Opterus Rebel With a Cause Scholarship Winners - 2022

Opterus Inc. — the leading global provider of cost-effective, easy-to-implement retail store information and execution management solutions that have become renowned for increasing productivity and improving retail enterprise communications — is excited to announce this year's winners of its 'Rebel with a Cause' scholarship awards.

Founded to highlight and empower accomplished young women between the ages of 18-26 who are pursuing a STEM education or artistic ventures, the Opterus Helen Rose STEM Award and the Opterus Valerie Ann Arts Award were inspired by the memory of one of the Opterus Founders, Janet Hawkins' mother, Dr. Helen McKilligin, and sister, Valerie Ann Hawkins, respectively. Each of the scholarships provide $10,000 to recipients to support their studies at accredited Canadian universities or colleges.

Before we meet our two winners for 2022, let's meet the two amazing women who inspired these scholarships.

About Helen Rose

Dr. McKilligin led a remarkable and groundbreaking life. She graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1958 with a specialty in pediatrics. She was a published author, writing a book with pioneering insights into the principles of neonatal nursing in 1970. She practiced in Newfoundland at the Grace Hospital and taught as an associate professor at the medical school at Memorial University in Newfoundland.

She helped form the first Family Planning Association of Newfoundland that opened a birth control centre in St. John's, which was the first of its kind in the province. In 1980 she moved the family to Ontario and worked for the ministry of health creating groundbreaking programs in reproductive health. Before retiring, she also completed her fine arts degree at OCAD University. The Helen Rose STEM Award is dedicated to her memory.

About Valerie Ann

Valerie lived with ovarian cancer for five years but passed away in February 2019. She was in New York during 9/11 doing what she loved as a member of the cast of Rag Time on Broadway. She was an incredible actor and a brilliant director.

She graduated from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and received the Lorne Greene Award for outstanding achievement in the practical and performing aspects of theatre while at Queen's. She also loved to rock and roll and sang in a local band in Stratford, Ontario. The Valerie Ann Arts Award is dedicated to her memory.

Now, let's take a quick moment to meet our scholarship winners for 2022.

Harmeen Brar

Recipient of the $10,000 Opterus Helen Rose STEM Award

Harmeen is from Abbotsford, British Columiba, and she attends the University of the Fraser Valley, studying a science degree. She hopes some day to attend medical school to become a psychiatrist. She's seen up-close how important caring medical practitioners can be in a patient's life.

"Dr. McKilligan is the epitome of who I want to be. She became a pediatrician in a time where not many women occupied the field and that in itself is inspiring," she said.

Congratulations on receiving the Opterus Helen Rose STEM Award, Harmeen!

Sawyer Tomlinson

Recipient of the $10,000 Opterus Valerie Ann Arts Award

Sawyer's from Edmonton, Alberta, but she went across the country to study comparative literature (littérature comparée) at l'Université de Montréal!

When she was just 20 years old, Sawyer moved to Italy by herself to study figure drawing and portraiture. She's also lived in France, where she taught herself to speak the language — perfect for studying in Montréal!

"I have began integrating teaching and working with cultural institutions such as the art gallery, because that is where my passion lies," she said.

Congrats on receiving the Opterus Valerie Ann Arts Award, Sawyer!

About Opterus Inc.

Opterus Inc. is a leading global provider of a cost-effective, easy-to-implement retail store information and execution management solution that increases productivity and improves retail enterprise communications. Opterus' OPSCENTER software is an on-demand, web- based retail portal designed to communicate corporate policy and day-to-day objectives between corporate office and store locations. Deployed in over 45 countries in 30 different languages, the solution is specifically designed for retail operations and provides store personnel with clear, concise, and timely direction, along with the proper tools to best do their jobs to support corporate initiatives. Opterus is based in Toronto, Ontario, and was founded in 2006 by a group of seasoned retail industry technology veterans.

A huge thanks to all the women who applied for the Opterus scholarships this year. The next round will open in Spring 2023, so be sure to check back soon to learn more about your chance to apply!

Learn more about the Opterus scholarships