Meet Upskilled's Education Scholarship Winner of 2019
Emma Ewing-Nagy is from Canada and currently studying teaching at Queen's University. Taking a leap of faith and leaving her full-time position as account manager behind, she decided pursuing a career in teaching was the right path for her.
She previously studied a degree in photography and fine arts and after dabbling in freelance photography, Emma was offered a full-time job to take professional shots of children and educators at schools.
She was so inspired by the educators and students she met that this sparked her interest in making a difference in a child's life through education, so changing careers and studying to become a teacher was a no-brainer.
In this Q&A, we learn about what Emma will be doing with her scholarship money, what her 2020 goals are and her insights on why education is so important for individuals and society.
How do you feel about winning the Upskilled Scholarship?
I am honoured to be the recipient of the Upskilled Scholarship for 2019! I knew that this was a very competitive award and that many amazing applicants applied for this award from all over the world. I am extremely grateful and humbled to have been selected as the winner.
As someone who changed careers to pursue my passion for teaching, the Upskilled Scholarship really resonated with me because of their efforts to help students in switching fields. I want to thank everyone at Upskilled for this scholarship and their efforts to ease the financial pressures of students who are dedicated to making the world a better place.
What was the main motivation behind your application?
One of my goals coming into the Education program at my University was to be selected to attend a trip to Kenya that my faculty organises for a small group of Education students. We work with women affected by HIV, providing career training to the mothers so that they are able to work and provide for their families while undergoing the medical treatments they need.
We will be working with their children at the school they attend while we're there as well. I was lucky enough to be one of the thirteen students selected to attend this trip and winning this scholarship helps me make that dream a reality and for that, I will be forever grateful.
What makes education so important for individuals and society?
I believe that education creates a better world for all of us. Education is so vitally important because it allows us to be aware of social injustices that are present in our society. Not only does education make us more aware of the world around us but it gives us the power to question these injustices.
Education empowers us with the confidence and capabilities to know how we can solve these problems and keep us moving forward. I believe that this broader understanding of the world education has given us helps break down barriers between us as human beings, regardless of where we come from and the languages we speak.
What would you say are the most rewarding aspects of teaching?
There is nothing more beautiful than a child’s smile. While teaching certainly has its challenges, there are many incredibly rewarding aspects. I strive to do everything in my power as a future educator to ensure that children of all backgrounds are given the same chance at success and happiness.
I take great pride in being able to create a safe and welcoming space for children to be themselves and embrace the wonderful things that make them unique. When children feel happy and safe, they feel free to learn and explore without pressure and stifling expectations.
It is so rewarding to be able to help children pursue their interests and I feel so fortunate to be able to do my small part to help them feel empowered to follow their own dreams.
Have any goals you’d like to achieve for 2020?
Successfully completing my Teacher Education program at Queen's University and maintain a 4.3 GPA. Upon completion of my program, it is my goal to become an Ontario Certified Teacher. I also recently applied to do a Master of Education and one of my goals is to get accepted into the program and begin my research.
I would also like to spend less time on social media and exploring new activities that will push me out of my comfort zone. I am currently planning to sign up for hip-hop dance classes and sketching classes.
What advice do you have for people thinking about changing careers?
Follow your true passions and the things that make you feel like the best version of yourself. Explore things in your life that bring you joy and look forward in doing. I worked in a job long after I realised I was unhappy. I often felt angry and unapproachable, and more often than not, I had a very difficult time getting out of bed each morning.
Now that I am studying a field I love, I wake up excited each morning with an unshakeable feeling that I have found what I am meant to do. So, even though the idea of a major change in our lives can be scary and daunting, the possibilities can be so wonderfully exciting as well.
Learn more about Upskilled's Education Scholarship
While Upskilled is no longer taking scholarship applicants at this time, you're welcome to read more information
on the application process and how the scholarship can help you pursue your career dreams. Stay tuned on SkillsTalk for any updates regarding applications re-opening again.