Ettienne is majoring in women’s studies and minoring in political science in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science. She received a Brahm and Jo Jo Gelfand Bursary in 2015-16, which has helped her with some of the financial challenges she faces in her everyday life.
“It’s not easy being in a situation where you feel nobody cares about your future,” Ettienne says. “The fact that someone took the time to read my application and gave me the funding I needed let me know I have the support of people who really want me to succeed.”
As a single mother of a nine-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son, Ettienne pays extra for her children’s after-school activities while she’s at work or attending university. Her evenings are then filled juggling her own schoolwork, preparing dinner and helping her kids with their homework.
While her plate is full, Ettienne sees the bigger picture. “My hope is for my kids to pursue an education as well,” she says. “As a parent, it’s important for me to achieve my own dreams to ensure they have successful futures.”
Defending social justice
Ettienne’s drive to make an impact also extends to the world around her. Her objective is to serve marginalized women and individuals in society, so she can assist those who need it most. For Ettienne, her undergraduate studies give her just that.
“I like what the program offers in terms of empowering women,” she says. “I want to work in a field where I can actually help people, and Concordia offers engaging workshops and seminars to get me there.”
Ettienne knows that any help — big or small — can make a difference. “This bursary allows me the freedom to push forward,” she says. “It means that people see my potential, which encourages me to continue what I’m doing. I am completely grateful for that.”