The scholarships are the result of a landmark $200 million gift in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, the second-largest single donation in Canadian history. Designed to encourage purposeful leadership, the scholarships enable students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree while participating in mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development program.
Morelli and Au are among 88 finalists chosen from across Canada and around the world after a first round of regional interviews. They will attend the final round of interviews in Montréal from March 8 to 12, meeting with leaders from academia, business, government, and the social sector.
Students and graduates from more than 1,200 universities applied for the McCall MacBain Scholarships in this first year of global admissions, and 242 participated in regional interviews with local leaders in October and November before the 88 finalists were selected. Up to 30 McCall MacBain Scholars will be selected after final interviews.
Morelli is a political studies student working as a constituency assistant for two Members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. She also helps first-year students learn to conduct research and is a seasonal farmhand for the family business. Julia played on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team for two years, and gave back to the hockey community as an assistant coach and on-ice instructor. Morelli aims to study political science at McGill, and her academic interests include decolonization, Indigenous self-determination, sustainable development, and the power dynamics of beauty norms.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarship,” said Morelli, who is on pace to to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in political studies from USask this spring. “I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to learn more about myself and grow as an academic, a leader, and a person.”
“This will be my first time in Montréal, so I am very excited,” she added. “It will be great to see more of Canada beyond the Prairies. I am looking forward to seeing the city’s architecture and experiencing Québécois culture.”
Meanwhile, Au is an engineering physics student at USask who leads a student group dedicated to design and innovation in biomedical engineering. She has worked and volunteered as an editor for the university’s student-run newspaper, tutored students at a Vietnamese language school, and managed social media for a financial literacy club. During the summers, Au worked in research and taught kids at a science camp. She spent last summer conducting research at CERN, the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, and aims to study experimental particle physics at McGill.
“Getting shortlisted for the McCall MacBain Scholarships is a great honour and feels like an affirmation of my hard work,” said Au, who is set to graduate with engineering and science degrees from USask at Spring Convocation. “Pursuing graduate studies will no doubt be a fulfilling but challenging process, so I am overjoyed to know that I am supported from the get-go.”
“McGill, Montréal, Québec, and Canada attract talented students from all over the world,” said John McCall MacBain, chair of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “Our aim is to provide a life-changing opportunity for students who have a track record of contributing to their communities and a genuine desire to make a positive impact.”
“Our committees were delighted to receive great interest from all corners of the world,” said Natasha Sawh, dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “More than 280 volunteers were involved in assessing candidates. They looked not only for academic strength, but for qualities like integrity, kindness, curiosity, and courage.”
If not selected as a McCall MacBain Scholar, each student is eligible to receive a $10,000 Canadian Finalist Award for studies at McGill.
Last year, Nikaela Lange (BA’21) was selected as the University of Saskatchewan’s first McCall MacBain Scholar.