The Loran Award is one of the biggest and most prestigious awards in Canada. This year, thousands applied but only a small number of outstanding Canadian students were selected as a 2021 Loran Scholar. Each one receives up to $100,000 to explore and develop their talents as they pursue their undergraduate studies.
We talked to Megan Matlock, a 2021 Loran Scholar from Northumberland Regional High School in Stellarton, NS about growing up in a small town, figure skating, and not hesitating to apply.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a small town, Stellarton, in rural Nova Scotia. I have lived here all of my life with my parents and two sisters who I love. I began my figure skating career when I was 3 years old and was a competitive figure skater for over 12 years. Throughout my career, I obtained many provincial titles as well as representing my province at the Skate Canada National Challenge Championships in Montreal in 2017. I also began playing soccer at a very young age and continue to do so. I volunteer many times a week with my former skating club as well as the soccer club I play out of, coaching youth the fundamentals of both sports. I also love to work as I have three jobs as a cashier, waitress and program coordinator for the local soccer club. I enjoy going to school and spending time with friends and family on my off days.
2. What was your reaction when you found out that you were named a 2021 Loran Scholar?
It definitely came as a shock. All finalists had been waiting for the same call on March 12th, unaware of the time it would arrive. I waited anxiously for my answer and when the phone rang my stomach dropped. When I had processed what they were telling me on the phone I didn’t speak. It took days for it to sink in but in the moment none of my thoughts were processing. I proceeded to call my parents and tell them excitedly as they have always been so supportive.
3. What is the most meaningful leadership experience you’ve had so far?
The most meaningful leadership experience I have had would be my position on my school’s students council executive team. I am a co-head of the Communications Committee on students council and my responsibilities revolve around being a role model for the school. While creating the morning announcements and other publications for my school community, I am constantly determined to be a familiar face people feel comfortable around.
4. What motivates you to give back to your community?
The thing that most motivates me to give back to my community is the experience I have had growing up. Growing up in a small town has provided me with much support and opportunity to do great things as a kid. All I wish to do is give back to youth in my community who are just like I was when I was younger and hope to provide them with the same opportunity and mentorship I had as a child.
5. What part of the Loran program are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to the opportunities and the doors this award will open. I have already met so many amazing young people through the Loran Scholars Foundation and I know more will arise in the future.
6. What are you most looking forward to about university? What do you hope to get involved in there?
I am most looking forward to the new living experiences that come with moving away from home. After living in a small rural community for 17 years, my move to London, Ontario will be exciting and opportunity-providing. It excites me to meet new people and become integrated with the student community at Western. I hope to get involved with the athletic community in London as well as their intramurals and youth programs. I am looking to continue to coach youth while I am away as it is such a large part of my life here in Nova Scotia.
7. What advice do you have for other students applying to become a Loran Scholar or to any other scholarship?
I would advise applicants not to hesitate. Speak your mind truthfully and leave nothing out. It sounds cliché but be nothing except yourself because they are looking into who you are as a person and what your motives are rather than what you do.
8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself either still in school studying medicine, or travelling and exploring.
9. What’s one fun fact about yourself? Is there anything else you want to share?
One fun fact about myself is that during the lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 I worked three jobs and was busier than I had ever been.
10. You will be working in three different sectors during the summers between school. What kind of summer experiences do you hope to pursue?
I hope to pursue summer experiences that allow me to travel. I love travelling and exploring and would like to expand my knowledge on the world. I hope to continue working with youth and better small communities like I feel I have here in Nova Scotia.
The Loran Scholars Foundation looks for students who demonstrate integrity, courage, compassion, grit, and personal autonomy. To learn more about the Loran Award and the scholarship application process, visit https://loranscholar.ca/becoming-a-scholar/.