Nelson Mac Schulich winner is multi-talented
Grade 12 Nelson McIntyre student Marina Caracas Le-Fort, a 2022 winner of the prestigious national Schulich Leader scholarship, is no stranger to obstacles.
When her family completely uprooted their lives in Brazil to build a new life in Winnipeg in 2016, “It was really challenging being thrown into a whole new country without any support systems beyond my family and with poor English skills.”
Hard work, family support, teacher mentorship, and an insatiable curiosity for learning has helped her overcome those early struggles.
Schulich took notice, awarding a $100,000 scholarship to finance her entire undergraduate program for the next five years in computer engineering at the University of Manitoba.
Schulich targets students who excel in STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, math), coupled with an entrepreneurial mindset that views education as a driver to effect change, build leadership skills, and make a difference in the world.
Marina’s 97 per cent average got her to the Schulich table, but she notes that “The application essay and questions centred more on achievements and leadership experiences.”
She was vice -pesident of her Junior Achievement team, where she led the production processes of a school company called Sprout, which manufactured hand-crafted wooden propagation products.
Marinaalso helps run the family business, Tag4mypet, an online retail store offering handmade dog and cat tags and collars.
She was the co-chair and driving force of the Nelson Mac United Way youth chapter, designing an ‘asset map’ of drop-in social services to help vulnerable populations find important services quickly.
Keenly interested in climate change, she managed a website for the NorthSTAR Program, a national program designed to study climate data and the effect of climate change on polar bears.
She also knows her way around the woodshop, designing and building her own bed and shelves and creating benches, coffee tables, and patio chairs for her family.
“I’m very curious and I take many online courses to improve my skills. I learned how to code by taking online courses.”
To “free my mind,” she skateboards wherever she can find a bowl, often tucking her board into suitcases during family excursions to Brazil, Chile, Portugal, Germany, and Switzerland.
Marina credits LRSD’s unique skills credential program, available for Grade 11 and 12 high school students for “opening the door to activities that built my application for the Schulich award. Without the credential, I could not win the Schulich.”
The divisional program has helped Grade 11 and 12 students seek activities and build compelling profiles that have earned 10 large provincial and national scholarships in the last five years.
Marina represents the face of Gen Z, a highly creative demographic cohort that embraces entrepreneurial possibilities, crafts with a digital lens, possesses an eye for design, and professes a deep desire to solve problems.
Check out Marina’s website design skills at www.tag4mypet.com
St. Boniface community correspondent
Adriano Magnifico is a community correspondent for St. Boniface.