I was proud to celebrate a very special woman last week, at the June 4th Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) scholarship award reception. As you know, I started the CFUW Oakville’s first disability scholarship to award a young woman pursuing post-secondary education who is living with or studying the area of disability and accessibility.
The 2013 recipient of this award is Samantha Miljak, a lovely, dynamic and driven young woman pursuing a combined Honours Bachelor Degree in Arts and Science and Biology at McMaster University. It was my honour to meet her and celebrate with her at the ceremony.
Born with hemiplegic cerebral palsy Samantha focused on school from an early. In doing so she developed an interest in both humanities and sciences alike and excelled in all subject areas. However her most deep-rooted passion lies in the field of health and wellness due to the treatment she received throughout her life. Doctors initially warned her family that she would need to depend on the use of a wheelchair during her adulthood. But because of Botox injections, intensive physical therapy, rehabilitation equipment and a keen sense of determination this is no longer the case.
As Samantha recognizes that not everyone has the same opportunities that she does she thus wants to study medical research to remedy this. The Arts and Science Program will nurture an interdisciplinary perspective to situations, greater ethical concern, and critical thinking skills, which she can use to her advantage during medical school.
This Access Award enables Samantha to utilize her strengths and focus on her studies, alleviating the debt her parents would need to incur to support her.
I’m so proud to help Samantha out and am grateful she sought out this award. This is exactly the kind of young woman I want to empower and I look forward to fostering an ongoing relationship with her.
Together, we can make the world a more healthy and accessible environment for all.