When Ramandeep Jutla, BCom’17, crossed convocation stage to receive his UTM Bachelor of Commerce degree, he wasn’t alone. In addition to his family and friends, he credits a handful of great mentors and donors as a big part of the reason for his success.
During his first year at UTM, Raman was matched with a senior Commerce student, who helped him navigate many of the challenges of student life, from course assignments to networking.
“He told me my GPA should be impressive, but also the least impressive thing about me.” So, Raman threw himself into student life, eventually becoming president of the Undergraduate Commerce Society and helping to host UTM’s largest ever case competition. He says one, very important thing made all of this possible: scholarships.
“Undergraduate students face many demands. Having a scholarship can free up your time to do amazing things.”
Sandra Gamal is a fourth-year math and French major who was awarded a donor-funded scholarship in her first year. The award has been renewed every year since in recognition of Sandra’s ongoing academic achievement and community service.
“Good grades, part-time work, volunteer commitments, rising tuition fees and a shrinking budget – it’s really hard to balance it all. When there’s one less thing to worry about, it helps so much,” she says. Having a bit of extra money in the bank also opened the door to new opportunities — like study abroad. With the help of a UTM bursary, Sandra spent the month of July at the Institut de Touraine, where she gained a French credit and language skills to last a lifetime.
“We really can’t do it without you,” Sandra insists. “Thank you for giving.”
Charlene Waddell, BA’17, is thankful for the handful of the awards and bursaries she received throughout her UTM education. But she’s even more grateful for the recognition each honour represents.
As a mature student and the first in her family to attend post-secondary school, Charlene faced an uphill battle since first stepping on campus 15 years ago. To help overcome the financial barriers, she applied for every source of funding she could find. The offers of support changed her life.
“Those moments made the struggles feel worth it. I felt as though the donors heard and understood me and that meant so much — more, in fact, than the award itself.”
Having financial support in turn afforded Charlene the time to engage in student life and as a community volunteer. Those experiences led directly to her job with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel.
“Awards like this do more than break down financial barriers; they level the playing field.”