Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training, announced $180,000 in graduate student scholarships at Royal Roads University Tuesday.
Mark spoke to students in the audience about the changes they will make as a result of their education. “We know that graduate students are going to be future leaders and experts in your field,” she said.
The Royal Roads scholarship fund will be allocated to recipients based on merit and will supports awards of $15,000 each for grad students in research-intensive programs. The scholarships have an emphasis on provincial priorities including Indigenous students, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Allan Cahoon, Royal Roads University president, MLA Mitzi Dean and doctorate student Maria Anderson also spoke at the event.
Cahoon noted 70 per cent of students at Royal Roads are graduate students and the programs are geared towards applied learning and making a difference in communities.
“The $180,000 helps us to be able to support students, as Mitzi said, many may not be able to contemplate coming to Royal Roads unless they have some assistance and some support,” Cahoon said. “So it’s part of a campaign that we are involved in to raise money to support students to come to Royal Roads so we can continue to educate the diverse population we have.”
Anderson, the student representative on Royal Roads’ board of governors, started her masters degree in 2013 and while she knew it would be a step up from doing an undergraduate degree, she found it to be much more difficult. She didn’t received a scholarship, but had it been available to apply for in 2013, she said it would have helped.
“I think it would have been a huge help actually, because besides the cost of tuition and having to pay for books, there’s hidden costs in doing a masters or doctorate degree, and that’s the cost of doing a project or a thesis, transcribing interviews and travel,” Anderson explained. “For some students it will mean the cost of tuition and books, the first part of doing the grad degree before you start your research.”
Anderson loved Royal Roads so much, she decided to stay for a doctorate in social sciences. Something she never intended to do, but is commonly seen at Royal Roads because of the programs, staff and facilities. She left her extended family in Calgary and her career to live in Victoria and is finishing the fourth year of her doctorate.
Mark noted the province hasn’t had a graduate fund in more than a decade and $12 million will go towards providing 800 graduate awards throughout the province by the end of 2021.