In 2021, there were three recipients of Mennonite Church Alberta tuition bursaries, which offer an incentive for young people who attend an MC Alberta congregation and have enrolled in a Mennonite/Anabaptist post-secondary institution. Bryant Neufeldt of Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary and Danika Warkentin of Springridge Mennonite Church in Pincher Creek were asked what they are up to now, what their dreams are for the future, and how the bursary has impacted their education. The third recipient was Elijah Koop of Foothills Mennonite Church.
“Over the past year, I have continued along with my post-secondary education at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). This year, I am going into my fourth year as a social sciences major with a focus on counselling. Alongside my degree work, I have been working at CMU’s local café, Folio. It has been a great way for me to engage with friends, fellow students and faculty, and to find a joy and love for making coffee and non-caffeinated beverages.
“As I approach the final years of my degree, hopefully a year-and-half left, my hopes and dreams are to pursue a career in physiotherapy. This has always been a long-term goal for me, as I am fascinated with how the body moves and helping individuals heal. The more I dive into exploring the field, the more interested and motivated I become to pursue it.
“CMU has granted me the opportunity to explore the world of physiotherapy through its practicum program. For my practicum, I had the chance to shadow physiotherapists in different environments and with a variety of clients. My experience in practicum is not one I will soon forget, as it has been a primary motivator for me to pursue physiotherapy now that I have had a chance to be physically present in that type of environment.
“My education at CMU has given me opportunities beyond just writing tests and essays. I engaged a lot with what CMU has to offer in its student leadership roles which has helped me touch on my leadership side that I don’t often get a chance to display. For the past two years, I have been a residence assistant for the dorms and for the apartments in the CMU resident buildings. This has given me a chance to develop and explore leadership roles in planning events, leading various students in activities, and creating a safe and fun learning and living environment.
“The MC Alberta bursary has helped me not just financially, but has also allowed me to experience all that I have highlighted above that is inside and outside of the educational landscape of CMU.”
“This past year I have been completing my second year at CMU, with a major in peace and conflict transformation. I have loved directing the sports and rec committee on campus, as well as talking to people living in residence or in my different classes and activities.
“I have big dreams of travelling and living in places around the world in order to broaden my horizons and challenge my perception of what is ‘normal.’ I would love to find people-centred work that helps to improve the spiritual, emotional and physical quality of life of those around me.
“My education in an Anabaptist institution has propelled me to realize that education can be more than just a way to begin a well-paying career. The interdisciplinary nature of CMU’s classes and programs means that I get a more well-rounded perspective of the world, and can make intriguing connections between different topics that affect my life in deep, personal ways. This helps to shape the type of person I am, the type of work I pursue, and the quality of my relationships with others. It contributes to my overall well-being, instead of only aiming to fill my head with regurgitatible knowledge.
“The bursary allows me to have easier access to the wonderful benefits that CMU offers. For me, postsecondary education is a wonderful and exciting journey that I have the privilege of taking on. Because of the bursary, I have the freedom to truly think about where my passions lie, instead of being overwhelmed by the stress of picking the right career path the first time. I am afforded the flexibility to try new things, challenge my assumptions and dig deeply into what it means to identify as an Anabaptist at this time.”
As of 2021, CMU also offers a church matching grant program that allows undergraduate and graduate students attending CMU, who receive financial support from their church, to have that support matched by CMU up to $250 per semester, to a maximum of $500 per year. International undergraduate students can receive up to $500 per semester, to a maximum of $1,000 per year. Students from MC Alberta congregations can apply for the bursary at www.mcab.ca.
—Correction, July 20, 2022: Bryant Neufeldt’s first name was previously spelled incorrectly.