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In 2019, a team of fourth-year computer science students completed a capstone project that successfully used brain waves to fly a drone.

$1-million legacy gift creates transformational bursaries

December 14, 2020
Twelve computer science students in MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs will receive a major financial boost starting in 2022 – and every year after – thanks to a generous $1-million donation from an anonymous donor.

The Larissa Bursary, funded by an endowment created with the thoughtful legacy gift, will help students overcome financial challenges that could prevent them from finishing their programs – and ultimately ensure that well-educated graduates contribute to advancing an industry the anonymous donor cared deeply about.

“We are incredibly grateful for this thoughtful and generous donation,” says Dr. Melike Schalomon, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. “These bursaries will make a real difference in the lives of students who are struggling financially to complete their studies, and make it easier for them to go on to contribute to the field of computer science in a meaningful way.”

The external recognition, says Schalomon, also makes a strong statement about the quality of the university’s computer science offerings. Students majoring in computer science at MacEwan learn through applied classes and a demanding capstone course that allows them to test their new knowledge and skills in real-world applications in the community. Over the last decade, enrolment in the program has increased tenfold. Today, the university’s 350 computer science majors choose general computer science or one of three additional streams: gaming, databases and interactive visualization, and system and information security.

“Our society’s current circumstances would look a lot different without technology,” says Dr. Cameron Macdonell, associate professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science. “Dealing with COVID-19 has shown us just how important it is to have young people who can bring new ideas and skills that will develop the important technologies we will be using in years to come. I’m excited that this new bursary will open doors for more students to do that.”

Making it easier for those students to reach the end of their programs is the goal of the Larissa Bursary – the most generous financial award currently available to MacEwan students.

Each year, interest generated from the endowment will fund four $5,000 bursaries for third- and fourth-year students who have declared a computer science major or minor. An additional eight $2,500 bursaries will be available to students enrolled in a computer science course, with priority being given to first- and second-year students. To be eligible, students must demonstrate financial need, be enrolled full-time and be in good academic standing.

Male student at convocation photo

Supporting scholarships and bursaries

Our donors create opportunities for students to succeed.


Mind control

It was almost crazy to think four fourth-year computer science majors could control a drone with their minds. Almost.

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