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.


Just Posted

Updated: Hunting Hills High School student sentenced for making online threat

16-year-old gets a conditional discharge with 12-month probation and 50 hours of community service

Butcher stabbed Johnston in self-defence, lawyer says in closing argument

HALIFAX — Nicholas Butcher was acting in self-defence when he stabbed Kristin… Continue reading

Federal government finalizes regulations to reduce methane emissions

CALGARY — The federal government said Thursday it has finalized regulations that… Continue reading

Man charged with sex offences aiming to resolve charges

Stuart Peter Hunt is facing more than dozen charges related to child sexual exploitation offences

$25-a-day child care program expanded

More affordable child care spaces in Red Deer

WATCH: Thousands of high school students visit Red Deer College for CAREERexpo

The eighth annual CAREERexpo was held at RDC Thursday

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in days after rampage

TORONTO — Grief over the deadly van attack that took place on… Continue reading

Riggers looking forward to another trip to Nationals with season on the horizon

Season opens on May 15 against the Confederation Park Cubs

Update: Pilot likely disoriented in plane crash that killed former Alberta premier

CALGARY — The Transportation Safety Board says the pilot of a plane… Continue reading

What’s new on Netflix Canada, CraveTV in May

A monthly look at what’s scheduled to be added to the catalogues… Continue reading

Air Canada offers to help passengers stranded by a possible pilot strike

MONTREAL — Air Canada has turned the tables on WestJet by taking… Continue reading

Blackfalds drops front licence plate advocacy efforts

The Town of Blackfalds is no longer pursuing mandatory dual licence plates… Continue reading

How the government hopes to strengthen intellectual property in Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government has unveiled new measures on intellectual property… Continue reading

Innisfail solar project could be powering 4,000 homes in 2019

The Town of Innisfail will soon be home to a solar farm… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month