The Bell Scholarships and Bell Achievement Awards are among Mount Allison's most prestigious undergraduate awards.

They celebrate students who have demonstrated strong academic ability, leadership potential, volunteerism, extracurricular involvement, work experience, and good citizenship.

They are awarded to outstanding high school graduates from across the country and around the world.

Meet the 2020-21 Bell Scholars

Kenzie Auger
Bell Scholarship
Woodstock, NB

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Woodstock, NB’s Kenzie Auger chose to Mount Allison for a number of reasons: its small size, personal connections, and its ‘feel like home’ advantage. But Auger has embarked on many regional and international experiences during her high school career, including a humanitarian trip to the Dominican Republic as a Duke of Edinburgh Award recipient and being chosen for the prestigious Students on Ice program, conducting research in the Arctic.

“Both of these opportunities were wonderful and obviously very different from each other. I learned a lot about research and working in different communities and cultures,” says Auger.

These experiences, along with a stellar academic record, earned her a Bell Scholarship, one of Mount Allison’s top entrance awards, valued at $56,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities. She is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program with plans to major in psychology.

“Even though it’s been a different first-year experience, I’m happy for the sense of community at Mount A. I moved to Sackville and am taking some of my classes online, along with in-person ones,” says Auger. “The Bell Scholarship has certainly helped to support my education and allowed me to focus on my studies.”

Auger is using her first year to focus on her transition to university. A life-long member of the Girl Guides, she plans to get involved with the organization locally in the future.

“I completed all levels of the Girl Guides program. I got so much out of the program, through camping and volunteer opportunities in the community. I look forward to being able to be involved in it again,” says Auger.

In her hometown, Auger also volunteered at the local soup kitchen and helped assemble care baskets for cancer patients in the hospital. 

Shannon Bowes
Bell Achievement Award
Miramichi, NB

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Shannon Bowes remembers the moment her decision to attend Mount Allison was confirmed. It came with a phone call during the pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

“I got a call from one of the admissions staff members. New Brunswick had been in lockdown for a few weeks so my whole family was home,” she says. “I couldn’t believe I had been selected for a Bell Award.”

Bowes, who is from Miramichi, NB, is studying in the Bachelor of Science program and plans to major in physics. She’s also the recipient of a Bell Achievement Award, one of Mount Allison’s top entrance awards, valued at $44,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities.

Taking classes both online and in-person, Bowes says she has a particular interest in STEM and seeing more females enter the field.

“I hope to pursue graduate studies someday and I want to encourage more girls to look at this field,” she says. “I am volunteering with the local Women in STEM club and we hope to work with the schools in Sackville when we’re able.”

Bowes is also a volunteer with MtA Healthcare Outreach, a member of the Parks Canada Club, and part of a committee working on a new house constitution for her residence.

In Miramichi she was an active volunteer and community member, playing piano for residents at the Miramichi Nursing Home, playing soccer and track, and participating in student council at her high school.

Bowes also worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor, teaching lessons to individuals of all ages. As part of this work, she helped lead a program called Autism Swims, run through Autism Resources Miramichi.

Having two older siblings who attended Mount Allison, Bowes said she had always considered the University. But it was participating in a Royal Canadian Legion Youth Leadership Camp held on campus that also helped guide her decision.

“I attended the camp in Grade 10 and it was great to spend that much time on campus. I was always leaning towards Mount Allison but this experience, as well as the scholarship helped solidify my decision.”

Maggie Kerr
Bell Achievement Award
Fredericton, NB 

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First-year Science student Maggie Kerr, from Fredericton, NB, has been an accomplished musician since she was young, playing both the piano and the cello. When it came time to choose a university and her academic focus, she decided to pursue physics and math at Mount Allison, while also having the opportunity to minor in classics and play the cello with the University’s Chamber Orchestra.

“One of the main reasons I chose Mount A was because I was excited about the research opportunities for undergraduate students,” says Kerr. “There are so many opportunities at Mount Allison to work alongside the professors in so many different areas of physics, it’s incredible.”

Kerr was awarded one of Mount Allison’s most prestigious scholarships — a Bell Achievement Award — valued at $44,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities. She says one of the best parts of the award has been the network she has established at the University.

She says it was music that taught her so much of the skills and competencies that led to her receiving this award.

“Music has taught me so much, including resilience, persistence, and with practice anything is possible,” she says.

Kerr spent two summers in high school attending a music program in Quebec aimed at university students, with instructors from all over the world.

“It was an amazing experience and helped me also get involved at FHS in the string orchestra, band, as well as some community orchestras," she says.

During her first year at Mount Allison she has been involved with the programming competition, solving computer science programs, and is a member of the Classics Society. This term she will be a teaching assistant for math and physics.

“Mount A encourages you to be well-rounded and to pursue interests that might not be explicitly linked to your main subject,” she says.

Kerr has enjoyed her experience living in residence so far and is looking forward to getting more involved as pandemic restrictions change.

“I really like being able to live independently; I think it is an important skill,” she says. “Residence is a nice stepping stone from home to having my own apartment.”

During the pandemic, Kerr says what has kept her motivated is keeping her end goal in mind. She plans to pursue graduate studies and a PhD with an eye on a career in research.

“I have always been a curious person and I like having the answers to things,” she says. “I am interested in working to get a deeper understanding of how the universe works and how everything interacts together.”

Aakanksha Khandwaha
Bell Scholarship
Truro, NS

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Aakanksha Khandwaha says it was in part because of her teachers at Cobequid Education Centre in Truro, NS that she first applied to Mount Allison.

“I applied on a whim, I didn’t know much about the school but had visited campus in Grade 11 as part of my high school’s Relay for Life team. Several of my teachers at CEC recommended Mount A and I learned more about the school’s programs, and the Bell Scholarship in particular. Mount A was the perfect match for me, I just didn’t realize it was at the time,” she says.

Khandwaha applied and as the saying goes, the rest is history. She is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program with plans to study biochemistry, math, and computer science, and minor in the arts. She is also the recipient of the Bell Scholarship, one of Mount Allison’s top entrance awards, valued at $56,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities.

“I’ve always been interested in STEM and research but also social justice and the intersection between the two. I think it’s really important to look at how these connect,” she says. “The Bell Scholarship is a great fit for me because I’m involved in a wide range of subjects/activities and it gives me the opportunity to combine my varying interests!”

Khandwaha has already started this exploration. In Grade 11 she launched a period access equity group at her high school, working to ensure menstrual products were freely available in all women’s and non-gender-specific washrooms. This group has grown into the Truro Period Collective and continues to improve education and accessibility around periods in schools. Through this work, she also got involved with Code Red Co. an international cooperative that’s also working towards increasing period equity.

She plans to start a similar group at Mount Allison.

At CEC, Khandwaha was also co-president of the Symphonic Band, the Social Justice Committee, and Environmental Club in Grade 12 as well as organized a teen tutoring mentorship program.

An IB (International Baccalaureate) graduate, Khandwaha volunteers with Mount Allison’s Rose Campaign, Because I am a Girl society, EnactusMtA, and is the computer science rep for Mount Allison’s Women in Science Club. She is also a member of the University’s Anti-Racism Judicial Panel.

Through EnactusMtA’s enviroot program and Mount Allison’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Khandwaha is part of a team of students working on a research project exploring how orange peels could be upscaled to be used as particle boards.

“I’m not sure what my career path will be yet, but having the opportunity to do STEM research like this as part of my university experience is amazing,” she says.

She also works for Girl Up Canada on its national team. Girl Up was established by the United Nations Foundation and aims to advance the skills, rights, and opportunities for girls everywhere.

“With Girl Up, it’s exciting to work with individuals across the country,” says Khandwaha. “I’ve been fascinated to hear about the some of the projects happening in other places like Ontario and Alberta.”

Having lived in India, Toronto, and the Maritimes, Khandwaha says she’s thankful for her family’s support and glad she decided to stay in the Atlantic region and attend a small university.

“My mom, along with all the other women in my family, have really allowed me to be able to grow and develop and achieve things,” she says. “She’s genuinely done so much for me, and I’m here where I am because of her.”

Grace MacIntosh
Bell Achievement Award
Valley, NS

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First-year Science student Grace MacIntosh, from Valley, NS, knew she wanted to study at Mount Allison University as soon as she set foot on campus for her first visit.

“I felt at home as soon as I got here,” she says.

MacIntosh was awarded one of Mount Allison’s most prestigious scholarships — a Bell Achievement Award — valued at $44,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities. She says one of the best parts of the award has been the network she has established at the University.

“I really like the interconnectedness of the Bell network already,” says MacIntosh. “Even though things are a lot different this year, we still have that sense of community through Facebook and e-mail. It feels nice to part of a community of like-minded people that I can interact with.”

An IB graduate of Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro, NS, MacIntosh was highly involved at school and in the community. She was President of the Junior Rotarian Interact program, starting a volunteer initiative that assisted a different community group each week. She was the head of communications for the Student Council Executive and took part in the Social Justice Club, Knitting Club, and Posters with a Purpose. She volunteered with the Christmas Index Program, the food bank, Challenger Baseball, and as a junior high tutor with Teen Tutors.

“I’m very passionate about volunteering and helping others,” says MacIntosh.

So far at Mount Allison, she is involved with Rotaract, Make a Wish, Biology Society, and is the SHARE and health and wellness rep for Harper Hall.

Although starting her first year during a pandemic has posed some challenges, MacIntosh says making so many new friends has been the best part of her first year.

“It seems like it would be hard to make friends during this time, but the whole experience has brought us all closer together,” she says. “In residence it has been a weird year with all the restrictions, but we still have that family feeling.”

MacIntosh intends to major in biology and double minor in women’s and gender studies and psychology with the plan to attend medical school and become an OB-GYN.

“I absolutely love biology and I have always been interested in medicine, but I am also interested in obstetrics and gynaecology for the social justice aspects of it,” says MacIntosh. "Understanding the racialized and gendered nature of this field of medicine has made me really hopeful to be able to work against these oppressions.”

Isaac McCardle
Bell Scholarship
Charlottetown, PE

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First-year Science student Isaac McCardle, from Charlottetown, PE, says being named a Bell Scholar was a big part of him choosing to come to Mount Allison.

“It was a big part of me choosing to come to Mount A financially, but also it was really meaningful to be recognized for my past involvement and volunteering as well as my academics,” he says. “I also really enjoyed the application process and meeting with interesting people.”

He was also looking for a strong academic reputation and to experience someplace new, close to home. When he visited campus for Open House, Mount Allison moved to the top of his list.

McCardle was awarded one of Mount Allison’s most prestigious scholarships — the Bell Scholarship — valued at $56,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities.

McCardle joined a junior sailing camp at the Charlottetown Yacht Club in Grade 5 and has been sailing ever since. He began coaching at the camp three years ago and has sailed throughout the Maritimes and in Bermuda and Turks and Caicos.

“I have had many memorable experiences, especially from coaching, but my time sailing in Bermuda was one that really stands out for me. Exploring a new place by sailing along the coast was incredible and I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to do it," he says.

McCardle is also a pianist, playing in Colonel Gray High School’s concert band and in the school’s musical. He was captain of the cross-country team and competed regularly throughout high school. He was a member of the student council executive, Key Club (a partnership with Kiwanis Club), and completed the three levels of the international Duke of Edinburgh Award Program by volunteering in his community and developing new skills.

At Mount Allison so far, he is a co-floor rep at Harper Hall and has been involved with HealthCare Outreach MtA. He also began running with the cross country club team.

Despite the pandemic, McCardle is really enjoying his first-year at Mount Allison.

“I would say my favourite part is getting to know people in a new environment,” he says. “I haven’t had a university experience before, so there were no preconceptions or expectations. The community in residence really sold it for me. I enjoy learning, so that’s my academic motivation and being around my peers who are also studying motivates me. I really want to get the most out of my university experience socially and academically.”

McCardle plans to major in biochemistry and minor in political science, but he is open to the possibilities.

“I could see medical science, healthcare policy, or epidemiology in my future, but so far I’m really enjoying my classes and the distribution credit system that is allowing me to take courses I never really thought about taking before,” he says.

Olivia Nowe
Bell Achievement Award
Liverpool, NS

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They say it takes a village and Olivia Nowe, who grew up in Liverpool, NS, is grateful for hers.

“I come from a town of giving people,” she says.

When Nowe was looking into attending Mount Allison, her ride to Open House unexpectedly fell through. By chance she ran into her third-grade music teacher, someone she hadn’t seen in eight years, and mentioned her dilemma.

“She said, ‘I will take you to Mount A,’” Nowe says. “Both her sons went to Mount Allison and months later I was able to call her about the scholarship I got. I love how full circle it came — she was from that community that supported me.”

The scholarship is one of Mount Allison’s most prestigious — the Bell Achievement Award — valued at $44,000 over four years, including internship and peer mentorship opportunities.

“I’m the first one from my family to go to university, so when I first got the e-mail that they wanted to interview me, I thought I didn’t want to mess this up,” she says, with a laugh.

The community may have put opportunities in Nowe’s way, but Nowe has made the most of each one.

A summer theatre camp scholarship from the town led to a lifelong love of theatre — a great passion to have in the town that hosts the annual Liverpool International Theatre Festival.

“I went back to the camp every summer, it was a big part of my life,” she says. “That all contributed to my own resilience and really did help me grow.”

In Grade 6, Nowe and fellow students helped launch a drama program at their middle school that eventually led to the creation of A Breath of Fresh Air, a community youth theatre group. Nowe was involved from the beginning and throughout high school.

Nowe was also a member of the Queen’s County Girls’ Choir for six years, participated in the province-wide Catapult Leadership Camp, and — a highlight — got to see Barack Obama speak in Halifax in 2019.

Although her high school was small, there was lots to do.

Nowe was co-President of the Student Council and was involved in the Yearbook Club, Kiwanis Key Club, Safe Grad, the Tutoring Program Co-op, and the Scholarship Auction Committee, which organizes an auction each year to fund scholarships for graduating students. She played on the basketball team throughout high school and was co-captain in her final year.

She was also a member of the REP (Respect, Empathy, Positivity) Committee, which focused on mental health advocacy, as well as organized food bank donations and volunteered in the community in other capacities.

Nowe is planning to pursue a degree in modern languages, literatures, and cultures with the long-term goal of teaching English as a second language.

“I’ll be able to speak three languages at the end of it,” she says. “The main language is French, but I will also be fluent in German and have conversational Spanish.”

She’s also looking forward to getting more involved at Mount Allison. So far, she’s participating in the Mounties in the Making blog and is part of the Mount Allison Students’ Union (MASU) communications board, but she definitely plans to get involved in theatre on campus once those activities are able to resume.

“I’m really excited to see what Mount A has to offer in a non-pandemic world,” she says. “But there is a lot that I’ve enjoyed so far. The friends I have made are astounding — it feels like I have known them for years. We’ve made the best of it — Sackville has so many opportunities to have fun, even if you have to follow guidelines.

“Every day I am grateful I get to go to university because not everybody does.”

Sailee Shringarpure
Bell Scholarship
Mumbai, India

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Sailee Shringarpure can’t wait to see snow. Shringarpure, who is from Mumbai, India, was very much looking forward to attending Mount A this past fall, but the pandemic disrupted those plans. Instead, she is part of a unique Mount Allison first: one of a small group of students completing their entire first year of studies without ever setting foot on campus — something that has never occurred in Mount Allison’s 180-year history.

Despite the difficulties of a nine-and-a-half-hour time difference, “all of my classes are in the evening and late at night, which was a little challenging at first,” she says, Shringarpure has dived into her first-year classes as she works toward a Bachelor of Science, majoring in psychology.

“To be honest, I don’t feel that distance between my classes and teachers and friends — they try to connect and I think that really helped,” she says. “The teachers have kept it very flexible and the University has offered me wonderful support. And there are peer sessions so I don’t feel left out. They are doing a good job to bring us together, even though we are apart.”

Still, connecting and making friends from half a world away hasn’t been easy. Shringarpure has used social media a lot to get to know her fellow students and engage with them. She is also a member of MOSAIC, Mount Allison’s multicultural association.

When she finally is able to get to campus, she is looking forward to getting involved in drama as theatre was a key part of her high school experience. She starred as Princess Fiona in a production of Shrek, among many other roles, and also worked in stage management. She was also a member of the National Honour Society, helped put together a weekly newscast for her fellow students, and was President of her school’s Psychology Forum, which raised awareness about psychology and mental health.

Shringarpure was awarded a Bell Scholarship, one of Mount Allison’s top entrance awards, valued at $56,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities.

“I was so grateful to receive this scholarship and honoured to be considered an eligible candidate,” she says. “It made me believe in myself more — that I have potential and capabilities and can achieve what I want to.”

She chose Mount Allison for its small community and its sense of family after admissions counsellor Saniya Korhalkar made a presentation at her school.

“I had never heard about Mount A from anyone,” she says, “but it was so interesting how she presented Mount Allison: a small community, a small family, so united. And there was so much warmth in her presentation, it was so happy and so joyful.”

She says she can’t wait to get to campus to experience that first-hand.

“I’m looking forward to just being in Sackville itself and exploring the small town and small community, being part of a lot of societies and clubs, volunteering, and learning more about myself and what I can do there,” she says.

And, of course, the snow.

“Something I’m really looking forward to is snow and winter in Sackville,” she says. “I’ve never seen snow before.”

Emma Yee
Bell Achievement Award
Toronto, ON

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It was music that brought Emma Yee to Mount Allison University.

“I was singing in the Ontario Youth Choir. Each year the provincial honours choir has a different conductor. That year, Dr. Vicki St. Pierre [Mount Allison Music professor and interim dean of arts] was conducting,” says Yee. “We talked after the rehearsal and I learned that she taught at Mount Allison. I hadn’t heard of the university before Grade 12.”

Yee is now pursuing two degrees, a Bachelor of Music in voice and a Bachelor of Arts with plans to major in history. She is also a recipient of the Bell Scholarship, one of Mount Allison’s top entrance awards, valued at $56,000 over four years, including an internship and peer mentorship opportunities.

“I had a chance to visit Mount Allison pre-pandemic and I knew it would be a good fit for me,” she says.

While classes and rehearsals look different than in previous years, Yee, who is from Toronto, ON, says she is enjoying the campus community, both virtually and in person. Along with her studies, she is a member of the Choral Society, and an arts and culture reporter for The Argosy, Mount Allison’s independent student newspaper.

An IB (International Baccalaureate) graduate from Bayview Secondary School, Lee also turned her love of reading into a wider hobby.

“In high school I became involved with Inspire Teen Reads, a non-profit organization that aims to encourage youth’s love of reading. I’m currently part of their leadership team,“ she says. “I noticed a lot of my peers either weren’t reading for pleasure or not talking about it if they did. We wanted to encourage the conversation around reading for fun.”

Yee also found creative ways to connect with other students to practise her love of theatre during the pandemic lockdown in the spring of 2020.

“I worked with students across Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. on online play readings and productions. It was a lot of fun. I was so happy to be able to participate in Mount Allison’s Drama program’s online productions this fall,” she says.