Congratulations to our 2018 scholarship award recipients!

Richard Haskayne Scholarship

 

The Richard Haskayne Scholarship is for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  It is an annual scholarship of $2500 and is awarded to four eligible Albertans with ASD who are pursuing post-secondary education, training or vocation. Applicants for this scholarship must submit a 250 word essay on “how being a student with ASD has impacted their education,” as well as their post-secondary program plans, volunteer activities, special interests, and accomplishments.

This year’s awards go to Cheyann Newman, Heather Lindsay, Justin Bleau, and Samantha Reynolds.

Cheyann Newman

Cheyann completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology Leadership in Pedagogy and Coaching in June 2018.  In the fall, 2018, she will begin a two-year education degree at the University of Calgary.

Attending post-secondary education presents several challenges for Cheyann: sensory overload, crowds, noise, a lack of personal space, large class sizes and sometimes a lack of understanding of ASD.  She copes with these stressors by utilizing strategies such as ear plugs, a hat, tutoring, sitting at the very front or back on the end rows, phoning her mother, and seeking medical advice.

In addition to her academic studies, she plays hockey for the Women’s Dinos Varsity Hockey Team. She has received the Academic All Canadian Award every year at the University of

Calgary. This award is only for varsity athletes with grades above a 3.5 GPA.  During the spring and summer she finds time to volunteer.  This past school year, she completed a practicum in a Grade 3 class teaching physical education and helping in other areas of the classroom.  In addition, she volunteers at a fitness facility.  She is also a certified coach through Hockey Canada and has been coaching for 6 years.  Her volunteer experience includes working with participants in Special Olympics and Alberta Sport and Recreation for the Blind.

Cheyann aspires to become a physical education teacher, personal trainer, and/or a coach who values all her students and athletes, regardless of their challenges.  She wants to help them to discover strategies that will enable them to enjoy their academic and athletic endeavors.

 Heather Lindsay

Heather is entering the fourth year of a five-year dual degree program at the University of Alberta: Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Conservation with a Human Dimensions in Environmental Management Major.  She will also be completing an Aboriginal Governance and Partnership Certificate.

Heather believes that having ASD has made her more resilient and adaptable.  Her accessibility advisor encouraged her to be tested for Irlen Syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome.  This is a visual perceptual processing disorder.  With this knowledge, she has developed strategies (e.g. coloured paper, special glasses, and visual tracking exercises) which enable her to read more efficiently.

Over the past two years, she has been involved with a social/peer support group for students with visible and non-visible disabilities. In addition, she is a member of the Dean of Student’s Advisory committee and acts as a student at large for her faculties’ student association.  She assists with the new student orientation for the Student’s Union.

Heather would like to work as a liaison between indigenous communities and groups that have an interest in resources extraction.

Justin Bleau

In September, 2018, Justin will be starting the second year of a four-year bachelor’s program in Registered Nursing at Mount Royal University (MRU), Calgary.

Justin finds group work and the social demands of school challenging but he is developing his social skills by learning through experience and by taking an interpersonal communications class.  He states an advantage to having ASD is his photographic memory.  Maintaining a healthy balance between school, life and work are extremely hard for him.  He mentioned that scholarships like this one are extremely helpful so that he can focus on his studies and not have to work at paid employment during school terms.

He is the President of Club N3rd at MRU.  He manages events, finances, memberships, and acts as a liaison with the student union association.  He recently received the President’s Honour Roll at Mount Royal University.

Justin would like to become a registered nurse and see where the profession takes him.  He has thoughts about working in a trauma centre or working with Doctors without Borders.

Samantha Reynolds

Samantha is entering the fourth year of a five-year Bachelor of Science (BSc, Biology) degree at the University of Calgary (U of C).

She was diagnosed with ASD as an adult. Before her diagnosis, her school years and attempts at post-secondary education were fraught with learning, social, and environmental struggles.  Finding out the diagnosis gave her an understanding of her lifelong struggles and helped her decide to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian.

In addition to her academic studies, Samantha works at a veterinary clinic and volunteers with a horse rescue organization. She is also an executive member of the Pre-Veterinary Students’ Association at the U of C.

In her final year of her BSc, Samantha plans to apply to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the U of C.  She would like to achieve a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine degree and practice as a rural mixed animal veterinarian.

 

Dr. Fraser Mustard Scholarship

 

The Dr. Fraser Mustard Scholarship for “Advancing Knowledge in the Field of Autism Spectrum Disorders” is an annual scholarship of $5,000. It is awarded to an eligible Albertan pursuing a post-secondary academic program in a field that supports and furthers the knowledge and/or research of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Applicants for this scholarship must submit a 750 word essay outlining why they are interested in the field of autism and their research experience to date. As well, they must document their volunteer activities and accomplishments and include a copy of their transcripts.

This year’s award goes to Jessica Baraskewich:

Jessica Baraskewich

In the fall of 2018, Jessica will begin her second year of a four-year doctoral program in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at the University of Calgary. During the 2018/2019 academic year, she will begin her dissertation research which is aimed at understanding eating issues in ASD. Presently, there is a small but significant body of research suggesting that persons with ASD have increased rates of disordered eating ranging from picky eating to anorexia nervosa. Anecdotal evidence from families suggests that their child’s eating behaviours present overwhelming difficulty, often beyond that of their ASD symptoms alone.

Her doctoral research will engage key stakeholders including community organizations, professionals, and families of persons with ASD to better understand eating issues in this population and understand what neuropsychological, environmental, and familial factors may put individuals at risk for or protect them from developing eating issues.

In addition to her academic activities, Jessica competed as a student athlete for the U of C in Track & Field and Cross Country running. She also holds a number of leadership positions in her academic community and is a co-founder of the Graduate Pan-Psychology Partnership. She has been a social coach and facilitator for the PEERS program and has been trained as a facilitator for the Facing Your Fears program – both are specialized programs for children and youth with ASD. She is a recipient of the Eye’s High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship in recognition of her accomplishments to date and is a trainee member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, the Owerko Centre, and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education.

She hopes to complete her dissertation in her third year and, in her fourth year, she will complete an internship. She would like to work in a clinic or hospital and gain experience in working with individuals with ASD and mental health issues. Her goal is to become a registered psychologist.

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