A student from Halifax Regional Municipality is one of 33 Atlantic Canadians, and 400 across the country, to receive a Ted Rogers Scholarship.
Autumn Sweeney was born in Ireland and moved to Nova Scotia with her family when she was 10 years old.
Now 18, she is a recent graduate of Charles P. Allen High School's International Baccalaureate Program.
During her four years of high school, she was a competitive swimmer, which led to her becoming a swim instructor and lifeguard. But it was her volunteer work with Halifax's chapter of Pflag Canada that resulted in her being awarded the scholarship.
The national organization -- which offers peer-to-peer support on issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression -- nominated her.
"It was a big surprise honestly to me," Sweeney says. "At first I didn't even realize that I would be able to be nominated."
"After I applied and I heard Pflag nominated me, it was an honour just to be nominated and I felt super happy. At that point I had no idea I would get it, so the whole thing was quite a shock," she added.
Sweeney will be studying biology at the University of Guelph this fall. She hopes to specialize in microbiology, which focuses on diseases and viruses. She says that was her plan even before the outbreak of COVID-19.
And as she starts looking ahead to next month, she says the scholarship will be quite helpful,
"There are so many expenses I didn't even realize were a thing," Sweeney says.
Ted Rogers Scholarships provide $2,500 renewable scholarships for up to four years or $10,000 to recognize young leaders who are giving back to their communities in a meaningful way.
Now in its fourth year, $6.5 million in scholarships have been awarded to 1,400 young Canadians as they embark on their post-secondary studies.
Rogers is a partner of HalifaxToday.ca.