PhD student Bruna Franco came to the U of S from Brazil. (Photo credit: Lesley Porter)

Global grad student support grows

From sunny South America to the frosty Canadian prairies, Bruna Maria Remonato Franco’s academic journey was sparked by her dedication to animal welfare.

“I am passionate about animal welfare,” said Franco, originally from Curitiba, Brazil. “When I had the opportunity to do a PhD I was very interested because it seems like it’s my life goal, to feel like I’m doing something to help the animals to get a better life.”

Currently completing her PhD in animal and poultry science at the U of S, Franco is also a recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship, awarded yearly since 2005 by the College of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies (CGPS) to graduate students with outstanding academic records and research potential.

Franco earned her veterinary medicine degree in Brazil. She worked as a veterinarian while completing a master’s degree in veterinary sciences specializing in farm animal welfare. Her husband received a scholarship to complete a portion of his graduate studies in Canada. While visiting him, she met with agriculture professor (and future graduate advisor) Karen Schwean-Lardner. After being accepted for her PhD program, Schwean-Lardner emailed her information about the Dean’s Scholarship.

“There were some requirements about grades and publications,” Franco recalled. “I thought, ‘OK, let’s give it a try.’”

Franco was already in Canada, so she worked with family and friends back in Brazil to arrange the necessary paperwork. Her efforts paid off when she was awarded the scholarship.

“I was so happy when I got it,” she said. “We have our daughter here, so we have to pay for daycare, which is not cheap, and other expenses we have.”

She added that without this funding, “it would be tight for us. So this helped us a lot. I have no words to say how grateful I am.”

Not long after, the college announced another half a million dollars would be committed to the scholarship fund to cover tuition costs of doctoral student recipients.

“This was amazing—another amazing gift for us,” said Franco. “I can concentrate on my studies and I know that at the end of the month I will have the money and what I need to pay for my family’s expenses, so I can be full-time here and focused on my PhD.”

On top of the Dean’s Scholarship, CGPS recently announced two new scholarships aimed at supporting top graduate and post-doctoral researchers.

The Indigenous Graduate Leadership Award is geared towards Indigenous students who have taken on an active role of leadership in their community. In addition to covering tuition costs, master’s and PhD students are eligible to receive $16,000 and $20,000 respectively—making it a unique award.

The Bringing the World to Saskatchewan scholarship is aimed at attracting top academic talent to the province. In total, $110,000 is available to international graduate students and post-doctoral fellows—making this the first U of S-backed funding package available to post-doctoral scholars.

“The college is thrilled to support our talented students and post-doctoral researchers,” said Trever Crowe, interim dean of CGPS. “Funding of this calibre will allow scholars to complete their studies and reach their research goals with minimal financial burden.” 

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