Entrepreneurial ‘farm girl’ lands $75,000 scholarship

All the doors are wide open for a self-described farm girl from small town Central Alberta.

All the doors are wide open for a self-described farm girl from small town Central Alberta.

Maryellen Gibson, 18, says her rural roots set her apart from 3,600 applicants and earned her a prestigious Loran Award, a $75,000 scholarship from the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation.

“A lot of the other applicants are usually from big cities like Toronto and Vancouver and Edmonton,” said Gibson, Lacombe Composite High School student council president. “I was from a farm. I am a farm kid.”

Gibson has run her own sheep operation through 4-H on her parents’ farm near Tees since she was nine years old. Each spring, she has about 100 lambs under her care. Gibson said it’s a lot of work and it takes up a lot of her time but it something that is a part of her.

“I’ve been working in an entrepreneurial situation all my life and I am very grounded from that,” said Gibson. “I think that’s something that was very different and something that they didn’t see in as many people.”

Gibson is one of this year’s 30 Loran scholars from across Canada and one of four Albertans given the nod earlier this month. The $75,000 award will cover her university tuition and accommodation and provide access to summer programs, internship and mentorship opportunities.

“I see myself as a humanitarian,” said Gibson. “I always want to help out whenever I can and get involved as much as I can.”

After graduating from Lacombe Composite High School this year, Gibson will enrol in an international development program at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Gibson said her focus will be on medical and agricultural development in developing countries.

“I would really like to work in public health and sexual education in Third World countries,” said Gibson.

“That’s kinda my dream. So wherever that takes me and wherever they need me the most. I’d love to come home though. I am a Canadian girl through and through.”

Gibson said her parents, Lorna and Bill Gibson, are thrilled there will be no hefty tuition bills in her future.

“They are excited,” said Gibson. “I am a only child so it’s going to be a big change for my entire family.”

Gibson started the application process in September and learned the good news in early February. While she said the process was a lot of work — essays, one-on-one and panel interviews — Gibson said result was well worth the effort.

“I didn’t think this was any way impossible for me to achieve,” said Gibson. “Now all the doors in my life have completely opened and I have so many chances to pursue my dreams.”

It’s the fourth time in recent years that a Central Alberta student has received the scholarship.

Kolby Olsen won it in 2008 and his brother Brady Olsen in 2010. Both were also Lacombe Composite students. Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School student Meagan McLavish won it in 2009.

The Loran Awards are granted annually to university applicants based on character, service and leadership potential.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read