Recent StFX grad wins prestigious Mackenzie King Travelling Scholarship

Kirsten Gallant

Kirsten Gallant, a recent StFX graduate, has won the Mackenzie King Travelling Scholarship, one of only four students from across Canada awarded this prestigious scholarship. She will start graduate studies at the London School of Economics in the fall. 

StFX nominated Ms. Gallant for the award.

“The Mackenzie King Scholarships are awarded to a very small number of students from across Canada following a very competitive national process and our nominees must first pass through a rigorous internal review process. StFX is delighted that Kirsten was successful in receiving a Mackenzie King Travelling Scholarship this year and we wish her every success in her studies at the London School of Economics,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies. 

“It is an honour to be chosen for the Mackenzie King Travelling Scholarship and be recognized for my accomplishments among many other talented applicants,” says Ms. Gallant of Antigonish, NS, who will pursue an MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics).

“Receiving this scholarship will help ease the financial stress of studying abroad and allow me to pursue International Health Economics at LSE, a leading institution in this field. This is a unique opportunity as there are few Canadian graduate programs that specialize in health economics, and even fewer that do so with an international perspective.” 

She says she was both in disbelief and overjoyed when she learned the good news. 

“I couldn’t wait to tell my family, friends, and references, as they have been a constant source of support.”

The Mackenzie King Travelling Scholarship is open to graduates of any Canadian university pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in the United States or the United Kingdom, focusing on international or industrial relations. The award was named after William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th Prime Minister. Four students across Canada are chosen and the selection criterion is based on high academic achievements, personal qualities, and demonstrated aptitudes. This scholarship provides Canadian students with the opportunity to broaden their outlook and contribute to understanding the problems and policies facing other countries.

Ms. Gallant says W.L Mackenzie King was very influential in the development of the government’s role in social welfare, and she hopes to continue to honour his legacy as an alumnus of this scholarship and improve social wellbeing by helping create health policies that are equitable and sustainable to all members of society.

“I was very grateful that StFX endorsed my application, as I wouldn’t have had the chance to compete in the national competition otherwise. I am very thankful for the Research Services Group at StFX. They have facilitated bountiful opportunities to secure research funding as an undergraduate student and continue to support me as an alumna. These opportunities and recommendations have been critical in helping me build strong applications to achieve my academic aspirations and advance my career.”

Ms. Gallant graduated from StFX in 2019 with an honours in economics and a subsidiary in mathematics. She received the University Gold Medal for the Faculty of Arts, the Dr. D.J MacDonald and Dr. A.B MacDonald Memorial Prize for Economics and was named to the President’s Circle of Young Alumni upon graduation. 

“Throughout my time at StFX, I was able to gain extensive research experience with support from various research grants (the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation Scotia Scholars Award, the RBC Research Internship Award, The Irving Research Mentorship Award, and an NSERC USRA Award). I was also able to gain international and entrepreneurial experience through the Wallace Family Internship and the MacBain Riley Global Achievement Award,” she says.

“It’s difficult to put into words the profound impact that StFX has had on me. Coming to StFX, I didn’t know what I wanted to study, but felt encouraged to explore different avenues and new ways of thinking. Through excellent relationships developed with professors who had an obvious love for their discipline, I found my passion for economics and math.”

She says her professors at StFX were instrumental in helping her shape her research interests by encouraging her to get involved with their work beginning in her first year – “an opportunity not often afforded to students at larger institutions.” 

The StFX impact extends well beyond the classroom, she says. 

“Being involved in the Students’ Union and on-campus committees, I had the opportunity to contribute to my community and expand my leadership abilities. The loyal alumni network has already opened countless doors, and the connections I made at StFX continue to be some of my most important relationships.”