Megan Côté uses Scholarship as a Springboard to Change
York had a chance to catch up with the dynamic Megan Côté, about to graduate with a BBA from the Schulich School of Business. Megan has the distinction of receiving the Yamana Gold First Generation Award for York students with high academic merit, who are also the first member in their family to go to university.
Here’s why it matters.
Once awarded, the generous scholarship is renewed each year for four years. “The Yamana Gold Scholarship changed everything for me,” Megan says. “My mom came to Canada as an immigrant from Guyana. When my parents knew I got into York University, and that I also received the Yamana Gold Scholarship, we were all ecstatic. It was pretty intense.”
Megan told us more, “the CEO of Yamana, Mr. Marrone, is a first-generation university graduate who wants to help students of similar background.”
“It was important for me to meet the person behind this gift, and to say thank you in person. I met Mr. Marrone and we talked about our shared experience of being a first-generation university student. He understood completely how your parents can’t always share your pressures, as they haven’t gone through it themselves. It was great to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.”
The foresight and generosity of the Yamana Gold Award has helped 10 students follow their dreams since its start in 2012. That means the Award has counted towards 40 ‘student years’ of tuition at York!
Peter Marrone (LLB ‘84), chairman and CEO of Yamana Gold spearheaded the creation of the award on behalf of the company. Born to Italian immigrant parents, he feels that the award is important because he is the first in his family to attend university, and now he can give back and improve access to education.
Megan Côté continues, “One thing is for sure, receiving the Yamana Gold Award made clear that we are all connected by generosity. By giving a better life to one person, you also touch their family and their community. One gift can connect you to everything.”
“For example, when you grow up in a low-income family, it can limit so much. There were so many things I couldn’t pursue because they were out of reach. Even school activities and sports, all require extra cash to participate.”
“With the scholarship I could do things that I always wanted. For example, I could join Toastmasters. I’m learning new leadership and communication skills every day and that’s because the Yamana Gold Award opened doors for me. Best of all, I can see my self-confidence growing. Now, I am not afraid to stand up, speak up and speak my mind.”