It may be hard to imagine what Harrison McCain Scholarship winners Shana Jardine and Alp Ozgoren would have in common. Jardine, from a small New Brunswick town, lives in Alexandra Hall and is fully immersed in the King’s experience through both her Foundation Year Program classes and her daily life, all on the King’s campus. Ozgoren on the other hand, born in Turkey and raised partially near Toronto, lives with his family and takes most of his classes at Dal. But while he might not spend all his time on campus, Ozgoren knows another, equally consuming side of the King’s experience: he’s a guard on the King’s Blue Devils basketball team.
What they share, in addition to the academic achievements that helped them both win the Harrison McCain Scholarship, is determination and a growing sense of their capabilities. And while they each have clear plans, Ozgoren and Jardine see themselves as explorers; they’re wide open to what these next few years might bring.
Shana Jardine’s Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) program checks all the boxes. “I wanted to study journalism, I wanted to go to King’s and I wanted to do the Foundation Year Program,” she explains. “I took a journalism class in my last year of high school and I knew. I was like, this is it for me. I wanted both a small university and a bigger city experience and King’s, with its amazing journalism program, was perfect.” When she learned about FYP, that solidified it.
Jardine set her sights on the Harrison McCain Scholarship. “I wanted it…I needed it,” she says. “My parents help as much as they can but being away from home and in the city is expensive. There are expenses you don’t realize until you’re on your own. I mean I have to pay to do laundry! I didn’t even know there was such a thing,” she laughs.
The moment she got the news that she’d been awarded the Harrison McCain Scholarship lives in her memory. “I’d been checking my emails non-stop once I knew I’d been short-listed. My parents had gone to pick up my sister from a volleyball game when the email came in. I literally shrieked and I completely terrified our dogs. Then I called my mom.” Her parents, she says, were thrilled, but not really surprised; Jardine has been achieving, in one way or another, all her life.
Jardine has settled easily into life at King’s. “I love the size of it. Everyone knows everyone … and I’m being exposed to different opinions and beliefs every day. You feel like you have family here. My professors and tutors…they’re all rooting for us.”
As for her future, she’s both focused and open to what may come. “I love to write. I can see myself in Halifax working in some aspect of journalism. I want to explore videography and documentary film making and use them to communicate social issues that matter to me, like climate change, for example. This is my time to try things out.”
The first thing you notice about Alp Ozgoren is a kind of low-key confidence not uncommon to young athletes. He was known as the best basketball player on his high school team and one of the best in his league. Look past his easy charm and it becomes clear that Ozgoren is a determined guy with a mature vision. Ozgoren has a plan.
“I was looking at Dalhousie,” he says when asked what brought him to King’s. “But I met the King’s basketball coach during the recruitment process, and I started to look at King’s more closely.” Now he’s a guard on the UKC Blue Devils and has little time that’s unaccounted for. It’s classes, daily practice, study, game day, repeat.
In the first year of a Bachelor of Arts program, Ozgoren has not yet declared a major, which suits him just fine. He’s taking a range of courses, all part of giving himself what he calls ‘a wider view’ of things. “For me the university environment is a place to discover things I wasn’t aware of that I might want to pursue.”
Though he sees himself, in the long run, as a potential business entrepreneur, at this point basketball is core to his dreams. “I love to see and experience new things,” he says. “Maybe I can use basketball as a way to travel and see the world and I can spend a year or two overseas playing in a European league.”
Ozgoren may make things look easy, but he’s both earnest and motivated. “Basketball makes me a better version of myself, the best version,” he declares. “I keep getting better, not just as an athlete but as a person. I always want to get to the next level in the game and in my life.” Joining the Blue Devils was humbling, he says. “You go from being the best player on your high school team to being an 18 year-old kid playing with guys in their 20’s. But it really brings my desire to get better to life. I want to be as good as them. And I learn from them.”
His love of the game notwithstanding, being a student comes first, he affirms. “The Harrison McCain Scholarship makes my university experience easier, for sure. But it’s also a way for me to keep myself on track… set a standard for myself, keep improving.” As for how he found out he’d been selected, he was studying. “It was one of those times when I got distracted and picked up my phone and saw the email. First thing I did was call my mom. We had a really happy moment between us. It was great.”
Shana Jardine and Alp Ozgoren are two first year students who bring the total number of Harrison McCain Scholars studying at King’s to eight. Worth $16,000 over four years, the Harrison McCain Scholarship is granted to high school graduates in Canada who have a minimum admission average of 80 per cent, documented financial need and a recognized desire to fund their own education.