2013 Winners

Sudbury | Aspiring Achiever Scholarship

Laurel Ashick-Stinson

Laurel Ashick-Stinson

Choosing a career path is not always an easy task for senior high school students. Some struggle to decide what direction they should take as they map out their lives, while others have known since they were children.

Laurel Ashick-Stinson of Sudbury has decided to pursue her goal of becoming a civil engineer. It wasn't always her lifelong desire, but along the way, a guiding hand helped her realize it is what she is meant to do.

The Grade 12 Lasalle Secondary School student is involved in her school, as co-vice president of student council and president of the music council, along with being a member of the senior concert band and senior jazz ensemble.

She has also been a part of Girl Guides of Canada for the past 13 years. It was there that she met a Guide leader, when she was a young teenager, who became her mentor and friend.

Andrea Jenney had just graduated from university as an environmental engineer, and had continued her involvement in the Guiding movement.

"Andrea and I share many things in common – a love for Girl Guides, a love for leadership, a love for the outdoors, and a passion for engineering," Laurel wrote in her essay. "She has helped me more than I, myself, even probably am aware of, as through her she has aided me in opening up, realizing my full potential, and most importantly, the realization of what I want out of life."

Laurel had thought about becoming a physiotherapist for a long time, but she discovered she didn't have a passion for biology.

"I am good at math and enjoy physics, and I am taking a drafting course at Lasalle," she said. "I thought about what I can do with drafting, and I thought about architecture, but then I thought about engineering."

Andrea never pushed Laurel to consider engineering. Instead, she spoke of her own career and how much she loved it. Once she decided it was what she wanted to pursue, Andrea was there to offer guidance.

"At one crucial point in my planning stages for the future, Andrea and I spoke about possible schools for me to choose to study engineering," Laurel wrote in her essay. "(She) gave me direction and guidance towards university life, classes, school traditions, and what kinds of things I could look forward to in further education and beyond into the working world."

Beyond supporting Laurel's choice for post-secondary education, Andrea has also been there to help her through some tough times.

"Andrea is a remarkable woman, that through all of her good deeds and full life, it makes me only want to work that much harder to be like her one day," Laurel said. "She influences and awes me in so many of her views and ways, as she only aims to help by creating a better world by countless good deeds and acts. She inspires me to be a better person."

After Laurel went into the next level of Guiding, which is Rangers, she remained in contact with Andrea.

"In the Guiding movement in Sudbury, we always have bridging events and all the different levels of Guiding are involved," she said.

Two summers ago, she applied and was accepted to the Ontario Girls Advisory Forum. Andrea was also named to the forum, as chair.

"It really helped to stay in contact with her and we drive down together to the meetings," she said.

Guiding will remain a part of Laurel's life, as she plans to continue her involvement once she begins her studies at Queen's University in Kingston in the fall.

"I would encourage any girl to join," she said. "A lot of girls who are shy come right out of their shells. Guides is a safe space and no one will judge them."

The movement creates lifelong friendships and the leaders, like Andrea, are good role models.

"In Guiding, you get a real person and they have done real things and they are there for you."

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