportunity to connect with other high potential youth via scholar gatherings. 

Churchwell, Papillon, Sabbah and Drouin join the ranks of 129 current and former Loran Scholars who have chosen to attend McGill over the past 30 years. Of those alumni, four have gone on to become Rhodes Scholars.

Léa Papillon

Léa Papillon (McCall MacBain Loran Award ’18) grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, and attended the École secondaire publique De La Salle.Papillon was the volleyball team captain, mental health club co-president and Ottawa Rowing Club co-captain. She founded the feminist club and led the collection of sanitary products for a homeless shelter. Papillon also served as a guide for her running club’s visually impaired runners.

Papillom is excited to be pursuing a BSc in Architecture. “I am eager to embark on my new journey at McGill, a school where I can thrive in my dream field of architecture and get involved in its lively community,” she says.

“As someone who was never distinguished in one single field, the Loran Award means so much to me, as it recognizes me for everything I do and everything I am,” she adds.

Hugh Churchwell

Although he’s a Canadian citizen, Hugh Churchwell (Loran Award ’18) has been living in Boambee, Australia, where he attended Coffs Harbour High School. Churchwell was the school captain and a volunteer bush firefighter. A multi-sport athlete, he ran track at state level, plays representative rugby and was a children’s running coach.

Churchwell founded his school’s Math Club and was a leader in the school band. He is also a Student Staff Leader for the National Youth Science Forum. At McGill, Churchwell is pursuing a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering. “I’m very grateful to be in one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America, studying at a world-class institution renowned for its academics and engagement in the community,” he says.

Mariam Sabbah

Mariam Sabbah (McCall MacBain Loran Award ’18) graduated from the École secondaire catholique L’Escale in Clarence-Rockland, Ontario. Sabbah is a Flight Sergeant with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and was a member of her school’s Free the Children club. She volunteered at a local elementary school, speaking to children about substance abuse, bullying and fitness. Sabbah helped organize and led track and field competitions at her school and founded a community cycling club. She is also a published writer.

“I chose McGill because it’s filled with intelligent young leaders trying to make the world a better place,” says Sabbah, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree. “It’s impossible not to be drawn into the energy and dynamics of the University.”

Violette Drouin

Violette Drouin (Young Fund Loran Award ’18) was raised in Truro, Nova Scotia where she graduated from the École acadienne de Truro. Drouin co-founded a sustainable development group and was a member of the Provincial Youth Council and the Fédération culturelle acadienne. As a youth reporter, she created videos and radio interviews highlighting the Acadian community. She worked as an instructor at a community center and is an equestrian.

“The Loran Award has given me a deep sense of responsibility,” says Drouin, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. “Responsibility to do well academically, but more importantly, to help build a better world.”