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‘Sports can help you grow as a person’

How donor support empowered a Concordia student-athlete to pursue her passion
June 5, 2020
By Richard Burnett, BA 88

“I feel extracurricular activities and getting involved are important in a student’s university career,” says undergrad student Ornella Zaatar.

From a young age, Ornella Zaatar always knew she wanted to work in the world of sports.

“I have played basketball since I was seven years old,” says Zaatar, who was an exceptional athlete throughout her youth.

The Canadian-born Zaatar played professionally for the Riyadi Club in Lebanon, where she grew up, before returning to Montreal to embark on her studies at Concordia. At the university, she became a member of the Stingers women’s basketball team in 2017-18.

As she pursued her Bachelor of Commerce at the John Molson School of Business, Zaatar realized she would require financial assistance. In 2019 she applied for it and was awarded $1,000 as a recipient of the Campaign for a New Millennium Bursary.

“The bursary is important because it helps pay for basic student needs such as university supplies and textbooks, which are quite expensive for a student,” Zaatar says. “It has helped give me some peace of mind.”

A multicultural place to call home

Zaatar is currently an exchange student at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

“In Amsterdam, I recognize the diversity we have at Concordia,” says Zaatar, who will return to Montreal in summer 2020. “Canada is a very multicultural country and I enjoy how Concordia is home to students from all cultural backgrounds.”

Zaatar says Concordia continues to shape her as a person. In addition to her studies, she has volunteered for Career Management Services and was a sports delegate on the John Molson Competition Committee, which runs the largest case competition program in the world.

“I feel extracurricular activities and getting involved are important in a student’s university career.”

In addition to her contributions to Concordia, Zaatar has been a basketball coach at the Pensionnat du Saint- Nom-de-Marie private girls’ high school in Montreal since 2017 and completed a certificate in Fundamentals of Global Sports Management at New York University.

She is now looking ahead to the next step in her career: “I would like to do a master’s in sports marketing and management.”

Zaatar is grateful that a Concordia bursary helped her to pursue her passion.

“I believe sports can help you grow as a person. Sports helped me become the disciplined person that I am now.”

Your generosity in action
Read more inspiring stories like this one in Momentum, our newsletter for loyal Concordia donors.

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