Three McCall MacBain Scholars Join the Class of 2023

Incoming Max Bell School MPP students Linda Bùi, Sandrine Desforges, and Julian Lam are three of the 20 leaders selected among 700 applicants for the second class of McCall MacBain Scholars at McGill University

This year, the Max Bell School at McGill University has attracted three McCall MacBain Scholars to join our fourth cohort of Master of Public Policy students. 

The McCall MacBain Scholars program is a selective graduate scholarship that enables students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program.  

“Our new scholars have taken different paths and will contribute unique perspectives to the scholarship community,” said Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships. “The selection committees looked for leadership potential, a willingness to engage with diverse perspectives, and traits like empathy, integrity, and grit. Our process incorporates a wide range of volunteer readers and interviewers, who understand the candidates and their varied experiences.” 

Chris Ragan, director of the Max Bell School, is excited to have three McCall MacBain Scholars joining the School’s next class of MPP candidates. “Recipients of the McCall MacBain Scholarship comprise Canada’s most intellectually curious and community driven young leaders,” said Ragan. “We at the Max Bell School are proud to count Sandrine, Linda, and Julian as part of our exceptional fourth class of MPP students.”

Read how they got to where they are and why they decided to join the Max Bell School.

Linda Bùi

With a background in youth engagement, Linda Bùi has a history of organizing diverse projects; her work has addressed issues of climate justice, cultural identity, and leadership, among others. As a McCall MacBain Scholar, she is excited to work with and learn alongside a cohort of multi-disciplinary young people.  

"While students pursuing further education to specialize in their respective fields can often become siloed from other disciplines—and also diverse forms of knowledge—this scholarship program reaffirms the importance of information and resource sharing by people across sectors, governments, and organizations to create meaningful social change,” explained Bùi. “I'm looking forward to learning with the future leaders of medicine, social movements, public policy, and much more.” 

Recipients of the McCall MacBain Scholarship may pursue studies in any graduate program at McGill. When asked why she was drawn to the Max Bell School, Bùi discussed how the MPP program will expand her capacity for change-making. 

“My studies at the Max Bell School will expand my policymaking toolkit while broadening my horizons, helping me better contribute to interpersonal, institutional, and systems-levels change in the future.” 

Sandrine Desforges

Sandrine Desforges has an extensive track record working in student leadership and mental health, serving three terms with the Université de Montréal's federation of students' associations and championing the development of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s National Standard for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students.  

“My previous and current experiences helped me gain an understanding of how policy is developed and evaluated in the fields of higher education, mental health, and gender-based violence—all of these play crucial roles in the fight to eliminate social inequities.” 

The McCall MacBain Scholarship has made possible the next step in her fight for better social policies.  

“I’ve had my eye on the Max Bell School’s MPP program for a few years now,” said Desforges, “So I’m thrilled to be joining the class of 2023!” 

She went on: “In my opinion, resolving systemic problems like racial inequities or the mental health crisis we’re facing requires knowing how the system works and working from within to change it. That’s what drew me to the MPP at the Max Bell School. With its hands-on approach, policy case studies, skills workshops, and Policy Lab, I strongly believe the MPP program will help me expand my knowledge and capabilities, enabling me to bring even more to the table on issues that really matter.” 

Julian Lam 

Hailing from Richmond, BC, Julian Lam graduated this year from the University of British Columbia with a distinguished record of on-campus involvement. Lam contributed to UBC’s International Relations Student Association for over two years, creating a podcast, managing external relations, organizing a speaker series, and ultimately serving as the organization’s president. In addition, Lam served as editor-in-chief of the undergraduate journal of international affairs and advised an undergraduate case competition for climate policy solutions. 

Regarding his fellow McCall MacBain Scholars, Lam is looking forward to connecting and making impactful change with such a talented group of young leaders. “The mentorship opportunity really excites me as well,” Lam said, “as the insights from these individuals will help me strengthen leadership qualities.  

Lam believes the Max Bell School’s MPP program will prove invaluable to his career trajectory. 

“The program will impart to me the necessary tools to develop an intimate understanding of policymaking and development; it will help me learn about the stakeholders involved in policy decisions, not only through curriculum but also through engagement with my fellow classmates, who bring with them a diversity of real-world perspectives.” 

Applications for the 2023-2024 McCall MacBain Scholarship are now open. What advice does Lam offer to prospective applicants? 

“When writing your application, it’s important to be as genuine as possible in expressing your motivations for leadership. Capturing your identity as a leader is critical: how you lead others, how you motivate your teammates, and how you seek to inspire change.” 

Learn more and meet the full second class of McCall MacBain Scholars here.


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