Past Recipients

In December 2010 WiDS announced that the 2011 WiDS Memorial Scholarship would honour Captain Nichola Goddard who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2006.

The 2011 WiDS Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Erika Brown who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Engineering in Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The award was made by Gen (ret) Rick Hillier at the Scholarship Award Luncheon in March 2011.

In 2012, based upon the growing success of the scholarship and outstanding industry support, the WiDS Memorial Scholarship was adjusted to enable the presentation of three scholarships.
These scholarships were presented in honour of Gunner Arielle Keyes-Oliver, 19-year-old first-year Carleton University student and member of the 30th Field Regiment in the Royal Canadian Artillery, who passed away tragically after an army truck carrying 10 soldiers rolled over during a weekend military exercise at CFB Petawawa on Saturday October 25, 2008:

  • The First Prize Recipient was Cpl Matina Wetzel, who is studying towards an Honours BSocSc, with a Major in Political Science and a Minor in Arabic Language and Culture.
  • The Second Prize Recipient was Sarah Hunter, who is currently completing her fourth year of Political Studies and French at Queen’s University.
  • The Third Prize Recipient was SLt Mary Louise Dahl, who is pursuing a Masters Degree from the Royal Military College.

In 2013, two scholarships valued at $5,000 each were awarded in honour of Trooper Karine Blais, a member of the 12e who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2009. Trooper Blais was an extremely devoted military member, respected by her peers and superiors. She was conscientious of her mission and of her tasks, and she was very knowledgeable about her profession. Trooper Blais was an example of determination, courage, and esprit de corps for her peers. 

The recipients of the 2013 WiDS Memorial Scholarship were:

  • Lt. Heidi Dewald who is working on her Master's Degree at Royal Roads, British Columbia, in Conflict Analysis and Management; and
  • Francesca Ferguson, who is pursuing her law degree at the Schulich School of Law, at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

In 2014, the WiDS Memorial Scholarship honoured the memory of a fallen officer from law enforcement, Constable Della Beyak of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Constable Beyak embodied the best of women in defence and security – intelligence, ambition, and commitment to her community. In 1989, she would sacrifice her life while responding to a fatal motor vehicle accident in a snowstorm, becoming the first female RCMP officer to die in the line of duty.

  • Leah Sherriff, who served ten years as an Armoured Officer with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, was awarded the 2014 WiDS Memorial Scholarship award, which contributed $5,000 to her legal studies at the University of Toronto.

In 2015, the WiDS Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Dalhousie University Master's student Kathleen O'Brien in honour of Master Corporal Kristal Lee-Anne Giesebrecht, a medic with the Canadian Forces who was killed 2010 in Afghanistan when her armoured vehicle hit an Improvised Explosive Device. 

Two WiDS Memorial Scholarships were awarded in 2016 the name of Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Margaret Joan Eve: one to Queen's University Political Science student Alexandra Green, and one to Carleton University PhD student Victoria Tait.

2017 recognized the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge and Canada's 150th. For these special occaisions, WiDS looked back in history to honour First World War Nursing Sister Katherine Maud Macdonald, the first Canadian women killed in World War 1. In her honour, a $5,000 scholarship was awarded to Sarah Dobson, a 4th year undergraduate student, studying International Relations and Economics at Dalhousie University. 

The 2018 WiDS Annual Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Meaghan Shoemaker, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University and a contracted consultant for the Department of National Defence in Kingston, Ontario. This Awards Ceremony honoured S/CST Nancy Marie Puttkemery, one of the first women to join the RCMP as a Regular Member and the first female pilot employed by the RCMP’s Air Services. S/Cst. Puttkemery’s life was cut short when upon returning to Edmonton from operational duties in Calgary, she encountered bad weather with zero visibility. In her attempt to turn around and avoid further clouds, her C-182 struck a guy wire on a communications tower. At the young age of 34, she and her observer, S/Cst. Vince Timms, were killed instantly.

This year also saw the first year of the WiDS/CGAI Graduate Student Fellowship. Through this collaboration, one or more female graduate or post-graduate students are selected through the WiDS Annual Memorial Scholarship Process and granted a Fellowship position with CGAI which provides publication, professional development, and mentoring and coaching opportunities among other benefits. In 2018, the CGAI Fellowship was awarded to Lindsay Coombs, a PhD student in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University, and a Graduate Research Fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy.

In 2019, the WiDS Annual Scholarship Breakfast honoured women in defence and security organizations who have lost their lives to suicide or continue to struggle with PTSD, mental health, and OSIs. The annual scholarship was awarded to Tansi Summerfield, a PhD Candidate in Experimental and Applied Psychology at the University of Regina. Tansi’s research involves researching police officer decision-making processes in dynamic situations. 

The 2019 CGAI Fellowship was awarded to Aden Duren-e-Aden, a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of Toronto, whose research focuses on comparing the recruits and non-recruits within the radical (far-right and Islamist) groups in Canada through a gendered lens.

If you know of a Canadian woman pursuing studies towards a career in defence and security industries, tell her to connect with the WiDS Memorial Scholarship Information.