Serena M.


2022 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Guelph

I have faced financial and social hardships my entire life. At birth, I was apprehended from my biological mother, a member of Buffalo River Dene Nation, and was subsequently placed into foster care. Unfortunately, I had discovered she had passed away after attempting to reconnect during my teenage years. In addition to non-existent life insurance, she had no assets to pass on to support me in my dream of becoming a rural family doctor.

My foster mother, a single parent in Rural Alberta, adopted me while operating a foster home which cared for multiple children from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. At an early age, I discovered that my upbringing was not the norm. We lived paycheque to paycheque on a single household income reliant on social services.

Life insurance would’ve strongly impacted my upbringing. I may have experienced what it felt like to be involved in any extracurriculars. One of the experiences growing up which stood out to me was my foster mother saving up for months to pay for a volleyball outfit. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the school team. Nevertheless, the financial and social support from these insurance policies would strongly have impacted opportunities sought out during my upbringing, and into my professional career.

From an early age, I juggled employment while pursuing my academic goals in the absence of appropriate mentorship. I rarely had the opportunity to seek personal interests, hobbies, and explore my identity due to the financial and social adversity I constantly experienced. Every step of my academic journey had been burdened by financial challenges. I put myself through school by aggressively working multiple jobs and saving money, applying for social support in the form of bursaries for children in government care, and seeking every scholarship opportunity. To this day I envy students with parents who support them and encourage them to pursue their goals.

Despite these challenges, I achieved a 3.95/4.00 (91%) cumulative gpa, became engaged in multiple leadership roles within my community and student body, and successfully interviewed (pending admission results) for three medical schools in Ontario. However, I fear the financial challenges associated with medical school; as the published average four-year schooling costs is $150-200 000.

As a future physician and mother, I have learned first hand the importance of life, and critical illness insurance. With conviction, I would never go through life without these policies protecting my future family from the social and financial hardships that losing a parent may entail. I plan on enrolling in disability insurance as early as my first week of medical school, as I understand that an unforeseen event may impede on my ability to support those I care about.

Thank you for supporting students like myself who have faced the challenge of losing a parent. I am grateful for any assistance I am able to receive.

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