York Osgoode Law student earns scholarship for pursuing dream to make a difference

Incoming Osgoode Hall Law School student Jacob Bennett is one of 11 graduate students in Canada to receive a scholarship from Canada’s largest RESP Company, Knowledge First Financial.

Bennett, who will pursue a Juris Doctor—Common Law beginning this fall, was awarded $15,000—the second highest award granted.

Knowledge First Financial offers scholarships to students who are continuing their education at the graduate level as they pursue a dream of making a difference in the world. This year’s scholarships were selected from close to 500 applicants who have achieved great things in academics and in their community through volunteerism or athletics.

“Each application we receive is a source of inspiration for the work Knowledge First Financial does, and we review each one with care,” said George Hopkinson, president and CEO, Knowledge First Financial. “These individuals, selected from nearly 500 applicants this year, help reaffirm our commitment to inspiring students to achieve their education dreams through savings and through scholarships. Congratulations to each recipient of this year’s awards.”

Bennett, who earned a BA honours in law from Carleton University, said he chose Osgoode Hall Law School for graduate studies because of its high esteem and reputation.

“It has a world-renowned reputation … as well as opportunities for putting learning into practice,” he said, referencing the vast experiential education opportunities the program offers.

Bennett says the award will support his graduate education and goal to champion for the rights of marginalized individuals. His interest in studying law comes from personal experience, after witnessing continued discrimination against a family member who has a medical service dog.

He has a specific goal to help implement, and improve, a national service animal policy. A national standard would reduce the uncertainty and gaps in legislation that currently exist at the provincial level, he says, and would provide a more concrete solution for issues of public access and support for individuals with service animals.

In addition to his personal experience, Bennett gained insight and knowledge about injustice issues in Canada through his time as a research assistant at Carleton – in particular, those that involve Canada’s Indigenous community and the child welfare system. He became involved with The Pe-kiwewin Project, a research project that aims to provide recommendations to the Federal Government to ensure Canada’s previous colonial policies and wrongful practices that resulted in the large-scale removal of Indigenous children from their families through a practice known as the “60s Scoop”, does not continue.

“Working on this project continually strengthens my beliefs in the importance of recognizing and respecting human rights and my desire to act as an advocate using the tool of law,” he said.

Bennett says he plans to use his legal education to be an advocate and improve the systems that directly affect underrepresented individuals.

Bennett’s story, along with those of the other recipients, are captured in the Knowledge First Financial Graduate Scholarships 2019 presentation.

The Knowledge First Financial Graduate Scholarships are offered to students entering first-year of graduate studies. The program is promoted in partnership with ScholarshipsCanada, the country’s largest aggregator of scholarship and bursary information. Details about next year’s program will be available at www.knowledgefirstfinancial.ca in early 2020.

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