Trained physiotherapist and Mumbai native, Glenda Mendes, wins prestigious scholarship to help support her studies in Fitness and Health Promotion at NC.
Glenda Mendes believes in taking advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. That’s why, when she saw the application for the Ontario Remembrance Scholarship, she decided to apply.
She knew that the competition for this scholarship – the highest monetary award granted to one student at the College – would be tough, but she didn’t let that deter her. Mendes, an international student from Mumbai, India, is now the proud recipient of the $10,500 award.
“Winning this scholarship has meant so much to me,” said Mendes. “Coming to Canada to follow my dreams and advance my career has been amazing, but it has also been difficult, and the Ontario Remembrance Scholarship has gone a long way in reducing my financial burden.”
Mendes is the second international student from Niagara College to receive the Ontario Remembrance Scholarship. The award is funded by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities in memory of the victims of the Ukrainian airliner crash in Iran in January 2020, which claimed the lives of 57 Canadians, including 34 Ontario postsecondary students and staff members.
Mendes started her journey at NC in 2020 after she began researching Canadian programs that could help advance her career. After being awarded the gold medal by the Vice President of India for attaining the highest score in her college during her graduate studies, she began working as a trained physiotherapist in India. During this time she discovered the Fitness and Health Promotion program and felt that it was the perfect path to help her reach her career goals.
“I knew Niagara College was the right school for me after researching everything the Fitness and Health Promotion program had to offer and the caliber of its faculty,” said Mendes. “I was confidant that I would be receiving the best possible education while surrounding myself in a community that was inclusive and culturally diverse.”
Mendes has loved every minute of her time at Niagara College however, it wasn’t an easy road to get here.
After completing the first year of her program remotely from India, she was forced to take a year off from her studies as a backlog of visas and travel restrictions made it impossible for her to reach Canada in time to start her second year of school.
Instead of being discouraged, she took this time to continue learning and gained valuable experience in physiotherapy and rehabilitative practices by working in a spine injury clinic in Mumbai.
By the time she reached Canada in December of 2021, she was more determined than ever to work hard in pursuit of her goals.
“Glenda was selected as this years Remembrance Scholarship recipient as she demonstrated a passion for her program that connects all of her experience, goals and commitments together,” said Marissa Ditto, Financial Aid Advisor for the College. “Not only does Glenda work three jobs, one of which is working in long-term care, she has achieved academic success on the President’s Honour Roll in all of her terms of study.”
“With her previous clinical experience, passion to achieve excellence, commitment to her program, and positive inter-connected focus on wellness, Glenda has proven that she has the attitude and skills to achieve great success.”
Mendes attributes her success at Niagara College to the support from her family, friends and the college community. She also participated in the [email protected] program, took part in numerous workshops for students and has volunteered to be a peer tutor in an effort to help create a positive experience for other NC students.
As for her long-term goals, Mendes plans to establish a non-profit organization that supports seniors in our community by providing companionship and physical activity. She even has a name picked out – Saathee – which means “companion” in India’s native language Hindi.
But for now, she’s looking forward to completing her diploma in the spring of 2023 and plans on becoming a personal trainer.
As for advice for other students she had this to say:
“You never know what you can accomplish when you work hard and apply yourself. This is my proudest academic achievement to date, and I want other students to know that no matter where they come from, they can accomplish great things as well.”