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Scholarships & Bursaries

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Congratulations Hannah, Don and Ashley!

Our 2021 scholarships and bursary were awarded at our Virtual Purple Walk Celebration Ceremony on June 19.  The Ade Adegbite Scholarship was presented by Ade’s mother, Jolly Abrakasa to scholarship recipients Hannah and Don. The Michele Edwards Bursary, presented by Michele’s husband Peter Boisseau was awarded to Ashley. Thank you to all of our awards committee members, for their time and energy in reviewing the many amazing applications, and a big thanks to all those who applied. We wish you all great success in your education and career pursuits!

Hannah just completed her 3rd year as a full-time student in an Honours Bachelor of Science program, with a Biology/Psychology double major. Since her epilepsy diagnosis, she has faced many challenges, but her determination guided her through. She has shifted her academic focus to epilepsy-related research and plans to continue with this focus in a Masters program.

Don is turning his passion for helping others into a career path. Inspired by the many social service workers who have helped him along the way, he is now enrolled in a Social Services program and learning the skills he needs to offer support and guidance to others who may need it; he aspires to help others learn to stay positive and be resilient through their journey, as he has learned to do.

Ashley has already demonstrated incredible determination, ambition and courage in her journey so far.  A single mother and student in the Assaulted Women and Children’s Counsellor Advocate Program at George Brown College, she aspires to complete her Masters in Social Work and return to her home community to work for the Manitoba Metis Federation.

ABOUT OUR SCHOLARSHIPS AND BURSARIES

MICHELE EDWARDS BURSARY

This bursary aims to encourage and support women with epilepsy who have faced discrimination to pursue their education and/or career goals. This $800 bursary is awarded annually in the spring to a candidate to further their education and/or their career goals; whether that be in a full-time or part-time program, workshop, extra-curricular class or pursuing a career.

It is open to anyone who identifies as a female living with epilepsy and:

  • Whose quality of life is significantly impacted by epilepsy.
  • Who is in financial need and would make the best use of the bursary money.
  • Who, despite the challenges they face, is ambitious and shows great initiative and determination in pursuing their education and/or career goals.
  • Who has faced adversity or discrimination, whether it be because of their epilepsy, race, gender or sexuality.
  • Lives in, or is planning to attend school in Toronto.

The application deadline for the 2021 Michele Edwards Bursary has now passed. For information on future bursaries, please be sure to sign up for Epilepsy Toronto’s ENews.

The Michelle Edwards Bursary is administered by Epilepsy Toronto and supported by Peter Boisseau.

About Michele Edwards

Whether it was running track or playing piano, Michele was always determined to excel. As a working woman, she developed accounting techniques that won the respect of multi-national corporations but had to fight constant workplace discrimination because of her epilepsy. Inspired to study law and advocate for others, she took her college to the Human Rights Commission after facing discrimination by her instructors in the classroom and forced her school to create new policies to accommodate people with disabilities. Michele passed away in December 2013 after a lengthy illness. This bursary was established with love by her husband Peter Boisseau, her children and her family to honor her legacy.

Image of Michele Edwards

If you would like to make a donation to the Michele Edwards Bursary Fund please click HERE.  Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

THE ADE ADEGBITE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

The Ade Adegbite Memorial Scholarship recognizes students with epilepsy who have overcome barriers and who continue to demonstrate resilience in coping with the challenges of epilepsy.

About Ade Adegbite

The scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Ade Adegbite, a remarkable young woman who would not allow the challenges that epilepsy presented to prevent her from achieving her goals. An excellent student, Ade studied at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, was fluent in French, and completed teachers college, all while actively volunteering in the community. She worked enthusiastically to educate others about the challenges faced by people living will epilepsy. She supported the work of Epilepsy Toronto as an educator, spokesperson, and fundraiser.

Ade Adegbite Memorial Scholarship recipient

The Ade Adegbite Memorial Scholarship recognizes students with epilepsy who have overcome barriers and who continue to demonstrate resilience in coping with the challenges of epilepsy. Two scholarships of $1500 each will be awarded to assist a student with epilepsy to achieve their academic goals. Successful candidates must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

• be a person living with epilepsy.
• be age 17 or over
• be a Canadian citizen, Protected Person or Permanent Resident of Canada (proof of status required)
• be a resident of Toronto (or planning to attend school in Toronto)
• be enrolled in or accepted for full-time or part-time post-secondary studies in a College or University, accredited professional or apprenticeship training institution (part-time students must be completing at least one course each semester).
• should not be related to any member of the Board of Directors or staff of Epilepsy Toronto

Candidates must demonstrate their determination and resilience in overcoming barriers and challenges related to epilepsy. Academic strength, community involvement & volunteerism, educational goals and focus, communication skills, and involvement in raising awareness about epilepsy will also be considered.

The application deadline for the 2021 Ade Adegbite Scholarship has now passed. For information on future scholarships, please be sure to sign up for Epilepsy Toronto’s ENews.

The Ade Adegbite Memorial Scholarship is administered by Epilepsy Toronto and supported by the Adegbite/Abrakasa Family.

**Applicants who qualify for both of the above awards are encouraged to apply for both. Being awarded either one, does not preclude you from being awarded the other as well. 

PAST RECIPIENTS

The 2019 Ade Adegbite Scholarship was presented by Jolly Abrakasa( (ctr) to David Suthern (rt), with honrable mention and partial scholarships going to Denisa Radut (lft) and Victoria Cowie (absent).

David Suthern with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy already under his belt, David will be returning to school to the Social Service Workers Program at Seneca college. He is currently an active member of the Epilepsy Toronto Ambassador Program.

The 2019 Michelle Edwards Bursaries were presented by Peter Boisseau (ctr) to worthy recipients Kirsten Huber (lft) and Nazanin Babaie (rt).

Kirsten Huber is a first-year student in the Biology Program at Ryerson University. “I don’t just want to have a career in science; I want to make a difference.”

Nazanin Babaei is a Specialized Honours Kinesiology and Health Sciences student at York and is working towards a medical degree specializing in the neurosciences.

2018 Ade Adegbite Recipient

Isabelle Lepage is currently finishing her Specialized BA in Translation at York University, Glendon Campus. After graduation in 2019, she hopes to attend Teacher’s College. To read Isabelle’s story, click HERE.

Epilepsy Toronto was pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Michele Edwards Bursary, Keerthana Naniah and Renae Alleyne at the 2018 Annual Epilepsy Conference and AGM on Saturday, May 26th, 2018.

Renae Alleyne is currently working towards her Bachelors of Nursing at Humber College. The high demands of her program while working to pay for it,  has put her in a position where she has to sometimes choose between schoolwork and going to work.  Add to that the challenge of trying to find a new rhythm in her life since her epilepsy diagnosis in June of 2016 and life has been a roller coaster ride.  She feels she is learning to put wellness in the forefront of the illness and creating a new identity that includes resilience. She is more than her epilepsy. When she has completed her program she plans to become a maternity nurse and work in the community doing health promotion in disadvantaged communities.

Keerthana Naniah is in the Financial and Business Economics program at York University, and will use this bursary towards books as she transfers in the B.Comm Accounting Program next year. She is currently juggling two part-time jobs with a full-time course load while maintainer her grades. The funds will be put towards the high cost of textbooks and class materials that her program requires.  Upon completion of her program, she will be pursuing a CPA designation with a focus on fraud investigations. She strives for a career with either York Regional Police, CSIS or the CRA in investigating financial crimes. She will then pursue a Masters in Forensic Accounting with the University of Toronto and hopes to complete her Forensic Accounting designation.

In 2017, the bursary was awarded to two exceptional Epilepsy Toronto clients, Michelle Buckland and Amanda Kelly. Both have overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and are show great initiative and determination in pursuing their education and goals.

“I’ve been in the field of Training and Development for 15 years. I love to be in this field, it has always been one of my passions. I really came out of my shell through Toastmasters; it helped me to finally start motivational speaking. I love to help make a difference.

“Then a friend of mine said, ‘Michelle, why don’t you start your own business?’ I was really hesitant, but then someone paid for a business license for my birthday. So I did it. I’d get the chance to do training sessions, consulting, coaching, etcetera, but it didn’t maximize as much as I hoped. Until about a year ago when I finally said ‘ok, let me create a website’ – that will give me exposure.

“The bursary was for my business. So now I have more visibility. It helped me update to the computer I needed, pay for supplies and launch my website, Embrace. It wasn’t even so much about the money; It was encouraging – it gave me the sense that I was making a difference and I felt a sense of accomplishment for the work I’ve been doing.”  Michelle Buckland

“When I was in the epilepsy monitoring unit, I was there for about a month and I did little vlogs. Very short, unedited videos, that I posted on youtube and Facebook, just to let people know where I was at. And those got hits! And I’m just one person. So the idea came up to do something like that, but on a bigger scale.

“I want to put together a video series of conversations. We will bring somebody in – a member of the community, someone with epilepsy, a doctor, a journalist, a this, a that – and talk to them. Record these, edit them, post them and grow from there.

“The Michele Edwards bursary money is to go towards the editing and the promoting of these, and if there is any additional costs, there is a little fund for that.” Amanda Kelly

Adam Widmer and Brandon Bowen received the Ade Adegbite Memorial Scholarships in 2015.

Both of these young people demonstrated active volunteerism, strong academic goals, and encompass the spirit of Ade in their determination and resilience in overcoming barriers and challenges related to epilepsy.

“Being awarded the Ade Adegbite memorial scholarship was a life changing event. Upon receiving it I broke into tears in front of the whole congregation because I simply could not believe I was receiving such an honour. I was moved by the generosity and kindness of not only the family giving it to me, but of everyone who came out and was supporting me. The experience was truly uplifting and humbling.

“With the money received I was able to help my parents pay off my first year of my university tuition. Getting the award and then becoming involved with Epilepsy Toronto motivated me to want to give the same help and support to others so I am currently pursuing a degree in socio-cultural anthropology with a focus on activism in society.”

Tamarra Zlicic, 2013 Scholarship Recipient

SUPPORT THE SCHOLARSHIPS AND  BURSARIES

To make a donation to our scholarships and bursaries fund, please email Brandon Fairley at brandon@epilepsytoronto.org. Donations are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.