Sample Scholarship Essays
If you’re applying for a scholarship, chances are you are going to need to write an essay. Very few scholarship programs are based solely on an application form or transcript. The essay is often the most important part of your application; it gives the scholarship committee a sense of who you are and your dedication to your goals. You’ll want to make sure that your scholarship essay is the best it can possibly be.
Unless specified otherwise, scholarship essays should always use the following formatting:
- Double spaced
- Times New Roman font
- 12 point font
- One-inch top, bottom, and side margins
Other useful tips to keep in mind include:
- Read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you completely understand them before you start writing.
- Think about what you are going to write and organize your thoughts into an outline.
- Write your essay by elaborating on each point you included in your outline.
- Use clear, concise, and simple language throughout your essay.
- When you are finished, read the question again and then read your essay to make sure that the essay addresses every point.
For more tips on writing a scholarship essay, check out our Eight Steps Towards a Better Scholarship Essay .
The Book that Made Me a Journalist
Prompt: Describe a book that made a lasting impression on you and your life and why.It is 6 am on a hot day in July and I’ve already showered and eaten breakfast. I know that my classmates are all sleeping in and enjoying their summer break, but I don’t envy them; I’m excited to start my day interning with a local newspaper doing investigative journalism. I work a typical 8-5 day during my summer vacation and despite the early mornings, nothing has made me happier. Although it wasn't clear to me then, looking back on my high school experiences and everything that led to me to this internship, I believe this path began with a particularly savvy teacher and a little book she gave me to read outside of class.
I was taking a composition class, and we were learning how to write persuasive essays. Up until that point, I had had average grades, but I was always a good writer and my teacher immediately recognized this. The first paper I wrote for the class was about my experience going to an Indian reservation located near my uncle's ranch in southwest Colorado. I wrote of the severe poverty experienced by the people on the reservation, and the lack of access to voting booths during the most recent election. After reading this short story, my teacher approached me and asked about my future plans. No one had ever asked me this, and I wasn't sure how to answer. I said I liked writing and I liked thinking about people who are different from myself. She gave me a book and told me that if I had time to read it, she thought it would be something I would enjoy. I was actually quite surprised that a high school teacher was giving me a book titled Lies My Teacher Told Me. It had never occurred to me that teachers would lie to students. The title intrigued me so much that on Friday night I found myself staying up almost all night reading, instead of going out with friends.
In short, the book discusses several instances in which typical American history classes do not tell the whole story. For example, the author addresses the way that American history classes do not usually address about the Vietnam War, even though it happened only a short time ago. This made me realize that we hadn't discussed the Vietnam War in my own history class! The book taught me that, like my story of the Indian reservation, there are always more stories beyond what we see on the surface and what we’re taught in school. I was inspired to continue to tell these stories and to make that my career.
For my next article for the class, I wrote about the practice of my own high school suspending students, sometimes indefinitely, for seemingly minor offenses such as tardiness and smoking. I found that the number of suspensions had increased by 200% at my school in just three years, and also discovered that students who are suspended after only one offense often drop out and some later end up in prison. The article caused quite a stir. The administration of my school dismissed it, but it caught the attention of my local newspaper. A local journalist worked with me to publish an updated and more thoroughly researched version of my article in the local newspaper. The article forced the school board to revisit their “zero tolerance” policy as well as reinstate some indefinitely suspended students.I won no favors with the administration and it was a difficult time for me, but it was also thrilling to see how one article can have such a direct effect on people’s lives. It reaffirmed my commitment to a career in journalism.
This is why I’m applying for this scholarship. Your organization has been providing young aspiring journalists with funds to further their skills and work to uncover the untold stories in our communities that need to be reported. I share your organization’s vision of working towards a more just and equitable world by uncovering stories of abuse of power. I have already demonstrated this commitment through my writing in high school and I look forward to pursuing a BA in this field at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. With your help, I will hone my natural instincts and inherent writing skills. I will become a better and more persuasive writer and I will learn the ethics of professional journalism.
I sincerely appreciate the committee’s time in evaluating my application and giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
|Do:||Follow the prompt and other instructions exactly. You might write a great essay but it may get your application rejected if you don’t follow the word count guidelines or other formatting requirements.|
|DON'T:||Open your essay with a quote. This is a well-worn strategy that is mostly used ineffectively. Instead of using someone else’s words, use your own.|
|DON'T:||Use perfunctory sentences such as, “In this essay, I will…”|
|DO:||Be clear and concise. Make sure each paragraph discusses only one central thought or argument.|
|DON'T:||Use words from a thesaurus that are new to you. You may end up using the word incorrectly and that will make your writing awkward. Keep it simple and straightforward. The point of the essay is to tell your story, not to demonstrate how many words you know.|
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Planners and Searchers
Prompt: In 600 words or less, please tell us about yourself and why you are applying for this scholarship. Please be clear about how this scholarship will help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
Being African, I recognize Africa’s need for home- grown talent in the form of “planners” (assistants with possible solutions) and “searchers” (those with desperate need) working towards international development. I represent both. Coming from Zimbabwe my greatest challenge is in helping to improve the livelihoods of developing nations through sustainable development and good governance principles. The need for policy-makers capable of employing cross-jurisdictional, and cross- disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges cannot be under-emphasized; hence my application to this scholarship program.
After graduating from Africa University with an Honors degree in Sociology and Psychology, I am now seeking scholarship support to study in the United States at the Master’s level. My interest in democracy, elections, constitutionalism and development stems from my lasting interest in public policy issues. Accordingly, my current research interests in democracy and ethnic diversity require a deeper understanding of legal processes of constitutionalism and governance. As a Master’s student in the US, I intend to write articles on these subjects from the perspective of someone born, raised, and educated in Africa. I will bring a unique and much-needed perspective to my graduate program in the United States, and I will take the technical and theoretical knowledge from my graduate program back with me to Africa to further my career goals as a practitioner of good governance and community development.
To augment my theoretical understanding of governance and democratic practices, I worked with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) as a Programs Assistant in the Monitoring and Observation department. This not only enhanced my project management skills, but also developed my skills in research and producing communication materials. ZESN is Zimbabwe’s biggest election observation organization, and I had the responsibility of monitoring the political environment and producing monthly publications on human rights issues and electoral processes. These publications were disseminated to various civil society organizations, donors and other stakeholders. Now I intend to develop my career in order to enhance Africa’s capacity to advocate, write and vote for representative constitutions.
I also participated in a fellowship program at Africa University, where I gained greater insight into social development by teaching courses on entrepreneurship, free market economics, and development in needy communities. I worked with women in rural areas of Zimbabwe to setup income-generating projects such as the jatropha soap-making project. Managing such a project gave me great insight into how many simple initiatives can transform lives.
Your organization has a history of awarding scholarships to promising young students from the developing world in order to bring knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. I have already done some of this work but I want to continue, and with your assistance, I can. The multidisciplinary focus of the development programs I am applying to in the US will provide me with the necessary skills to creatively address the economic and social development challenges and develop sound public policies for Third World countries. I thank you for your time and consideration for this prestigious award.
Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
|DO:||Research the organization and make sure you understand their mission and values and incorporate them into your essay.|
|DO:||Focus on your strengths and turn in any problems or weaknesses into a success story.|
|DO:||Use actual, detailed examples from your own life to backup your claims and arguments as to why you should receive the scholarship.|
|DO:||Proofread several times before finally submitting your essay.|
|DON'T:||Rehash what is already stated on your resume. Choose additional, unique stories to tell sell yourself to the scholarship committee.|
|DON'T:||Simply state that you need the money. Even if you have severe financial need, it won’t help to simply ask for the money and it may come off as tacky.|
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Saving the Manatees
Prompt: Please give the committee an idea of who you are and why you are the perfect candidate for the scholarship.
It is a cliché to say that I’ve always known what I want to do with my life, but in my case it happens to be true. When I first visited Sea World as a young child, I fell in love with marine animals in general. Specifically, I felt drawn to manatees. I was compelled by their placid and friendly nature. I knew then and there that I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting these beautiful creatures.
Since that day in Orlando, I have spent much of my spare time learning everything there is to know about manatees. As a junior high and high school student, I attempted to read scholarly articles on manatees from scientific journals. I annoyed my friends and family with scientific facts about manatees-- such as that they are close relatives of elephants--at the dinner table. I watched documentaries, and even mapped their migration pattern on a wall map my sister gave me for my birthday.
When I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to take part in a summer internship with Sea World, I fell even more in love with these gentle giants. I also learned a very important and valuable lesson: prior to this internship, I had imagined becoming a marine biologist, working directly with the animals in their care both in captivity and in the wild. However, during the internship, I discovered that this is not where my strengths lie. Unfortunately, I am not a strong student in science or math, which are required skills to become a marine biologist. Although this was a disheartening realization, I found that I possess other strengths can still be of great value to manatees and other endangered marine mammals: my skills as a public relations manager and communicator. During the internship, I helped write new lessons and presentations for elementary school groups visiting the park and developed a series of fun activities for children to help them learn more about manatees as well as conservation of endangered species in general. I also worked directly with the park’s conservation and communication director, and helped develop a new local outreach program designed to educate Floridians on how to avoid hitting a manatee when boating. My supervisor recommended me to the Save the Manatee Foundation so in addition to my full-time internship at Sea World, I interned with the Save the Manatee Foundation part-time. It was there that I witnessed the manatee rescue and conservation effort first hand, and worked directly with the marine biologists in developing fund-raising and awareness-raising campaigns. I found that the foundation’s social media presence was lacking, and, using skills I learned from Sea World, I helped them raise over $5,000 through a Twitter challenge, which we linked to the various social media outlets of the World Wildlife Federation.
While I know that your organization typically awards scholarships to students planning to major in disciplines directly related to conservation such as environmental studies or zoology, I feel that the public relations side of conservation is just as important as the actual work done on the ground. Whether it is reducing one’s carbon footprint, or saving the manatees, these are efforts that, in order to be successful, must involve the larger public. In fact, the relative success of the environmental movement today is largely due to a massive global public relations campaign that turned environmentalism from something scientific and obscure into something that is both fashionable and accessible to just about anyone. However, that success is being challenged more than ever before--especially here in the US, where an equally strong anti-environmental public relations campaign has taken hold. Therefore, conservationists need to start getting more creative.
I want to be a part of this renewed effort and use my natural abilities as a communicator to push back against the rather formidable forces behind the anti-environmentalist movement. I sincerely hope you will consider supporting this non-traditional avenue towards global sustainability and conservation. I have already been accepted to one of the most prestigious communications undergraduate programs in the country and I plan to minor in environmental studies. In addition, I maintain a relationship with my former supervisors at Save the Manatee and Sea World, who will be invaluable resources for finding employment upon graduation. I thank the committee for thinking outside the box in considering my application.
Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts
|DO:||Tell a story. Discuss your personal history and why those experiences have led you to apply for these scholarships.|
|DO:||Write an outline. If you’ve already started writing or have a first draft, make an outline based on what you’ve written so far. This will help you see whether your paragraphs flow and connect with one another.|
|DON'T:||Write a generic essay for every application. Adapt your personal statement for each individual scholarship application.|
|DO:||Run spellcheck and grammar check on your computer but also do your own personal check. Spellcheck isn’t perfect and you shouldn't rely on technology to make your essay perfect.|
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NOTE: Contributions from the Fellows are published in the language in which they are submitted.
Robert Bateman of Salt Spring Island, BC has released his memoir, Life Sketches, with Simon & Schuster. Full of never-before-seen illustrations, the book is an “inspiring and elegant portrait” of Bateman's life as an artist and of his belief that "nature is an infinite source of reason, imagination, and invention." Bateman's vast body of work--spanning species as large as the buffalo and as small as the mouse--has touched millions of hearts and minds. Best known, perhaps, for his gorgeous depictions of birds in flight, Bateman's images stir a deep appreciation of colour, form, and spirit in his viewers.
Liane Benoit was appointed to the Defence Advisory Board (DAB) by the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in June 2015. DAB is a strategic-level advisory board reporting directly to the DM/CDS. Originally established in 1987 as the Defence Science Advisory Board (DSAB), the Board's mandate was expanded in 2014 to include broader matters of policy and procurement in addition to science. The Board provides a linkage between the collective resources, knowledge and connections of the Canadian scientific, industrial and research communities-at-large and the senior leadership of the Department in delivering independent external advice on a broad range of scientific, strategic and technical issues.
Chris Cran will have an exhibition of his work at the National Gallery of Canada this spring. The opening is May 19th.
Wade Davis of Bowen Island, BC was appointed to the Order of Canada in December 2015 for his efforts to promote conservation and for his work as a writer and scholar.
|RCGS Fellows: Mike Farley, John Geiger, Anne Smith Mansfield, Lew French, Kim Wallace, Paul Van Zant|
Mike Farley of Toronto reports that RCGS Fellows played a key role at the Fall 2015 OAGEE (Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education) Conference on November 13-14 hosted by the University of Toronto Schools. The Conference brought together over 200 educators for two full days of activities such as workshops, field trips, and presentations. RCGS Fellows played a big role in making the Conference such a success. John Geiger gave a powerful Keynote Address on the Friday morning about Franklin and discovering the Erebus wreck. Mike Farley was the Conference Lead Coordinator, while Lew French was in charge of finances. Kim Wallace and Paul VanZant delivered engaging workshops to packed rooms, and Anne Smith Mansfield was given the 2015 OAGEE Award of Distinction. In addition to the Fellows, Canadian Geographic employees Sara Black and Mary Jane Starr facilitated outstanding sessions on the Geographic Challenge and the ‘Energy Production & Transmission’ Giant Floor Map.
Brad Faught’s latest book is to be published in April, a biography of Lord Kitchener, the British late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century military statesman: Kitchener: Hero and Anti-Hero (London and New York).
Dominique Forget, journaliste scientifique et auteur du livre Perdre le Nord?, a quitté la rédaction du magazine Québec Science pour se joindre à l'équipe de Découverte, une émission de science diffusée sur les ondes de Radio-Canada. Son premier reportage s'est attardé aux dessous de l'affaire Volkswagen. On peut le visionner en ligne sur le site de Radio-Canada.
Jean Fournier received the Meritorius Service Medal (civil division) from His Excellency the Governor General of Canada on December 11, 2015. Jean was awarded the medal for 12 years of dedicated service and leadership as a director and subsequently chair of the Quebec Council of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council.
Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto, was appointed to the Order of Canada in December 2015 for his research in urban geography, notably for his influential studies of innovation, technology and development in cities.
Norman Hallendy has donated his entire archives representing 46 years of ethnograhic work in the eastern Arctic. His third and he claims his last book An Intimate Landscape attracted various publishers to bid on the work with Greystone Books of Vancouver being chosen. Dr. Wm. Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies Centre, Smithsonian Institution stated in the foreword of the book: “Hallendy’s explorations have made him something of a modern ‘Rasmussen’ of the Canadian Arctic. Rasmussen was more interested in Inuit mythology, religion, and oral history, whereas Hallendy focuses more on lexical matters like names, meanings, and states of being. Like Rasmussen, he travelled and lived with Inuit, winter and summer, exploring the words Inuit use to describe weather events, ice conditions, or geographic and cultural features.” An Intimate Landscape: Arctic Voices in a Land of Vast Horizons is expected to be published in 2016.
In 2015, Richard Harris received the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, for his book, Building a Market. The Rise of the Home Improvement Industry, 1914-1960 (University of Chicago Press). The Hitchcock award is given “to recognize annually the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of architecture published by a North American scholar.”
Also in 2015, Richard Harris was nominated and chosen President-elect of the Urban History Association.
Jill Heinerth, recipient of the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration recently spoke at TEDYouth in New York. The underwater explorer spoke about her work to an audience in the Brooklyn Museum while the conference was simulcast in three languages worldwide.
Jill Heinerth, Steve Lewis and Rick Stanley are working on underwater exploration in Bell Island, Newfoundland. In February they visited Bell Island with an impressive team of scientists and cave divers to survey and document Bell Island Mine #2 which was abandoned and flooded in 1966. They are joined by a team from Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Duke University lead by prominent Canadian Dr. Neal Pollack who will be conducting research on decompression stress on the diving team. In addition, samples of the bacterial mats covering much of the abandoned mine equipment will be studied by Dr. Ann Cheeptham, and graduate students from the microbiology department of Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia. Further scientific research will be conducted by Dr. Dawn Kernagis from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).
Few people know that Bell Island, Newfoundland, Canada was directly attacked during World War II. In 1942, German U-boats twice raided the island in an attempt to disrupt the flow of high-grade iron ore being transported from mines on the island. In two separate attacks, U-boats sunk the SS Saganaga and SS Lord Strathcona followed by the SS Rose Castle, Free French vessel PLM 27 and the loading wharf on Bell Island. In all, 70 men were killed. The sheer temerity of the attack awakened North Americans that they were now on the front line of the Battle of the Atlantic. This summer, teams continue work documenting the WWII shipwrecks to support Stanley’s ultimate mission to have them designated as a national historic site.
The story of the Bell Island shipwrecks and mines is an important chronicle in the history of Canada. Newfoundland may not have been part of a Canadian sovereign nation when the Battle of the Atlantic came to her shores, but these tragic activities ushered in a new bond with Canada that strengthened and built a better sovereign nation.
Jack Ives’ new book Baffin Island: Field Research and High Arctic Adventure, 1961-67 will be published this spring. In the 1960s, scientists from the Geographical Branch of Canada's Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources travelled to Baffin Island to study glacial geomorphology and glaciology. Their fieldwork resulted in vastly increased knowledge of the Far North - from its ice caps and glaciers to its lichens and microfossils. Drawing from the recollections of his Baffin colleagues as well as from his own memories, Ives takes readers on a remarkable adventure, describing the day-to-day experiences of the field teams in the context of both contemporary Arctic research and bureaucratic decision making. Along the way, his narrative illustrates the role played by the Cold War-era Distant Early Warning Line and other northern infrastructure, the crucial importance of his pioneering aerial photography, the unpredictable nature of planes, helicopters, and radios in Arctic regions, and of course, the vast and breathtaking scenery of the North.
Jennifer Kingsley will begin the Canadian phase of her international project, Meet the North, this spring. Meet the North is a circumpolar project that builds cultural understanding through compelling journalism. Kingsley will spend the spring season in Clyde River, at the invitation of the Inuit Cultural Program, Piqqusilirivvik. Between trips out on the sea ice she will study an environment where hunting, sewing, fishing and survival traditions blend with snowmobiles, videography, social media, and other aspects of modern northern culture. Follow the journey at www.meetthenorth.org or on Instagram @meetthenorth.
|Lorie Karnath, Captain Norm Baker, Burmese Jungle, Chindwin River Expedition.|
As chair of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Molecular Frontiers Foundation, Lorie Karnath is co-chairing a symposium on Creativity and the Discovery Process: Insights into the origin of life and other elusive questions, to be held in conjunction with The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences at the Academy in Stockholm, May 20th, 2016. Lorie is also co-authoring a new book on Burmese folk stories and a selection of her photos of Burma will open at the Cultural Museum in Cascais, Portugal next year.
Lorie Karnath also reports that on June 24-25th 2016, The Explorers Museum will be holding their annual explorers summit at Charleville Castle Ireland, TEM Global Expedition Base. The events will include a film festival “Defining Exploration” and lecture series on “The Essence of Water”. A gala event honoring explorer Captain Norman Baker, Celestial Navigator of Thor Heyerdahl's Ra Expeditions will be held. Captain Baker will be awarded The Explorers Museum's Exploration Achievement Award. Ticket information is available via the organizations website www.explorersmuseum.org and Facebook page.
|Charleville Castle Courtyard, location where explorer Charles Howard-Bury tested his equipment prior to leading the first expedition to Everest.|
George Kourounis has been busy in vastly different environments. In December, he made a 200 meter descent into the active crater of Benbow Volcano in Vanuatu, his 4th expedition to the country. More recently, he was in the middle of the record-smashing blizzard along the Eastern Seaboard from Washington D.C. to New York City. He and Fellow Mark Robinson were filming this extreme event for The Weather Network and CNN.
Brent Liddle reports his life has been busy since "retiring" from Kluane National Park in 2002 with assignments to help developing countries in parks and protected areas around the world, including Mexico, Tibet, Galapagos and most recently Tanzania. He has worked on interpretive plans for exhibits and displays at Saadani National Park near Dar es Salaam and the proposed World Elephant Centre en route to Serengetti National Park. Meanwhile back at home he feels privileged to live beside a World Heritage Site enjoying excursions into the back country. Please visit me at www.heritageinterpreter.com.
His career has been one of firsts, but Joe MacInnis became only the fourth person ever to receive the William Beebe Award for exceptional contributions to underwater exploration from the New York City-based Explorers Club at the club’s annual awards dinner on March 12.
Among the modern trailblazer’s accomplishments: leading the first team to explore the waters beneath the North Pole, leading the team that discovered, explored and filmed the wreck of the Breadalbane (the world’s northernmost known shipwreck), and being among the first to dive on the wreck of the Titanic. MacInnis joins Graham Hawkes (2004), Anatoly Sagalevitch (2008) and fellow Canadian Phil Nuytten (2012) in the ranks of those who have received the award.
Akaash Maharaj was invited to address the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in his capacity as CEO of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC). Drawing on the experience of Afghanistan, he spoke on what seemed at the time to be a distant question: how should NATO conduct a future expeditionary campaign, which might be precipitated by an attack on one of its members? A few weeks later, the terrorist killings of 129 people in Paris gave the NATO deliberations a terrible new urgency. An account of his address to the Assembly was published by the National Post.
Dr. Austin Mardon and Dr. Catherine Mardon gave a presentation entitled “Treating Mental Illness Aggressively: A Patient’s Perspective” on January 27, 2015 at the University of Alberta.
Shawn Marshall, a glaciologist at U. Calgary and his PhD student Samira Samimi will be in Greenland this coming Apr 15-May 15, then again in July, as part of a US-German-Canadian team (they are the Canadian reps) looking at meltwater runoff processes from the Greenland Ice Sheet. They will be up at Dye2, 2100 m, in south-central Greenland, doing some ice core work and measurement of meltwater percolation, refreezing, and storage in the Greenland snow and firn. You can follow their progress on Shawn’s blog.
|Dr. Gordon McBean with his wife Patricia at the UBC Awards.|
Gordon McBean was awarded the University of British Columbia Alumni Award of Distinction in October 2015. A leader in climate science, Dr. McBean has led global efforts to raise awareness about climate change impacts and played a key role in the development of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in 2007, with his IPCC colleagues and Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He is now President of the International Council for Science.
Gordon McBean has also been been selected as an American Geophysical Union Ambassador Award for 2015. The Ambassador Award is given annually to one or up to five honorees in recognition for “outstanding contributions to the following area(s): societal impact, service to the Earth and space community, scientific leadership, and promotion of talent/career pool.” The award includes AGU Conferred Fellow. More information can be found at honors.agu.org.
Dr. McBean has also been awarded the Cleveland Abbe Award for Distinguished Service to Atmospheric Sciences of the American Meteorological Society. The citation is: For exceptional service to the meteorological community through leadership of national and international programs aimed at advancing the atmospheric and related sciences and their application.
|Paul Miller (DJ Spooky) in India.|
Paul Miller (DJ Spooky), National Geographic Emerging Explorer, was in India taking a bunch of ideas about art and data to different logical extremes. He was working on a group of compositions about water, cities, climate change, and the evolving role of the artist and composer in a data-driven society. His composition is called “The Heart of a River” because rivers are networks and they amplify network effects. From the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of Mesopotamia to the Yangtze of China, from the Danube to the Thames, from the Mississippi to the Hudson, from the Amazon to the Yukon, we’ve seen over and over that where we have rivers, civilizations evolve beyond almost anything we can predict.
David Mitchell’s new book Convening: A Guide for Dialogue and Collaboration is being published this spring. The book offers a useful introduction to the art and science of effective convening. Bringing diverse groups of individuals together for dialogue on a specific issue often requires special skills, focused preparation and a spirit of hospitality. In an age of complexity, when partnerships and collaboration are increasingly necessary, convening is now becoming an essential leadership competency.
Fritz Mueller’s production company Sagafish Media Inc. are busy with two film projects. Last summer they shot Into the Light, a documentary that follows eight characters in Yukon’s First Nation arts and cultural community, and they’re working on a new documentary about the lure of the northern lights Aurora Love. They’re in post-production with Into the Light this winter, with a target launch in spring 2016. To receive news about Into the Light, follow the film’s Facebook page for updates and release information.
Brandon Pardy, aboriginal land claims consultant, participated in the celebrations surrounding Nunatsiavut’s 10 years of self-government in December 2015.
David Pelly’s new book Ukkusiksalik, The People’s Story tells the remarkable history of a pocket of remote Arctic wilderness, and the oral testimony of the last Inuit elders to live there. Ukkusiksalik is now a national park in Nunavut, established to preserve a beautiful and historic piece of wilderness. Since the 1980s, David Pelly has been exploring this region both physically — by foot, or by sea-kayak, and with Inuit companions — and by documenting traditional knowledge of the land. In this book, Pelly weaves together the people’s stories with historical accounts to provide the complete history of Ukkusiksalik.
Aaju Peter received an Arctic Inspiration Prize in January 2016. Peter was recognized for her involvement in the team nurturing Inuit performing arts in the Arctic. This annual award recognizes teams who are moving forward with innovative plans that benefit the Arctic and its peoples.
Russell Potter’s book Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-year Search, is being published by McGill-Queen's University Press this year. Finding Franklin recounts the essential details of the Franklin mystery, and the questions raised by early searchers such as Rae, Hall, and Schwatka. A focus throughout is the Inuit testimony, widely credited for helping to find HMS “Erebus” in 2014, but seldom discussed, or understood in detail. The book also showcases the new ways in which old evidence is being freshly examined, from the question of lead poisoning to that of identifying specific human remains.
Doreen (Larsen) Riedel attended the annual Amundsen Memorial Lecture Series in December 2015 at the Fram Museum in Oslo. She was an invited speaker and gave a presentation entitled “Wooden Ships and Iron Men” about the RCMP MV St Roch and the men who were her crew during the two NWP voyages in 1940-42 and 1944. She was honoured to be invited to speak about the most famous Canadian vessel in Arctic exploration, the RCMP MV St Roch. Her father was the late Norwegian born Henry Larsen who was captain of St Roch during the ship’s entire Arctic career from 1928 to 1949. During 1940 and 1942, St Roch, had been the second vessel to transit a Northwest Passage route after Amundsen’s historic voyage 30 years earlier. In 1944 it was the first vessel to complete the Atlantic to Pacific passage through the long searched for more northerly route. The RCGS awarded the Massey Medal to Henry Larsen in 1952.
|Scene from the documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo where Abraham (Charles “Saali” Keelan) writes his diary.|
France Rivet’s research on Abraham Ulrikab’s story was the subject of three magazine articles: The long journey home in Up Here magazine (Nov-Dec 2015), Abraham Ulrikab: The Filming of the Documentary in Above & Beyond (Nov-Dec 2015), and Inuit in Zoos, an 8-page feature article in the Feb-March 2016 issue of Canada’s History. The world premiere of the documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo attracted more than 250 people at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa during the Northern Lights trade show. The television premiere of the documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo will air on February 11 @ 8 p.m. on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. In summer 2016, France Rivet will accompany travellers who want to follow the footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab through Northern Labrador. She will be a guest speaker on Adventure Canada’s Greenland and Wild Labrador cruise, and will take part in the new 4-day package “Following Abraham” (August 17-20, 2016) presented by the Torngat Mountains Base Camp and Research Station.
La première mondiale du documentaire Piégés dans un zoo humain aura lieu le 25 février 2016 à Gatineau dans le cadre du Salon du livre de l’Outaouais. Il sera diffusé à l’antenne de TV5 le 29 mars 2016.
|At 93 years young, Fred Roots accompanied the Students on Ice (SOI) expedition last summer. He is a favorite with the SOI students.|
Fred Roots of BC received the Explorers Medal from The Explorers Club on March 12, 2016. He joins the ranks of Sir Edmund Hillary, Roald Amundsen, Robert Peary, Jane Goodall, Neil Armstrong, etc. The Explorers Club highest award, it is awarded for extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity. Fred Roots is also a RCGS Massey Medal recipient.
Wally Schaber recently released his book The Last of the Wild Rivers: The Past, Present, and Future of the Rivière du Moine Watershed. Published by Burnstown Publishing House, it retails for $30. After fifty years of exploring the Du Moine Valley, Wally Schaber took on the task of passing on its story, told to him by the people who related and created some of its history. The history of man’s relationship with the Du Moine watershed and the gateway village of Rapides-des-Joachims is a snapshot of Canada’s history. Today that history is being written by the Quebec government as a proposed future aquatic reserve with strict conservation guidelines surrounded by an existing outdoor playground of Quebec Crown land, half of which is in two ZECs (zones d’exploitation contrôlée) managed by not-for-profit boards to enhance recreational opportunities, especially hunting and fishing. Whitewater canoeists among others seek to preserve what they love about the Du Moine, one of the best and last wild rivers within a days drive of half of Canada’s population.
Mary Simon, Canada’s first ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and recipient of the RCGS Gold Medal in 1998, provided the following update on Inuit education:
There are 2 things that you have to understand about Inuit education in Canada today: The first point is the historical reality of formal education for Inuit: Our roughly 80 year history with formal education can be divided in 2 parts: 50 years of colonialist education policies designed to erase our language and culture, followed by 30 years of re-claiming and rebuilding our education systems — an enormous task that we are in the middle of managing. Our vision is this: to graduate bilingual students with a 21st century education.
Knowledgeable in who they are as Inuit. It is as important for us to speak and be educated in our language as it is for English and French speaking Canadians to be educated in their mother tongue. The second point is both demographic and economic: Unlike the rest of Canada our population is YOUNG! Over 60% of our population is under 25 years old so the bulk of our population is now school age, but right now only 25% are graduating.
Governments are looking at the great untapped economic wealth in the region but we need to educate our way to sharing in this prosperity. So, there is both a demographic and economic imperative to graduate more of our children. Inuit want their education systems to graduate more students and at a standard equivalent to the rest of Canada. We believe that the legacy of residential schools should be about reconciliation, but also about rebuilding our education systems.
That's why we are being proactive about taking our message of rebuilding to Canadians. Here's what we have done.
1) We have developed a national vision and plan for Inuit education: the recently released National Inuit education Strategy called First Canadians-Canadians First
2) We developed a new model for leading change in Inuit education involving a collaborative partnership between 2 provinces, 2 territories, Inuit organizations, school boards and the Government of Canada.
3) We embraced a new model for funding educational initiatives involving collaborations with NGO's, Inuit organizations, corporations and governments.
I firmly believe from years of working on policy issues, that external forces can really influence the pace of change. We want the National Strategy to be an external force of change for education in the Arctic.
Getting it right in the Arctic has never been as important as it is right now because change is arriving at dizzying speed. Inuit want to participate in the economic growth of our country, and even lead the change, but we can't if our educational system and institutions remain far behind the rest of Canada in terms of resources, success and above all innovation. A hallmark of Inuit participation in Canada's social and economic goals is that we have always worked collaboratively with partners, and this is how we are approaching education. We have identified the gaps in our education systems, and we are seeking out, and working with, partners on closing those gaps. We view Canada's education system as being only as strong as the weakest link, and frankly we are the weak link wanting to get stronger.It's a matter of nation building.
Anne Smith Mansfield received the 2015 Award of Distinction from the Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education (OAGEE) at the Fall conference in Toronto. The OAGEE Award of Distinction is presented to an Ontario Educator who is passionate about and exemplifies great geographic education within the province of Ontario. Many RCGS Fellows attended the conference and recognized Anne for her contributions to geographic education in Ontario. Only two years ago, the RCGS recognized Anne Smith Mansfield for her significant contributions to geographic literacy in Canada with the 2013 Geographic Literacy Award.
Denis St-Onge was profiled in a two-page spread published in the Winter 2016 issue of ‘Le magazine de l'Université de Saint-Boniface’ formerly le Collège de Saint-Boniface, his Alma mater.
|Cedar Swan speaking on behalf of Adventure Canada at the Corporate Nature Inspiration Awards.|
Cedar Swan, Adventure Canada CEO, is pleased to report that Adventure Canada won the Canadian Museum of Nature's 2015 Corporate Nature Inspiration Award. This award recognizes organizations that, through their work or specific projects, encourage Canadians to take an interest in natural history, create links with nature, and contribute to its preservation.
Morley Thomas, awarded the RCGS Massey Medal in 1985 for his work in Canada’s climatology, has just published his earlier memoires, MKT The Earlier Years.
NB. Items for “Fellows in the News” are welcomed and should be sent to Louise Maffett at Maffett@rcgs.org.