this year’s winner of the Shan Walshe Bursary, Kelly Brigham

by: Kelly Brigham (letter from this year’s winner of the Shan Walshe Bursary)

Dear Selection Committee,

This fall I will be attending the University of Guelph, as I have accepted my offer of admission. While just beginning my post-secondary education, I look forward to completing my Bachelor of Science specializing in Environmental Sciences. This is a four-year program, and I couldn’t be more excited to attend and learn more about our environment. I knew I was interested in environmental sciences as my career path because of how much I love the outdoors. I grew up living on a lake where I developed my love for hunting, fishing, camping, horseback riding, hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing and so much more at a very young age, much like Shan Walshe. Some of my favourite memories of these activities took place in Quetico Provincial Park.

I’ve always loved animals and being close to nature, which is why I chose to do volunteer work at Quetico Park. I, along with all of the 2019-2020 Outers, devoted an 8-hour workday into improving the park’s safety as well as its aesthetics. I participated in the Outers program as a Brigade Leader as well as staffed trips in my grade 12 year. This allowed me to experience the park to the fullest and take in everything it has to offer. I really enjoyed my experience as an outer which made me even more certain about what field of study I wanted to pursue in the future.

Throughout my years of high school, I’ve had many volunteer and job placements, as well as actively participating in extracurricular activities. I was a dedicated member of the XC running, basketball, volleyball and badminton teams. Due to my strong interests in sports I’ve volunteered as a scorekeeper, tournament referee, at the Atikokan Ski Club and at the Atikokan Municipal Arena and Swimming Pool. I currently work as an NLS certified lifeguard and as an assistant coach with the Atikokan Swim Team. For the past two years I’ve worked at the Atikokan Centennial Museum as a summer student, where I’ve studied the history of Quetico park and given tours of our paddling gallery.

I take great pride in academic excellence and I work hard to achieve the best grades I can, all while working part-time after school in order to pay for my horses and save money for my education next fall. I’ve been an honour roll student consistently from grades 9-12 in all university-level courses. I have also obtained my Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in the Environmental pathway.

I’ve volunteered as a tutor to help younger high school students in their grade 11 physics class, the same one where I received a 95% as my final grade. I look forward to starting this new chapter of my life and obtaining my undergraduate degree at Guelph University. Thank you for your consideration.