Edmontonian Chloe Gylander, 19, recently received one the top humanitarian scholarships in Canada.
Celebrating its 40th year, the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award is given to about 15 students in Canada per year. This year, 17 people were chosen out of 500 applicants, and Gylander was the only one from the Edmonton area.
“It’s very surreal. I definitely did not believe it when I got the phone call,” Gylander said with a grin.
“It’s slowly starting to set in now that I’ve had some time to process it.”
To be awarded the scholarship, applicants must have extensive humanitarian experience and demonstrate high levels of drive towards making a change in the world.
The young woman has fundraised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton.
Gylander was a leader of the graduate council at Jasper Place High School, captain of multiple food drives, volunteered at the Edmonton Food Bank and was a peer tutor, according to her bio from the awards page.
“It takes a lot of experience in broad areas, so in sports and academics. In volunteering, in leadership. Anywhere you can get it. It’s a long process of writing essays and getting references and waiting a while to get that phone call hoping that you win.”
One of those references was Robert Simpson, her former assistant principal at Jasper Place.
With nothing but kind, positive things to say about Gylander, Simpson also happened to be her football coach. That’s right — at the age of 15, Gylander played on the boys’ football team at her high school.
“I first got to meet her at football tryouts and Coach Tyler and I found out in the first three days we had a pretty great kid,” Simpson said.
“A natural leader. (She) wanted to be involved, dedicated her lunch hour and after school to watching film, breaking things down.”
Gylander said it was a positive experience.
“I wouldn’t call myself an adrenaline junkie, but the feeling of being on the field and hurling yourself towards a 200-pound body — as fast as you can — is definitely an experience. One that I would not change.”
Gylander is currently a psychology major and economics minor in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta.
Once finished her undergrad, she hopes to continue her education and get her PhD to become a psychologist, or pursue a career in law.
When asked why she is so passionate about about helping people, Gylander said it’s about doing good in the world.
“It’s about wanting to make a change in the world and having that drive and that courage to go out there and make a difference.”
The maximum value of the award is $28,000, dispersed over four years to students currently completing their first university degree or diploma at a post-secondary institution in Canada.