Ottawa’s Emma Miskew knows from personal experience just how difficult it is to balance a competitive curling career with the demands of a university program.
Miskew, who plays third on Rachel Homan’s two-time Scotties championship team, was a student in the Industrial Design program at Ottawa’s Carleton University from 2007 to 2012, and she has experienced first-hand the challenges that face young elite curlers who are chasing their athletic dreams.
“My program was very difficult to do while playing a competitive sport that requires a lot of travel,” she says about the project-based program that included constructing models with saws and drills, as well as making presentations. “I submitted a lot of projects early, and went to school to do presentations right from the airport.”
Of course, Miskew was already familiar with the demands of the competitive curling season, having been on the ice since the age of five in the Little Rock program at the Rideau Curling Club in Ottawa.
“When I was 11, I competed with my team in the Regional Little Rock final against Rachel (Homan) on the Brier ice in Ottawa,” she says. “It was the most amazing thing I had ever done. The next year, my dad called Rachel and Alison’s (Kreviazuk) dads to discuss playing together in Bantams. And the rest is history!”
The Homan team has cut a swath through the Canadian women’s curling landscape, winning medals at provincial, national and international competitions – much of it while Miskew was still at school. It wasn’t easy, and she relied on the support of her family, who often gave up their own vacation time to drive her to events, and more.
“There were nights that they were running out to stores to get supplies for me to finish projects, proofreading documents, or staying up late just to keep me company,” she says. “Without their support, there is no way I would have achieved what I have.”
But not all young curlers have that kind of support when heading off to pursue their post-secondary studies.
“A lot of students aren’t able to work while in school,” she says. “When you add curling to that lifestyle, it’s almost impossible to have a job on the side. Paying for school is expensive and the inability to work is tough on students who are trying to pursue their curling dreams.”
The “For the Love of Curling” scholarships are designed to meet those needs. Each scholarship will provide $1,000 to help university or college athletes cover some of their education and curling costs. A total of 10 scholarships are available for the 2014-2015 academic year.
“This scholarship is an amazing opportunity for these students to support themselves during their education,” says Miskew, who will serve on the For the Love of Curling Scholarship selection committee. “I wish it had been available when I was attending university.”
The Canadian Curling Association doesn’t want promising young curlers to have to make a choice between curling and school.
With your generous support, we can help more students pursue their athletic dreams while achieving academic success. With a donation today to the For the Love of Curling scholarship program, you can make education and curling possible for students across Canada.
To apply or for more information about the “For the Love of Curling” scholarship, click here.