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Donors help Make Way for students at NSCC’s Pictou Campus

Sam MacKenzie in enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at NSCC’s Pictou Campus and hopes to become a naturopathic doctor.
Sam MacKenzie in enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at NSCC’s Pictou Campus and hopes to become a naturopathic doctor. - Contributed

Sam MacKenzie is passionate about helping people, which is what drew her to the Practical Nursing program at NSCC’s Pictou Campus.

It’s also why she joined the Enactus team at her campus. “It really aligns with my values,” she says of the global community of student and business leaders committed to shaping a better, more sustainable world through entrepreneurial action.

Enactus is one of the extraordinary learning opportunities funded in part by generous donors to Make Way — The Campaign for NSCC. A $25-million, province-wide fundraising initiative, Make Way aims to remove barriers to education and enhance learning for those who will propel Nova Scotia forward.

Sam came to NSCC after working in both forestry and farming. “Nursing is huge in my family, and it’s always been a passion of mine,” she says.

She admits she was stressed until doing her clinical placement at Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital, where she worked with veterans. “I met all of these beautiful men and women there and was moved by their stories and experiences, and that solidified that this is the right path for me.”

She was introduced to Enactus by Anne McDonah, Academic Chair of the School of Business at Pictou Campus, and has since worked on several community projects with the team.

One of the projects involved building raised garden beds for Pictou County Roots for Youth, a not-for-profit that helps young people overcome homelessness.

“My hope is to become a naturopathic doctor, so access to nutritious food is really important to me. And farming showed me how special it is to eat something you have planted and harvested,” says Sam.

She also organized a mental health workshop featuring guest speaker Todd Leader — a pioneer in the field. The event attracted nearly 300 students and community members.

“She had a full house and we had to bring in extra chairs,” says Anne. “Sam’s story and personality are so compelling. She will be missed from our team when she graduates.”

Donors to Make Way — Nova Scotia business and community leaders, and people from all walks of life – are also helping increase the number of bursaries, scholarships and other forms of financial aid available to NSCC students like Kenzie Reid.

The first-year Business Administration student at Pictou Campus was chosen to receive the NSCC Entrance Award.

“I am able to attend school every day without having to worry about how I will cover my tuition,” she notes. “I am able to focus on academics, while also making the most of my college experience. By removing financial barriers, it has made my education and career goals easier to obtain.”

Urgent Aid puts student in driver’s seat

Lee Cowan - Contributed
Lee Cowan - Contributed

When Lee Cowan faced the burden of unexpected car repairs earlier this school year, she felt overwhelmed.

“Last fall my brakes gave out in my car. I took it to a mechanic for what I thought was a simple brake line. But when I called to see if it was finished I was told it was more serious — all the lines, including a fuel line, needed to be fixed,” she says. “The bill was $450!”

For Lee, who lives on a fixed income with no family nearby, the problem seemed insurmountable. The Adult Learning Program student needed her car to get to and from NSCC’s Pictou Campus, but also to multiple medical appointments to deal with health issues.

Fortunately, she found support through NSCC’s Urgent Aid Fund, which helps students who are in dire financial circumstances and in danger of leaving their program at the college. It is one of the financial aid options made possible by the generosity of donors to Make Way — The Campaign for NSCC.

“I would not have been able to fix my car without Urgent Aid, and without my car I would not have been able to continue in school,” says Lee, who is active on campus as a Student Association representative and peer tutor.

Lee, an Honours student, was recently named Valedictorian for the campus and is on track to begin studies in the Electronic Engineering Technician program in the fall.

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