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Pathways to a brighter future
Aina Rabesoa has experienced firsthand the transformative impact of philanthropy on her life and education. She joined the first cohort of SFU Uggla Family Scholars in September 2021 and is currently in her second year of studying computer science.
The Uggla Family Scholarship, which was made possible by a visionary commitment from SFU alumnus and business leader Lance Uggla (BBA ’85) and his family, supports 10 exceptional students each year who may not otherwise be able to afford a university education. We sat down with Aina to talk about her student experience, what this scholarship means to her, and why it’s important to give.
A Q&A WITH AINA
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FIRST FOUND OUT THAT YOU RECEIVED THIS SCHOLARSHIP?
I submitted my application with my mom’s encouragement, but never thought I’d actually get it. When I saw the congratulations email, I just started crying. My mom and dad were beyond thrilled of the news, and my sister was just filled with immense joy as well. I remember feeling like so many doors opened and I could fulfill my dreams of going to university. It was a very emotional moment. It felt like a new chapter of my life had started.
WE WOULD BE EMOTIONAL TOO! THE SCHOLARSHIP CLEARLY MEANS A LOT TO YOU.
The Uggla Family Scholarship not only removed financial barriers, but it also helped me become more confident in my capabilities, what I’m able to do, and my capacity to make a difference in the world. Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be as driven as I am now—it really nurtured me to strive and always seek my potential. The scholarship has allowed me to be further connected with my community: by living in the residence, meeting fellow scholars, and creating new connections through events, workshops and other networking opportunities.
WHAT ARE YOU AIMING TO ACHIEVE IN THE FUTURE WITH THIS SUPPORT?
This scholarship has made me feel very hopeful for the future. I’m originally from Madagascar, where many kids struggle to access education. My goal is to share what I’ve learned in university by teaching computer science in my home country, so that kids can learn and obtain some kind of education. Education is how we get out of poverty.
WHY IS GIVING SO IMPORTANT?
Not everyone is able to access a postsecondary education. There are so many brilliant people who can’t realize their full potential because of financial and other barriers. I am beyond thankful to have received this scholarship. In the future, I want to do the same for someone else by giving back to SFU, which has been such an open, inclusive and welcoming community.
"To all of SFU’s generous donors, I want to say: your help is so tremendous, your help is changing lives. You’ve made it possible for me and many other future leaders to achieve our dreams."