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Mission grad awarded prestigious $120,000 scholarship

Emily McKinnon to attend Simon Fraser University in the fall to study engineering
Mission Secondary graduate Emily McKinnon will be heading to Simon Fraser University in the fall with a $120,000 scholarship.

Mission Secondary student Emily McKinnon was ready to give up on scholarship applications. 

The 2024 graduate pushed for scholarships with a flurry of applications earlier in the school year but wasn't hearing back. The repetitive process, without response, left McKinnon with self-doubt and fatigue. 

"It was hard push," McKinnon said.

However, when McKinnon began to hear back, it was good news. She received the prestigious, Canada-wide Schulich Leader Scholarship for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) students worth $120,000. It's the second consecutive year a MSS student received the award. 

"I was not expecting it whatsoever," McKinnon said. 

She was also offered entrance scholarships to six universities across the country, including Dalhousie, UBC, McGill, University of Toronto, and University of Victoria. 

Despite consideration of Dalhousie, McKinnon will stay close to home and attend Simon Fraser University in the fall to study engineering. 

"My mom went to that school. She's an English major [and] she was always really pushing for me to go to SFU," McKinnon said. 

McKinnon thought about pursuing counselling as a career, but a passion for physics led her to engineering. 

"I really enjoyed physics this year. Math is is a little bit more challenging, but that's okay because I like to challenge myself in that way," McKinnon said. 

Friends and teachers have made McKinnon's experience at MSS a good one.  She didn't receive intense academic pressure from her parents but was encouraged to try her best. Her friends also contributed to her high grades. 

"We all challenge one another and we're kind of competitive, but in a friendly way. We support each other in that way. So I would say it's my family and friends that have gotten me to where I am academically today," McKinnon said. 

Outside of academics, McKinnon keeps herself busy. She coaches swimming with the Mission Marlins and works as a lifeguard. She also volunteers with the Mission Interact Club and recently joined Mission's youth city council. 

However, it can all be tough to manage. McKinnon stopped swimming for the year to focus on school. 

"I had a really hard time balancing all my work and extracurriculars and school all at once," McKinnon said. 

Despite the challenges, McKinnon enjoys helping to support the community because the community supports her. 

MSS career advisor Christina Coulson says McKinnon is a dedicated, hard worker who brings energy to the school. 

"Her leadership role here is very big - she's a big part of the community here. So we're very excited and happy for her and proud of the work that she's done in her whole time here," Coulson said. 

Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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