Stories shared by recipients of the latest Canadian Federation of University Women White Rock/Surrey bursaries “really resonated,” says the organization’s vice-chair.
“When we think we have come so far, the reality is, the same challenges are still there for many young women,” said Penny Harrington.
Presented in late September, the bursaries aim to boost education efforts of White Rock, Surrey and Langley women who are either working towards a university or college education, or aiming for a career in the trades.
Recipients for the 2022-2023 school year were Melissa Kramer ($3,000), Crystal Jiang ($4,000) and Kelsi Siebolts ($3,000).
Kramer, who is pursuing a master of arts degree in counselling psychology at Trinity Western University, has worked for 14 years with neurodiverse adults who have developmental disabilities.
She told CFUW members she aims to specialize in working with the population, after seeing “time and time again how many of these individuals experienced challenging circumstances but were not offered any therapeutic support, or when that was an option, very few counsellors were familiar with the field and would not take clients with diversities on.”
Jiang, who grew up primarily in Surrey, said she was influenced to pursue studying commerce by her parents, who owned a small ethnic grocery business for more than 15 years.
A graduate of the UBC Sauder School of Business, she started at the UBC Allard School of Law in September, and is currently working as a competition law officer at the Competition Bureau.
Jiang was presented with the organization’s Mary Fran Bateman Memorial Bursary, in honour of the past CFUW member, who died in August 2021.
Siebolts, who was raised in Cloverdale but currently lives in Langley, told of a long-held goal to teach that was slightly delayed by parenthood. She graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s educational assistant program in June 2020, and is currently 11 classes away from her bachelor’s degree.
Her biggest inspiration, said Siebolts, is her son Luca.
Harrington, noting the club’s focus this year is ‘Women’s Empowerment,’ said the bursary recipients “truly reflect the challenges women continue to battle in building careers.”
For more information about the club, visit cfuwwhiterocksurrey.com