Three Maritime students have each received a $2,500 scholarship from The IWK Future Health Research and Innovation Scholarship program. This scholarship is awarded annually through IWK Health Research Services and strives to foster awareness of health research among youth. Applicants must demonstrate their interest in health-related research and innovation and how it will improve the health and well-being of children, women, and families in the Maritimes.
Created in 2015, this competitive scholarship is given to three grade 12 students, each the highest-ranked applicant from their Maritime province. The award supports their plan of continuing their education at a Maritime post-secondary institution in a field that will enhance health research and/or innovation. The 2021 winners are Sara Greenough of Pentz, Nova Scotia, Sophie Gauthier of Saint John, New Brunswick and Monica Gollaher, of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
This year, applicants wowed the selection committee with their essay submissions, but the three winners topped the lot with their topics of pediatric mental health in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of patient comfort in hospitals, and the prevention of respiratory diseases. All essays focused on an area of research that is of interest to the students and gives a glimpse at what the future of medical research in the Maritimes may focus on.
Winner Sara Greenough says that she has always been interested in the health field and is particularly passionate about medical research, a passion that was nourished by her involvement with the International Baccalaureate program. “This scholarship shows me that my future in innovation and research is possible,” says Greenough.
Similarly, Sophie Gauthier was encouraged to apply by her school’s guidance counsellor because of her aspirations of becoming a pediatrician. Sophie has spent the summer of 2021 working at the Jean Coutu Pharmacy in preparation for her entry into the field and to immerse herself in the medical industry.
Monica Gollaher aspires to become an emergency physician. In her scholarship application essay, Gollaher passionately wrote about wanting to improve the challenging effects that long days in the hospital can have on children, specifically those being treated with an IV tube. “I feel that the future of healthcare will only improve with continued focus on innovative health research,” says Gollaher.
“As we wrap up our sixth year of the Future Health Research and Innovation Scholarship program, it is just as exciting as the first,” says Kathleen Leadon, Director of Research Operations at IWK Health. “The opportunity to have a glimpse into the goals and aspirations of these bright young scholars is incredibly inspiring. It is a privilege to be able to support their future success in this way.”
The three winners successfully made it through their final year of high school during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now more excited than ever to begin their post-secondary education and contribute to the health and wellbeing of the Maritimes. All three young women are beginning their bachelor’s degree programs this September. Greenough and Gauthier will be attending Dalhousie University and Monica Gollaher will be studying at Mount Allison University.