Leadership Scholarship

Liam Kachkar (in the blue shirt) with Outtatown in Burkina Faso last semester

Liam Kachkar (in the blue shirt) with Outtatown in Burkina Faso last semester

Applying for scholarships is tedious work. It can feel like submitting a lottery ticket: what are the chances of actually winning? Students can feel discouraged because the chances of being chosen seem slim. As scholarship “investors,” the return on our investment feels low. But is it really?

I began applying for scholarships in grade ten, but I tended to apply at the last minute and was not very invested in the work. I was happily surprised to earn $250 for a paper, but I focused more on the disappointment of my other applications not being successful.

My attitude toward scholarships began to change in grade 12. I was eligible for way more scholarships than all of the former years combined, so I took the work of applying more seriously. I talked to teachers for help, looked for scholarships on my own, and applied before the night it was due… usually!

I applied for one of CMU’s scholarships in early 2016. I was planning to do Outtatown and then CMU, so I decided to apply for both Leadership Scholarships. My mentality for applying was that of a lottery ticket gambler: I’ll put in this ticket (the essay and references) and if the stars align, I’ll get it. To my surprise, I became the recipient of both the CMU Leadership Scholarship and the Outtatown Leadership Scholarship!

Winning this scholarship has changed my view of scholarships in general. Apply for the scholarship, even if it seems unlikely that you’ll get it. Every one of you has a unique story and view of the topic proposed by a certain scholarship; even if your idea is similar to another applicant, who’s to say your essay won’t be better? I once heard the story of a guy who applied for a women-only scholarship, and because he was the only person that applied, he got it!

Whenever I doubt my chances of receiving a scholarship, I think back on that story. What if I am the only person who applies? The donors who offer scholarships want students to apply. My advice is go and apply, even if it feels like you’re applying for the lottery. You never know; your writing might be exactly what the donor is looking for!

Check out a full list of incoming student scholarships you can apply for here. And don’t forget: the deadline is February 28!

Guest blogger Liam Kachkar is a first year Business student.



I am a second year music student, majoring in voice, with hopes of pursuing a degree in Music Therapy.  I discovered CMU because of its Music Therapy degree program. However, my choice was solidified because of the athletic opportunities available.  In addition to studying music, I have had the privilege of playing on the CMU women’s volleyball team for two seasons.

The combination of sport and music has made my experience at CMU unforgettable.  This unique opportunity has allowed me to enjoy two passions that rarely coincide outside of high school, and has equipped me with diverse friendships that range the gap between teammates and music peers.  Though my agenda can be wild trying to juggle two demanding schedules, I do not consider it a chore trying to fit everything in.  I value time spent pursuing my passions and often consider the work put in as a “study break”.

Living on campus has been a significant factor in helping me coordinate my time and social life with classes and homework.  “Convenience” and “community” are two words I would use to describe the residence at CMU—both of which have made life easier as a “music student athlete.”  With time spent running to and from classes, practice rooms, and the gym, how does one fit in time for homework and friends?  Living on campus has allowed me to combine social time with study dates, and reminded me to make time for actual breaks with friends in a community that has been at my fingertips.

Ultimately, I hope to use the skills I have learned—and am continuing to learn—in the classrooms, practice rooms, and on the volleyball court to pursue a career in Music Therapy.  I have grown to love music and am excited to use this gift as a tool for the maintenance of health and for healing.  I look forward to using music in a way that brings joy to others the same way music and volleyball do for me.

Guest blogger Lacey Siemens is a second year music student

Taking some stress off the money conversation


Money. It’s one of those topics I like to avoid as much as possible, but I tend to stress out about the most. Tuition, rent, textbooks, food; it adds up so quickly!

Here’s the good news: there are ways to get money in order to pay for university! Financial aid has been key to helping me pay for university, and every bit of money helps to make university a little more affordable. Here’s a quick run down of the differences between some of these kinds of financial aid.

1) Scholarships:

CMU scholarships are awarded to students based on achievements and grades. For example, there are entrance scholarships awarded based on your average from high school, and if you keep high grades through university, you also receive “Academic Excellence Scholarships.” Some scholarships are for achievements other than academics, such as leadership.

I received the leadership scholarship at CMU, which is given to students who are involved in leadership in their communities. Receiving this scholarship was one of the things that helped my decision to study here. I felt that by supporting me financially, there were people who believed in my abilities and thought that I could make a positive contribution to the community here.

2) Bursaries:

Bursaries are given based on financial need. They may or may not have other academic requirements, but are primarily based on your financial situation. These can be given from CMU or from an external organization.

3) Grants

One grant that I’ve received is the Church Matching Grant. My church has generously given me financial support, and in response to this generosity, CMU matches the money they have given, up to $500 a year.

4) Student Loans

Student loans come from the government. The best part is, unlike a regular loan, they are interest-free while you are in school. Additionally, you only have to start repaying them 6 months after you finish school.

5) On- Campus Jobs

CMU has a lot of on campus jobs that students can apply for in September, which is a great way to make some money while in school. This means working up to hours a week on campus, doing dishes, vacuuming, live-streaming, or working with the Enrolment Department.

Although money can feel overwhelming, there are ways to make it more manageable. There are many different scholarships, grants, and bursaries offered through CMU, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. Some of the best advice that I ever heard is, even if you don’t think you are eligible for a scholarship, just apply! There are people that want to give money 🙂


Winter Cycling: brilliant or insane?


Former student Matt Veith cycles across campus

As an international student used to 20-plus weather almost year round, winter cycling sounded like torture to me. Why would anyone in their right mind spend extra time on icy roads and freezing temperatures?

My curiosity led me to connect with some CMU cyclists who commit to getting on their wheels even in the worst days of winter. Marika Veith, a third year Social Sciences student, and Dan Epp-Tiessen, Associate Professor of Bible, ride year round. They shared with me some of the motives that keep them cycling.

Marika explained, “I feel more independent when I am biking as opposed to other forms of transport. I am always late to the bus and in many ways I actually have a more dependable form of transport when I bike. I have CMU’s bike co-op where I can keep my bike and use tools. It takes away some of the overwhelming power that winter has over me. Coming from somewhere warm, winter feels debilitating. When I winter bike, it feels like I am leaning into it and accepting what winter is and not being afraid of it.”

I can relate to Marika’s experience because navigating the city during the winter months via public transit is often frustrating. That’s right — I, the South American, have become one of those winter cyclists. After a couple of bruised elbows and some trial and error, I navigate Winnipeg roads at -20 degrees.

While both Marika and I both enjoy the increased independence of winter cycling, others cycle for different reasons.

Dan explains why he cycles in winter: “I am committed to caring for God’s creation, so I try to drive as little as possible and use as few fossil fuels as possible. Enjoying fresh air and exercise and a 30 minute bike ride is a great way to begin and end the work day. Hopping on my bike in the morning and getting some vigorous exercise is much warmer and more convenient than waiting at a bus stop. Years ago, I read a devotional that encouraged readers to do at least one difficult task each day so that when life becomes challenging we will have some resilience and toughness. Winter biking is one way in which I maintain some physical and mental toughness.”

Winter cycling is a way to connect and embrace the city in a unique way. It has the ability to shift how we experience winter and creates room for conversations around environmental concerns. It also requires boldness and hard work. The community of cyclists, although they winter cycle for a variety of reasons, are happy to come alongside new riders.


Social Sciences

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During my first year at CMU, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I love learning and discovering new things, and everything here seems so interesting – how could I choose? That is one of the reasons why I decided to major in Social Sciences, with a focus on International Development. This degree allows me to explore a variety of topics that pique my interest while expanding on the one topic I want to focus on for my future career.

In my classes, I get to explore topics such as social justice, international development, peace, psychology, and religion. In class, I am able to ask hard and confusing questions and not feel embarrassed or uneducated, because my classmates are also curious and often have similar questions.

I love how the professors at CMU use unconventional teaching methods both inside and outside the classroom (literally – it is one of the many perks to having the Assiniboine Forest in our backyard!) This makes learning fun and sparks invigorating conversation. Professors dive deep into different topics and social issues that interest both them and their students, and teach in ways that make class material easy to understand and relate to.

CMU has gifted me with the opportunity to love what I am learning. The social sciences, while challenging at times, allow me to be part of the conversation and help me to be more aware and involved. Without taking classes such as Cultures of Peace and Violence, Third World Theology, and Intro to International Development, I would not have realized that I would like to pursue a career in the nonprofit world as an international aid worker.

I have discovered that I have a passion for education and a desire to ensure that all people have access to basic education. Through my classes, I have discovered that there are organizations which share the same passions as me and are working to make quality education a reality in all parts of the world. As a social science student, I am able to envision my future and get excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead!

Guest blogger Esther Hardy is a third year student in Social Sciences.

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