VIU students like Jenna McColman, right, are starting their education with fewer financial worries thanks to the President’s Scholars program. With McColman are VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson and Rob Grey, VIU Foundation Board Chair.

September 27, 2018 - 3:30pm

The VIU President’s Scholars program awarded 25 top high school scholars, as well as six students entering their third year of studies at VIU, full-tuition scholarships this year. 

From protecting BC’s natural resources; to encouraging people to lower their carbon footprints; to helping people learn and recover from illnesses and injuries, the latest round of President’s Scholars at Vancouver Island University (VIU) have lofty dreams to make an impact on the world.

VIU awarded 31 full-tuition scholarships to students through the President’s Scholars program, which includes entrance scholarships for outstanding Aboriginal students and top high school students on the Island, top scholar-athletes, and continuing scholarships for top VIU students entering their third year of studies at the University. The President’s Scholarship program, which began in 2008, is intended to encourage and support top high school scholars to complete their undergraduate degrees at VIU.

Many of the scholars have a specific career in mind, as well as ways they want to give back to community once they finish their education. Maria Clemotte, who graduated from Nanaimo Christian School last June, plans to get a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology, then pursue a Post-Baccalaureate Degree in Education. With her education, she plans to teach part-time and run an online education business part-time.

“I want to educate people on the psychology behind learning so they can apply it to their daily lives, be it in school or work,” says Clemotte. “I hope I can eventually travel and speak to students, as well as write a book about this. In my spare time, I would like to start a local charity that not only provides temporary shelter, food and basic necessities for the homeless, but also serves their pets. I think this type of charity could result in more people seeking out the help they need.”

More than 280 students have benefitted from the President’s Scholarship program since its inception. The new scholars were welcomed at a special recognition event on Wednesday, September 26.

“VIU places a strong focus on providing rich, experiential learning opportunities for students – a focus that received international recognition this year when we became a finalist for Advance HE’s Global Teaching Excellence Award,” says VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson. “It’s exciting to see the number of top scholars in the region choosing to stay on the Island for their education, recognizing the calibre of teaching and learning that goes on here.”

Clemotte says a major advantage of going to VIU is the smaller class sizes, which make learning more personalized.

“I’m also excited to spend one semester in another country with VIU’s Study Abroad program,” she adds.

Jillian Bjarnason, a third-year Bachelor of Natural Resource Protection student who hopes to work as a compliance and enforcement officer for the public service, also enjoys the small class sizes at VIU.

“Being part of a group where everyone has similar goals leads to a supportive, competitive and co-operative cohort,” she says. “Field trips have been a highlight of my time at VIU so far. A trip to Tofino, coupled with the camaraderie of my classmates, resulted in this being one of the happiest and most treasured moments in my life so far. Furthermore, having truly inspirational professors teaching material they are passionate about makes learning fun and easy.”

For more information on the scholarships, awards and bursaries available at VIU, please visit Financial Aid.




Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Student Success

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