Incoming DMD Student Janelle Brown-Walkus wins Prestigious McCall MacBain Scholarship

Aspiring policymakers, health innovators, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders are among the 20 newly selected McCall MacBain Scholars at McGill, Canada’s comprehensive leadership scholarship program for master’s and professional studies.

Former McGill grad (BSc’ 18) and incoming DMD student Janelle Brown-Walkus has been awarded a McCall MacBain Scholarship, Canada’s first leadership-based scholarship for master’s and professional studies.

The scholarship provides mentorship, coaching, a leadership curriculum, and full funding for a master’s or professional program at McGill. The funding covers the program’s tuition and fees, as well as a living stipend of $2,000 per month.

Janelle is the first McCall MacBain scholar the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences will welcome. With this scholarship she joins an elite group of 20 scholars, chosen from nearly 700 Canadian applicants through a rigorous seven-month process that involved two rounds of interviews.

“It almost felt surreal to hear the news”, says Janelle of receiving the news that she had been selected. “After hearing the news, I felt a bit of disbelief, a sense of relief, but above all, I was feeling eager to start this new chapter.”

While pursuing her undergraduate studies at McGill, Janelle helped run AISES, a campus group for Indigenous students in STEM, and co-coordinated First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth outreach for the Let’s Talk Science chapter. She also started a non-partisan club for public policy discussions, served on the executive team of the pre-dental student society, and worked as a mentorship program coordinator. Janelle recently earned a Master of Science in Dentistry degree from the University of Toronto, where she wrote a thesis on First Nations perceptions of quality preventive oral health care in First Nations communities.

Janelle hopes to hone her skills through the DMD program to help improve dental care for Indigenous peoples across Canada. “This scholarship means so much more to me than just a financial award to support me through dental school; it enhances my opportunities to create change and grow as a leader in my field and for my communities, says Janelle of receiving this award. “I believe that the leadership and mentorship components of the scholarship program will be incredibly fruitful and I am excited to see the growth and progress that I make over these next four years!”

In addition to the 20 McMall MacBain scholars, 54 entry scholarships of $5000 and $10,000 were rewarded to promising candidates. Among them was Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Science DMD student Sabrina Bouferguene. Sabrina won a McCall MacBain Finalist Award for $10,000 to go towards her master’s degree in the Faculty.

“Dentistry has always been in the vanguard of technologies, integrating the best quality of evidence into practice almost on a daily basis”, says Sabrina. “Thousands of researchers across the globe are paving the way for a new evidence-based practice of dentistry, and there is an absolute beauty in this idea. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that at the end of the day, new improvements will only benefit an extremely limited number of patients who can afford it, while the most basic needs will not be met for the majority. As a researcher, development is always in the front row of my mind; as a future dentist, I wish only the best treatment for my patients; but as a healthcare professional and future advocate, achieving equity in oral health care is my only true goal.”

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