The August 1st application deadline for the Julie O’Rourke Memorial Scholarship is fast approaching!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Julie O’Rourke Memorial Scholarship at Virtual High School. The scholarship, worth $1,000, acts as a legacy for a young woman who was passionate about fine art, photography, and life itself. Awarded each year to a VHS student pursuing education in a fine arts or design program, successful applicants are those who produce artwork which inspires others to live life courageously, positively, and fully.

Let’s find out how Oishee Ghosh, the 2019 recipient of the Julie O’Rourke Memorial Scholarship, is doing in the Arts & Science Program at McMaster University!

Currently a second-year student at McMaster, Oishee has already managed to pack an amazing amount of volunteering and activities into her post-secondary life:

“My various work/school involvements are always in areas that I find interesting and meaningful, and that challenge me further.”

She competes in tournaments with a debate team, helps first-year students through the Big Sib peer mentor program, and plays the trumpet in the university’s jazz band. Check out her live performance of Sammy Nestico’s “Reachin’ Out” for her jazz band’s fall 2019 show! 

As a student who is passionate about neuroscience, Oishee enjoys assisting with music cognition research at the McMaster LIVELab. This involves working at the annual NeuroMusic conference, creating promotional materials for various performances, and contributing to communication initiatives such as their Spotify playlist project. Oishee is also a member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of health education for science students. In June of 2020, Oishee took home 1st place in the Biomedical Lab Science category for HOSA’s Spring Leadership Conference!

Oishee has taken part in the foundation of many student-led projects at McMaster, including the co-creation of the Aletheia peer-reviewed undergraduate journal. Released in two editions per year, the Aletheia journal is run entirely by students and features the interdisciplinary work of those in McMaster’s Arts & Science Program. Oishee also helped create the Integrum Resource Map, a website that aims to improve access to resources for students. The organization currently has a resource map for Hamilton, but they are expanding to include other university cities such as Kingston, Peterborough, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Oakville.

Originally from Ottawa, Oishee moved to Hamilton to pursue her education at McMaster University. Winning the Julie O’Rourke Memorial Scholarship helped her to fund her post-secondary goals while living away from home:

“As I attend a university far from my hometown, I value the financial support in managing the added costs of living and transportation.”

In addition to receiving the scholarship, Oishee is grateful that she was able to fit an additional science course into her final year of high school by earning a credit through VHS:

“The asynchronous model was beneficial since I was already completing a heavy course load at my home high school as part of the IB program. Physics is also a subject I am passionate about, and took two semesters of in university, so it was definitely useful building a foundation in high school.”

Oishee will soon be looking at applying for graduate programs for the future. She hopes to find something in the area of neuroscience, specifically in the area of music cognition and motor control. As living proof that you really can have the best of two worlds (art AND science), Oishee truly exemplifies Julie O’Rourke’s passion for life and helping others. We’re honoured to have Oishee representing our school and our values!

For more information on the Julie O’Rourke Memorial Scholarship, please visit our Awards page.