Since 2011, The Ability Hub has awarded the Dr. Fraser Mustard and Richard Haskayne Scholarships to deserving Alberta post-secondary students.

The Richard Haskayne Scholarship “For Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders” an annual scholarship of $5,000 is awarded to an eligible Albertan with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) pursuing post high school education, training or vocation. Applicants for this scholarship must submit a 250 word essay on “How being a student with Autism has impacted their education,” as well as their educational goals and post-secondary program plans.

McKenna May Oliver, from Calgary was awarded the 2013 Richard Haskayne Scholarship. She is enrolled in the Veterinary Medical program at Olds College for the 2013/14 school year and hopes to be a Veterinary tech assistant or receptionist. McKenna’s essay told the touching story of being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome by a junior high teacher who told her Mom she might have Asperger’s. Her mom googled “Asperger’s” and knew right away the teacher was right. McKenna worked hard in school and was able to pass the math course requirements to get into Olds College and to make friends at school over the past six years. She is now facing the challenge of living away from home, having a roommate and getting her degree. McKenna wrote “I am really excited to start college this fall! This will be the first time I’ve been away from my family, but I think it will be a good experience for me to learn how to deal with the real world on my own.”

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 with respect to Autism.

Ryan L. Matchullis, a PhD student in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at the University of Calgary is the 2013 winner of the Dr. Fraser Mustard Scholarship. He is developing expertise in the delivery of programs that will effectively assist adolescents with high functioning autism develop the social skills needed to be fully engaged in the community. When Ryan was informed he was the recipient of this year’s scholarship, he was surprised and thrilled saying, “I am very honoured and thankful to have been selected, the funds will go a long way to support me this year. As I enter the second year of my doctorate program this scholarship will allow me to attend the 2014 International Meeting for Autism Research, held in Atlanta Georgia where thousands of scientists and trainees in ASD exchange and disseminate valuable information”. While all of the six applicants were very strong, Ryan’s academic record and research experience was a notch above the others” says Katelyn Lowe, Clinical Director at The Ability Hub.

The jurors for this year’s scholarships were Dr. Stephen Lye, Executive Director, Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, University of Toronto, Dr. Katelyn Lowe, Clinical Director, The Ability Hub and Dr. Sarah Rahman, Launch Research Coordinator, The Ability Hub.

The Ability Hub develops, pilots and exports innovative new programs focusing on developing the abilities of adolescents and adults with an Autism diagnosis. We do this by collaborating, partnering and supporting other organizations and applying good evidence-based solutions to dealing with all of the issues affecting those with Autism, in particular during the transition to adulthood. The Ability Hub is a 17,000 square foot facility located on the 3rd floor of the University of Calgary, Child Development Centre.

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