Marianick Benoit, junior at McGill University became the recipient of the Women Techmakers for Gaming Scholarship by demonstrating her passion for video games. The WTM Scholarship for Gaming provides an opportunity to connect with fellow scholars and Google mentors while participating in professional and personal development training and workshops.
Read on to know more about her experience!
Key takeaways from the Interview:
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am currently studying at McGill in Computer Science and am also minoring in Music (Classical Voice).
I was born and raised in Mexico by a French-Canadian single mom. I was brought to Montreal, Canada when I was 15 years old and have had to help pay for my studies since I was 17, as immigrating cost my mom a lot of money. Since then, I have been working 1-3 jobs/year to help her.
2. Can you walk us through your application process?
I had to answer 3 essay questions regarding the gaming industry and my passion for video games. I also had to get a letter of recommendation from one of my university professors.
3. Why do you think you were selected?
I believe that I was able to communicate my huge passion for video games. I have also been more and more involved in the industry, at least indirectly, while I’m studying. For example, I teach 6th graders how to make video games using Construct. I honestly think it was good timing for me to apply and I was also confident about what I have done and keep doing to feed my passion for video games!
4. Any failures or rejections you had to face?
Applied to work as a Ubisoft intern, got rejected. Applied to be an intern at Pixar, also got rejected. Applied to the Schulich Leaders Scholarship, got nominated, but I didn’t get the scholarship. I didn’t take any of these rejections badly though. I strongly believe things happen for a reason and those opportunities were not meant to be. They were there to help me learn and be stronger for the future.
5. What are a few of your major accomplishments?
I have a couple of accomplishments I am very proud of. First of all, I am a Latino woman in STEM. Already I feel that I am able to represent my culture in a field where we are under-represented. I also am very proud of my recent scholarship: the WTM Scholarship for gaming. I had previously been nominated for a big scholarship, the Schulich Leaders Scholarship but I didn’t actually get it in the end. I was very shocked to find out that this time I had actually been selected. It is a huge worry off my shoulders financially, but it is also an honor to be selected among such strong and accomplished women of all different backgrounds. I can’t wait to meet them all! One last thing that I consider an accomplishment is speaking 4 (almost 5) languages and I’m only 21. I think it is such a game-changer to speak the native language of the people you encounter. I worked as a Summer Camp Director in Italy last summer and I realized how much of a stronger bond I was able to make with my host families than the other counselors who did not speak the language.
6. Any advice you would like to give our readers?
Be confident. Be bold. APPLY! I have applied to internships/jobs even when I thought that there are way more deserving people out there than me and it has actually worked a couple of times! Of course with a larger number of applications, you can have a larger number of rejections, but that also means you have more chances of being accepted! I think the biggest obstacle when it comes to applying for different things is ourselves; telling ourselves that there is no way we can get it. Just try. It really doesn’t require a lot from you and I guarantee that by continuously applying, something will work out.
Just as Marianick hopes to influence people with her passion for video games through scholarships, we hope this article will encourage you to follow your passion too!