Two days later, Lange received a life-changing video call from Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain and the scholarship staff – she had been chosen as a McCall MacBain Scholar.
“When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it,” said Lange. “I remember asking ‘Are you sure? Really?’ I was, and still am, excited, overwhelmed, a little bit terrified - this scholarship will undoubtedly change my life.”
Lange will join a class of 20 scholars, chosen from nearly 700 Canadian applicants through a rigorous seven-month process involving two rounds of interviews. She is the first person from Saskatchewan to receive this award.
As a McCall MacBain Scholar, she will pursue a fully funded master’s degree at McGill University while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program. The scholarship funding covers the program’s tuition and fees, as well as a living stipend of $2,000 per month.
Throughout her time at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), Lange contributed to the political studies student association and worked part-time. She co-founded a community fridge, which provides 24/7 access to free nutritious food, and helps oversee its daily operations including volunteer management and donations. Lange also volunteers with Food Not Bombs Saskatoon, packing and delivering food hampers, and facilitates an educational puppet show program in elementary schools.
Lange currently works as the Youth Program Coordinator at the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute. She will begin a Master of Arts in Political Science at McGill, hoping to continue her research on the use of open-source intelligence in global pandemic preparedness and response.
“I strongly believe in mutual aid. It's about taking responsibility for caring for one another in whatever ways we are able to, giving what we can and taking what we need. This is how we create relationships with one another and build stronger communities where all of us have the chance to thrive and achieve our dreams.”
“We need inclusive, collaborative, and forward-thinking leaders in all sectors and fields,” said John McCall MacBain, who, together with his wife Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, created these scholarships through a historic gift to McGill University. “With this scholarship, students will expand their networks, deepen their leadership skills, and benefit from full funding to pursue their dreams of improving their communities – and the world. Congratulations to these students and the hundreds of candidates across Canada who were considered for this scholarship.”
Each scholar was chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity.
“Nikaela embodies the qualities of leadership and academic excellence that make us so proud of our University of Saskatchewan graduates,” said Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith (PhD), dean of the College of Arts and Science. “Congratulations to Nikaela on becoming Saskatchewan’s first winner of a McCall MacBain Scholarship.”
“Our new scholars have taken different paths towards this moment and will contribute unique perspectives to the scholarship community,” said Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships. “The selection committees looked for leadership potential, a willingness to engage with diverse perspectives, and traits like empathy, integrity, and grit. Our process incorporates a wide range of volunteer readers and interviewers, who understand the candidates and their varied experiences.”
More than 130 Canadian leaders volunteered their time to help select McCall MacBain Scholars. They reviewed nearly 700 applications, interviewed 146 students regionally, and invited 50 to a final set of interviews which took place in March.