Amiri is currently working as a parliamentary intern. (Christian Diotte - Special to The News)

Maple Ridge woman earns scholarship to study law in Montreal

Somaya Amiri, 23, awarded McCall MacBain scholarship at McGill University

Maple Ridge’s Somaya Amiri is one of 20 Canadian students receiving a McCall MacBain scholarship for studies at McGill.

She completed a bachelor of arts degree in political science at the Montreal university, and will pursue a law degree starting in September 2021 thanks to the program, which is in its inaugural year.

“I feel quite privileged to have the access (to the scholarship),” Amiri said.

The 23-year-old has had to work extremely hard, and seek out every opportunity available to her since moving to B.C. from Behsud, Afghanistan at the end of 2011.

“My life in Afghanistan was completely different in every regard,” she recalled.

“Coming to Canada in the middle of Grade 9 was a huge culture shock, but I had the support of many amazing community organizations in high school, as well as the refugee community.”

READ MORE: Former Pitt Meadows Secondary principal starts scholarship in memory of former student, Jassi Sidhu

Shortly after Grade 11 started for Amiri, she began thinking about what it was going to take to pursue a post-secondary education.

“I went to my career counsellor and asked them what I could do,” she said, noting her parents could not afford to send her to university.

Amiri said she was provided with a big list of scholarships available, and she diligently went through them all.

“I went back and forth to different teachers, my counsellor, and youth workers to constantly ask for help applying for things,” she said.

“And that gave me a confidence and trust in myself.”

If there is advice she could pass along to other bright students facing financial challenges, Amiri said it would be to pursue these scholarships.

“A lot of them go unclaimed because young people don’t apply,” she said. “I know so many amazing people from marginalized communities who did not have the confidence in themselves to pursue these scholarships.

“They’re scared or worried when they see words like service and leadership, as they can be daunting for young people.”

Amiri said it would be nice if counsellors and teachers could talk to their students even more about scholarships opportunities.

“When people trust in your future, you gain trust in yourself,” she said.

While studying at McGill, Amiri has done her best to extend a helping hand to others.

She was inspired to start a student group to support other immigrants and refugees at the university, and also volunteered with McGill’s comparative health club for four years, during which she organized a 150-person conference on women’s health.

Amiri does not have specific plans on what she will do after law school. She currently works as a parliamentary intern, so possible roles as a policy advisor, a lawyer, or aiding not-for-profits are all on the table.

“I’m very open, and don’t want to be too rigid on my next steps. The sky’s the limit,” she said.


Have a story tip? Email: ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

maple ridgeScholarships

Just Posted

Maple Ridge city hall (The News files)
Maple Ridge turns to public for consultation on transportation plan

Mayor encourages all residents to participate in ‘important engagement process’

Ethan Page, left, and Nicky Walton received Excellence in Arts Scholarship Awards in music. (Special to The News)
Port Haney Artist-in-Residence Aaron Moran. (Special to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News)
Personal reflections of Maple Ridge are needed for new public art project

Residents of all ages, backgrounds and abilities welcome to share stories and poems

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Maple Ridge elementary school exposed to COVID-19

Exposure event at Glenwood elementary the seventh in past two weeks

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Upset by being called an ‘idiot’

Maple Ridge writer disagrees with majority on COVID safety protocols and their impacts

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, at press conference Monday. (Submitted photo)
Crime Stoppers receiving $200K from province for ‘Guns and Gangs’ tip line campaign

Executive director Linda Annis broke the news Monday morning in Surrey

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Most Read