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Directly support hard-working McMaster students

By giving to scholarships or bursaries, you help a new generation of students find meaning and inspiration through a McMaster education. The students profiled here are just a few of the many people whose lives are changed by donor-funded scholarships and bursaries.


Jonathan Lai is tracing the roots of autism

“Each child with autism is unique,” says Jonathan Lai, a neuroscientist and PhD candidate at McMaster, who is researching the genetic underpinnings of the disorder.

“Something happens to the brain when it’s growing – and these events can change the trajectory of the brain’s abilities,” he says. Influences can be genetic or environmental, or an interaction between the two," says Lai. “My research focuses on the genetic side of the story."

A 2011 Vanier Scholar, Lai has received a number of honours, including a travel award named in memory of Lillian Rose Stegne (BScN ’62). This donor-funded support gave Lai the opportunity to present his research at a neuroscience conference in San Diego.

“These awards help us to be exposed to the most current research, talk to other researchers face-to-face, share problems and spark further ideas. It’s very encouraging.”

He hopes his research will contribute to a better understanding of the genetic influences on the developing brain. “By understanding the root causes of autism, we will improve our chances of effectively treating people with autism as individuals.” 

Andrea can continue to work towards her future goals thanks to donors

As a student who comes from a low-income family, entering university caused a great deal of stress in my life in terms of affording tuition and textbooks.

I'm a first-year student from Mississauga, and I came to McMaster University in order to pursue my love of science. I chose to enroll in the Life Sciences program since I knew it would give me the opportunity to explore various scientific fields, such as Molecular Biology and Genetics. At McMaster, I get to explore my interests along with other people who are just as passionate as I am. I hope to work torwards a MSc and eventually work in a lab of my own.

It is because of generous donations that I am able to focus on my studies instead of worrying about how to pay for required course materials. It is thanks to donors that I can continue to work towards my future goals. Thank you so much!


Joanna Das Gupta is paying it forward as a student caller

What was Joanna Das Gupta’s favourite memory when she arrived for her first day at Mac? “The friendly faces of the Welcome Week Reps!”

She paid it back by volunteering during Welcome Week in her second year. “Afterward, a student recognized me and said I really helped to make her first week at McMaster memorable,” says Joanna. “That was really rewarding.”

Now completing her second year in honours sociology and labour studies, Joanna has two part-time jobs. For one of them, she works as a student caller reaching out to Mac alumni. She’s also received a McMaster bursary in her first and second years.

“Without this bursary, the financial pressures would have been inconceivable. I’m so grateful.”

Kaiming is honoured to be a recipient of the McMaster Bursary

Thanks to generous support, I am the first in my family to attend university in Canada.

Growing up in a less privileged community not only offered financial and academic challenges, but it also helped me to realize the value of a university education.

I have almost finished my degree at McMaster and can report that my academics are off to a first-rate start. I plan to complete a masters in Electrical Engineering. McMaster offers one of the finest programs in the country. I hope I can build myself more and build a successful career. I might even have the ability to help students after I graduate.

My educational pursuits would not be possible without generous support from bursary donors. Thank you for enabling this opportunity!


Alon Coret is pursuing a passion for health care

“There’s a lot to be learned when you step outside the classroom,” says fourth-year Arts and Science student Alon Coret.

“Thanks to a scholarship funded by gifts from Mac alumni, I was able to travel to India for a month-long, inquiry-based research project.” Alon studied health care challenges, met with health providers across many disciplines, and volunteered with schoolchildren.

“It was a wonderful experience – very enriching, very meaningful,” says Alon.

Support students like Jonathan, Joanna, Alon and Kaiming

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