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New BMO Leader of Tomorrow scholarship recipients excited to pursue their dreams at UM

Meet five new scholars joining the UM community

May 30, 2024 — 

They are some of the brightest high school graduates in the province, and soon they will be entering the University of Manitoba as leaders of tomorrow.

Nine remarkable and well-rounded students who demonstrate strong leadership, community involvement and high academic achievement have been selected as BMO Financial Group Leaders of Tomorrow and BMO Financial Group Indigenous Leaders of Tomorrow. Each scholarship is valued at $16,000 over four years of study.

“Incoming scholars impressed our interview panels with their potential to inspire and lead both in academia and beyond, promising to be influential role models at UM and in their future endeavors,” says Jane Lastra, Associate Registrar and Director, Financial Aid & Awards.


Feliciaa Baldner (École Secondaire Kelvin High School), Celina Casiano, (Fort Richmond Collegiate), Larry Denisiuk (Springfield Collegiate), Kultaj Kaur (Miles Macdonell Collegiate), Aliyah Ogunfowora (Kildonan East Collegiate), Hargun Uppal (Maples Collegiate Institute)

Larry Denisuik in his burgundy high school graduation cap and gown.

Larry Denisiuk

Larry Denisiuk is graduating from Springfield Collegiate in Oakbank, MB, where his natural curiosity led him to an interest in Morse code and microscopes. While Morse code is more of a hobby, his interest in microscopy is leading him to pursue a career in the field of medical microbiology and infectious diseases, with the first step working towards his Bachelor of Science (Honours) with the Co-op option in Microbiology.

He’s excited to come to UM and grateful for receiving the scholarship.

“The Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship provides major support for me financially… allowing me to focus more on my studies,” says Denisiuk. “In addition, it serves as an inspiration for me to challenge myself and dream big.”

Honing his diplomatic skills in his high school’s Youth Parliament, Denisiuk has learned it’s important to make all participants feel included when discussing the issues of the day.

Denisiuk spent a summer as an intern at the Experimental Lakes area, learning about the emerging issues affecting lakes and this summer he is interning at Selkirk Hospital.

He also tutors fellow students in math and science, teaches percussion at his high school band camp, takes part in his school’s “Halloween for Hunger” food drive and volunteers at the Oakbank Animal Hospital. He enjoys playing badminton and hockey.

Aliyah Ogunfowora

Aliyah Ogunfowora

For Aliyah Ogunfowora, the University of Manitoba’s interdisciplinary health program from the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Arts seems like a natural fit. With an enthusiasm for the sciences and the humanities, she is confident this program will allow her to pursue both her interests. She is also excited about taking advantage of the research opportunities available at UM.

“This scholarship means a lot to me. It would not only alleviate financial barriers but also empower me to further contribute to my academic and community pursuits,” says Ogunfowora.

Graduating from Kildonan East Collegiate, Ogunfowora has been active in her high school as a grade representative for four years, a student organizer for the Black History Month committee, and as the leader of a delegation for the Model United Nations in her school.

She has a love of literature, language and theatre, and is intrigued by the way these can promote understanding between cultures.

She has participated in Youth for Community, fundraised for winter essentials for the Main Street Project, and raised money and wrote letters in support of Ukrainian families that were affected by the war. She also volunteers at Concordia Hospital.

“I look forward to using this opportunity to pursue my goals and contribute to my community,” she says.


Mackaila Bruce-Tapley (Centre Scolaire Léo-Rémillard), Ava Kriskovic (Collège Garden City Collegiate), Ethan Temmerman (Collège Churchill)

Mackaila Bruce-Tapley.

Mackaila Bruce-Tapley

Mackaila Bruce-Tapley is a proud member of the Red River Métis from St. Laurent, Manitoba. She is graduating from Centre Scolaire Léo-Rémillard.

Bruce-Tapley says her involvement in the Sun Dance ceremony, as well as other sacred ceremonies, has inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. “My goal is to braid together Western medicine with my traditional teachings,” she says.

Bruce-Tapley has been active in her school community. She led the creation of an Indigenous student art gallery in her school, developed a presentation to educate elementary school children about the numbered treaties between Canada and Indigenous peoples, and led smudging and drumming ceremonies to support health and wellness.

An avid athlete, Bruce-Tapley plays box lacrosse, serving as assistant captain for Manitoba’s North American Indigenous Games U19 female team, as well as playing for Manitoba’s provincial U22 box lacrosse team. She also plays, and refs, hockey.

Outside of school, she is a youth representative in the Manitoba Métis Federation and participates in Manitoba’s Student Advisory Council.

“I am excited to meet many more Indigenous people like me who have the same goals and passions that I do,” she says. “I’m also excited to be able to celebrate my culture through the immense selection of ceremonies the University of Manitoba has to offer, such as sweat lodges, smudging ceremonies, as well as learning lessons from the elders and the aunties at Migizii Agamik.”

Ava Kriscovic.

Ava Kriscovic

Ava Kriskovic plays clarinet in the Collège Garden City Collegiate Institute’s high school band. She is excited to come to UM to start her studies in biology and connect with members of the Indigenous community at UM.

“I am half Ojibway and half Croatian,” says Kriskovic, “both of my cultural identities are extremely crucial to me.”

Every summer, Kriskovic is involved in helping organize her home community of Skownan First Nation’s Treaty Days activities. She has also been learning how to bead and was asked to make a beaded set for someone’s regalia.

Kriskovic also participates in the Croatian pavilion in Folklorama and is a science, English and clarinet tutor to other students in her school.

“When I learned that I was selected for the award, I was extremely happy and proud of how far I have come,” says Kriskovic. “This scholarship will help with my future plans by allowing me to focus on my academics, instead of worrying about the costs of school.”

One of her goals is to become the first person in her family to complete university, while maintaining her cultural values.

“I continue to reach these goals by recognizing that it requires more than having a willingness to complete things,” says Kriskovic. “You need practice and self-discipline which I have taught myself over the years.”

Ethan Temmerman.

Ethan Temmerman

Ethan Temmerman is graduating from Collège Churchill in Winnipeg, where he was the captain of the football team, and played hockey and basketball. He will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Manitoba.

“I want to attend the University of Manitoba for its science related research programs,” says Temmerman who has toured the Bannatyne and Fort Garry Campuses, learning more about Ongomiizwin – Education and Migizii Agamik – Bald Eagle Lodge.

A band member of Ebb and Flow First Nation, one of Temmerman’s goals is to “learn more about my culture and heritage through learning, growing and connecting with my community and through Indigenous Teachings.”

In addition to his participation in sports, which he says has “helped me grow as an athlete and a person, teaching me work ethic, commitment, accountability and teamwork,” Temmerman has a keen interest in animals – especially reptiles and amphibians and has volunteered at a pet store and a veterinary office.

Temmerman has also volunteered at his local community centre and was part of a project that planted over a thousand trees along the riverbank in his community.

“I feel honoured to be chosen as an Indigenous Leader of Tomorrow and plan to continue to develop my leadership abilities at the University of Manitoba,” he says. “One of my goals is to one day mentor others to support and benefit them in accomplishing their goals.”

Become a BMO Financial Group Leader of Tomorrow

Visit Financial Aid and Awards for more information on the BMO Financial Group Leader of Tomorrow scholarships and the BMO Financial Group Indigenous Leader of Tomorrow scholarships.

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