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NUPGE scholarship winners for 2022

"These young people's entries were so well written and filled with such insight that we hope this financial assistance will go some way to helping them achieve their dreams." — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President

Ottawa (01 Nov. 2022) — Each year, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) offers 9 scholarships that reflect its pursuit of equal opportunity for all workers. The scholarships are offered to the children/grandchildren and the foster children/grandchildren of current or retired NUPGE members. Entrants must be engaged in a post-secondary education in a public educational institution. The National Union is pleased to announce the winners of these awards for 2022.

Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship

Melissa Trinh’s parent is OPSEU/SEFPO/NUPGE Local 464 member Lien Huang. In commenting on her field of study, namely, life sciences, Melissa stated that it “prepares health care professionals for the delivery of public services — pertain[s] to many different disciplines including psychology, sociology, neuroscience and medicine — [and] enable[s] health care workers to improve both the mental and physical health and well-being of Canadians.”

Scholarship For Black Students

Eliana Legesse’s parent is Getahun Legesse Gizaw, a member of the MGEU/NUPGE Local 38. Eliana declared that she is looking forward to using the lessons of trailblazers of African descent in her pursuit of a medical degree. Eliana stated that the contributions of 2 incredible trailblazers,

“Drs. Sophia Bethena Jones and June Marion James are prime examples of why Black women can, in fact, flourish in one of the most difficult fields in the world. By being ingenious and dedicated in their work, they simultaneously outdid the steady narratives surrounding Black people and women during their time, and helped invite generations of people from minority groups to excel in medicine.”

Scholarship For Indigenous Students

Carmen Shea’s parent is Terri Lynn Shea, a member of HSABC/NUPGE. Carmen, as a First Nations person, acknowledged the impact of public services on her life. This included services in education, health, legal rights, justice, social services, transportation, the environment and employment.  She stated that “the members of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) are the people who work in these important sectors and provide these critical services to all Canadians.”

Scholarship For LGBTQIS2+ Students

Maya Taylor’s grandparent is a retired BCGEU/NUPGE member Frederick Taylor. Maya, as a UFCW member, has seen the positive role unions have played, witnessing first hand that

trade unions support the LGBTQI2S community by enforcing fair wages for all union members — [they] help support their minority members by preventing and responding to discrimination experienced by their members. Unions have the tools and experience to deal with unfair work environments. The support of unions has always been crucial in securing safe work for all. Overall, the LGBTQ2S communities experience tremendous benefits because of unions.

Scholarship For Students Of Colour

Malaya Douglas’s parent is NSGEU/NUPGE member Lynnette Douglas. Malaya recognized that 

the importance of public services is critical to the full and meaningful participation of people of colour in Canadian society. Therefore, it also becomes necessary for government to acknowledge that public services have not and are not delivered in a fair and non-judgemental way when it comes to people of colour — a significant part of this reality is directly related to systemic racism and systemic discrimination.

Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship

Sofia Begg’s parent is OPSEU/SEFPO/NUPGE Local 304 member Kimberly Begg.  Like Malaya, Sofia also commented that work needs to be done if public services are to be more responsive to the needs of everyone. She stated, “The public service can create environments and services where the public feels safe enough to disclose their disability and then be able to receive service barrier free. Focusing on how those with disabilities can be successful and have something to contribute and are deserving of services.”

Tommy Douglas Scholarship

Lareina Shen’s parent is NSGEU/NUPGE Local 55 member Nan Li. In reviewing Tommy Douglas’s enduring legacy, Lareina observed that “[he] had evidently raised the quality of life of many Canadians. Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has sparked an increase in social and economic inequality and discrimination, we must draw inspiration from Douglas’s compassion and commitment to justice. We must adopt his fighting spirit toward a more equitable world.”

Young Worker Scholarship

Sarah Graham is a member of the BCGEU/NUPGE Local 101. Sarah recognized that unions are still needed to “meet the emerging needs of contemporary workplaces — unions are changing tactics to incorporate digital engagement in their outreach — unions are addressing racism in the workplace and seeking to build respectful relationships with local Indigenous nations — [Exploring] creative ways to reach workers online while taking a leading role in addressing social inequalities will help unions continue to meet the needs of the most precarious and marginalized worker.”

Young Worker Scholarship

Natalie Kathler’s parent is MGEU/NUPGE Local 47 member Russell Kathler. In reflecting on the ways that unions are still important in the contemporary workplace, Natalie asserted, “With the help of unions, the working conditions in 2022 have come a long way from those of a century past. That does not mean however, that the union’s usefulness is done…challenges such as inflation and wage stagnation, the increased use of gig or contract workers, the presence of new technology, the refusal of some corporations and governments to negotiate fairly, and even unexpected challenges such as a pandemic, all require workers to stand together to fight for fair, safe, and equitable working conditions