Grade 12 Elphinstone Secondary School student Clare Lyle is spending this weekend in a series of interviews that will decide whether she receives an award of up to $80,000 to pay for her undergraduate studies in Canada.
The 18-year-old Gibsons girl is in the running for the Loran Scholar program — the only Canadian scholarship based on a mix of academic achievement, extracurricular activity and leadership potential. The program also boasts a mentorship and summer program for students.
Lyle heard about the Loran Scholar program through her counsellor and said it “sounded like a great opportunity.”
“Beyond covering tuition and most living expenses, the Loran award has a great mentorship program and they really push you to do something outside your comfort zone in the summers so you grow as a person, which is what university is all about,” she said.
Lyle was one of more than 3,500 applicants to the program this year. She has made it to the final cut of 73 who will travel to Toronto this weekend for a series of national interviews.
“Before being selected for national interviews, I attended regional interviews in Vancouver with 30 other applicants. It was an incredible experience to meet all of the other interviewees, and more than a little humbling, since everyone there was so accomplished,” Lyle said.
A press release sent to Coast Reporter this week shows that judges have taken notice of Lyle's accomplishments outside school.
“Clare plays clarinet, bass, saxophone, cello and piano in school and community bands. She volunteers for the school basketball program and organizes kids' basketball camps. Clare has volunteered at the local animal shelter for the past eight years,” the press release highlighted.
In addition to her extracurricular activities, Lyle does well academically and plans to go into bioinformatics, which is “using computers to help understand biology better,” she explained.
She's unsure what university she wants to attend at the moment.
“Right now I'm torn between the University of Waterloo and UBC. Waterloo is one of the only schools I've found with a dedicated undergrad bioinformatics program, but UBC has a really interesting first-year science program called science one where you get to interact with the professors a lot more than in a traditional lecture hall,” she said.
Securing an $80,000 scholarship would make the decision less stressful; however, as a finalist, Lyle is guaranteed to receive at least $3,000 from the Loran Scholar program.
She's thankful for the $3,000 award and hopeful about her chances for the bigger prize.
“I'm looking forward to the interviews this weekend,” she said.
“I'm a bit nervous, too, of course, since there's a lot riding on only a few interviews that aren't terribly long, but the worst case scenario is that I get a $3,000 scholarship, so I can't complain.”
Find out more at www.loranscholar.ca.