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Alexa McAdam, [BSc(Hons.)/16] and 2012/2013 Schulich Leader Scholarship recipient.

Empowered to use her voice

Hear from past Schulich Leader Scholarship recipient Alexa McAdam  

July 31, 2018 — 

In 2012, Alexa McAdam’s hard work and determination paid off when she became one of the first Schulich Leader Scholarship recipients. She entered the Faculty of Science that fall with $60,000 from the Schulich Foundation to help her follow her dreams.

Each year the U of M awards two Schulich Leader Scholarships to incoming undergraduate students enrolling in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The Schulich Leader Scholarships, now valued at $80,000 and $100,000 allow these promising students to pursue their dreams and become the next global pioneers in their areas of study.

McAdam graduated from the University of Manitoba in October 2016 with her Bachelor of Science, Honours and is now completing a master’s degree at McGill University. She shared how her experiences at the U of M and receiving the Schulich Leader Scholarship left a lasting impact and helped her find her voice.

What influence did receiving the Schulich Leader Scholarship have on you?

It opened a lot of doors for me. It also shaped the way I thought about my education. Rather than being something I’ve ‘earned’ by myself and for my own use, I’ve come to see my education as something that has been entrusted to me, that gives me a voice, and that I can offer others so they can be empowered to use their own voices to enact change.

What influenced you most during your time as a U of M student?

I think the friendships that I formed influenced me most as a student, and they continue to influence me today. The friends I made are the people who ultimately helped me thrive during my undergrad. They sat with me on the hard days, made me feel valued and reminded me I had something to offer.

What is your favourite memory from your time as a U of M student?

I had the opportunity to participate in a medicine picking workshop with a few students and an Elder from the Indigenous Student Centre. I’m so grateful for that day. It was beautiful and life-giving to be out on the land learning in a totally different context than a classroom or lab.

What are you most excited to do next?

I am currently completing my master’s in genetic counselling at McGill University. I’m not entirely sure what the future will hold, but genetic counselling is a rapidly growing field. There are so many possibilities and I’m excited to find my place!

What advice do you have for the incoming Schulich Leaders Scholarship recipients and other first year students?

Try to be gentle with yourself. It’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out right now. Give yourself permission to try things out, make mistakes and to be curious about what really brings you joy – even if this leads you somewhere different than you envisioned.

With support from partners like the Schulich Foundation, the University of Manitoba’s Front and Centre campaign is committed to providing students with an exceptional experience. By supporting an outstanding student experience, we are unlocking the potential in our students, helping them discover new paths, and positioning them for academic and career success.


Schulich Leader Scholarships are prestigious entrance scholarships awarded to 50 high school graduates enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada. Each year, every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader Nominee based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and financial need. 

Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100 million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage our best and brightest students to become the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation.

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