Meet the Winner of the Unilever Voices For Change Scholarship 2023

Mauricea Panchenko, Vancouver Island University

Mauricea Panchenko of Vancouver Island University is the winner of this year’s Voices For Change Scholarship! She’s a student, a mom, an artist, and an all-around busy person, but she still manages to fit in plenty of scholarship applications to support her journey. We asked her to share her tips for winning, and tell us about another big scholarship she received.

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an Indigenous Studies minor at Vancouver Island University. I hope to continue on to my Master’s in counselling. My goal is to have a more holistic, culturally diverse, and inclusive psychology and counselling practice, hopefully in an Indigenous community. 

Other than being a full-time mom, I try to fit in road trips and adventure if I can. I love lots of different art forms including painting, scrapbooking, live music, and lino printing. I am a fan of horror movies, bugs, I collect teeth, a lot of strange things it seems.

How did you find out about the Unilever Voices For Change Scholarship?

Through Googling Canadian student scholarships and grants, I stumbled upon yconic.

How do you choose which scholarships to apply for?

I basically apply for whichever apply to me, and I have the time and energy for! You can’t win if you don’t apply and I hear about a lot of awards that go unclaimed, so since finances are a big obstacle in my education journey I apply to as many as I can.

This isn’t your first scholarship win. What else have you won?

I am a very grateful and lucky person to be a part of the Beedie Luminaries SPARK Program. It makes this journey feel more attainable and accessible. Without the support of grants, scholarships and awards I would not be able to finish my degree. Plus the SPARK program has many other benefits that will help me along this journey so I feel so blessed.

How do you approach your scholarship applications?

I use auto-fill because otherwise my hands would cramp up haha. In all seriousness, I am open and honest, and try to be raw and true rather than say what I think they want to hear. I think that has benefited me in standing out with how much competition there can be.

Do you run your applications by anyone before you submit them?

I haven’t personally but I would definitely recommend others do, so especially for ones that have an essay to include. Any support and help you can get, find it!

If you could sponsor a scholarship in the future, what would it be?

I would love to set up a scholarship for students in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, for students who have faced adversity who are doing work or research attributing to decolonization in their field.

What advice do you have for other students out there applying for scholarships?

Dig when you do your searches. There are so many wonderful scholarship sponsors that may not get as much publicity, and all the support you can get makes a difference in the challenging environment student life can be.

Congratulations to Mauricea from the team at Student Awards. Thank you to Unilever for providing the Voices For Change Scholarship and supporting Canadian students in their pursuit of a post-secondary education. Voices For Change 2024 will be launching soon!

Read more from scholarship winners like Mauricea here.