NUPGE Scholarship winners for 2020

"Congratulations to all the winners of our 2020 scholarships. We were very impressed with all the entries we received, and wish the winners and all the entrants the very best in the pursuit of their education and future careers." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President

Ottawa (30 Nov. 2020) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) offered 7 types of scholarships of $2,500 each for 2020 that reflect its pursuit of equal opportunity for all workers. They are available to the children/grandchildren and foster children/grandchildren of the current 390,000 members of the National Union, or of its retirees. With the exception of the new Younger Worker Scholarship, applicants must be starting a post-secondary education in a public educational institution.

"Congratulations to all the winners of our 2020 scholarships. We were very impressed with the all the entries we received, and wish the winners and all the entrants the very best in the pursuit of their education and future careers," said Larry Brown, NUPGE President. 

The National Union is pleased to announce the winners of these awards.

Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship

Jessica Lohr’s parent is Lidia Lohr, who is a member of the MGEU/NUPGE Local 135. Jessica was inspired to enter the field of public psychiatric nursing, as she was loved by the increasing awareness that mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability in Canada, but that only 20% of children and young adults will receive services. The essay emphasized that

"The goal of the services that public psychiatric nursing provides is to enrich the lives of our citizens, inspire growth, and allow for the change within onities neself to reach new heights, and attain the goals we thought we never could . . . that is how communities are built, by inspiring development, and improving the quality of life in Canada, one person at a time."

Scholarship for Indigenous Students

Jessica Casey’s parent is Sean Casey, who is a member of NAPE/NUPGE Local 7104. Jessica has self-identified as Inuit, and she commented on how trade unions are a significant resource for Indigenous members.

"It is incredibly clear that workplaces across Canada are not exempt from our pervasive issue of anti-Indigenous racism. Trade unions matter to Indigenous employees and can be a vital lifeline when experiencing discrimination or exclusion in the workplace by empowering workers to protect themselves from abuse, including unfair dismissal and discrimination, both things that people in the Indigenous community are affected by."

Scholarship for LGBTQI2S Students

Madison Rodriques-Raby’s parent is Philip Raby, who is a member of OPSEU/NUPGE Local 354. Madison reflected on the history of trade unions in supporting the LGBTQI2S community, she remarked:

"Throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, unions across America partnered with the LGBTQI2S communities in order to protest companies with discriminatory employment policies . . . and secured several important victories across Canada throughout the years, such as introducing medical coverage for same-sex spouses in 1991, and as recently as 2017, bargaining and winning protection for gender identity and expression under the Canadian Human Rights Act."

Scholarship for Students of Colour

Clarence Cheung’s parent is Monica Sung, who is a member of HSAA/NUPGE. Clarence wrote a very compelling essay that began by noting that of the “approximately 6 million visible minorities in Canada today, 65.1% of them were once a newcomer to this country.” In reflecting on the public library’s impact on the educational journey experienced by him and fellow immigrants, he expressed his gratitude for this wonderful resource.

"It is clear that with such quality public services here in Canada that do not discriminate based on race, the colour of one’s skin is no longer a disadvantage, but rather something that is celebrated in our diverse country today . . . From health care workers, educators, social workers, to law enforcement personnel, all of these employees play a crucial role in helping people of colour overcome barriers to attain a comfortable quality of life."

Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship

Gabrielle Yarema’s parent is Nicole Yarema who is a member of HSAA/NUPGE. Gabrielle wrote a very personal essay that gratefully acknowledged that she owed her life to the doctors, nurses, and psychologists that were made available through the public medical system. She quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said, “Equality of individual ability has never existed and never will, but we do insist that equality of opportunity still must be sought.”

"Not only does this quote provide direction for basic societal structure, but it also applies to the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities receive equal opportunities to thrive in all facets of their lives. In many ways, this is achieved through government provision of quality public services, such as health care, transportation, and emergency and social support."

Tommy Douglas Scholarship

Athena Samonte’s parent is Filnor Samonte, who is a member of HSABC/NUPGE. In her essay on the legacy of Tommy Douglas, she recognizes his overall positive contribution to Canadians:

"With Douglas spearheading the first elected socialist government into creating public automobile insurance, passing legislation on the unionization of public service workers, and universal health care for all regardless of financial state, Canada has been able to prosper and grow. What created his legacy was not him but his actions and his drive to make Canada into a just and equitable society for all people."

Young Worker Scholarship

The newest scholarship is awarded to 2 entrants who may be in any level of post- secondary studies, but are under 30 years of age as of the scholarship deadline.

Ran (Lana) Ha Hong’s parent is Seunghyun Nam, who is a member of the BCGEU/NUPGE Local 1203. This entrant creatively used Aesop’s ancient fable of “The Bundle of Sticks,” in which a father challenges each of his quarreling sons to break a stick to illustrate the power of the collective.

The father reminds his sons that together they will be as resilient as the bundle, but separated, as brittle as the sticks. In union, there is strength is the moral of the story that is often quoted to illustrate the strength and resilience of working together as a collective . . . unions have and are accomplishing incredible changes to improve working conditions and ensuring the health, safety, and basic rights of millions of workers in Canada, changes which would have been impossible to accomplish in isolation by a single worker."

Pardeep Birak is a member of the BCGEU/NUPGE Local 1204.  The essay entitled “Contemporary Unionism: Essential to Industrial Relations,” asserted:

"Despite the current proliferation of anti-capitalist sentiment on social media platforms and at many post-secondary institutions, we have not yet arrived at an era consisting of benevolent corporations and employers who prioritize their workers ahead of profit margins. Unions continue to work vociferously to mitigate the inherent exploitation in modern industrial relationships."

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE