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Arts & Science Program

Renaissance Award

Established in 2012 by Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera. The award, with its emphasis on experiential learning, is intended to create transformative opportunities for students from all Faculties and programs, from undergraduate to graduate and professional. The recipient of the award shall be an individual who wishes to engage in a 4-12 month, self-directed, enrichment experience outside his/her chosen program of study, and who wishes to explore a project of personal significance that will amplify the recipient’s University experience while engaging in experiential learning at home or abroad.

Value: $25,000

Renaissance Award Winners

Summer 2019

Level IV Arts & Science student Avery McNair has received the 2019 Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award. Collaborating with Megan Watson, a fourth-year Biochemistry student, Avery will be using this opportunity to explore sustainable and agroecological farming across Canada. The duo is pursuing the project because they view sustainable farming in Canada as directly linked to a positive future for food sourcing, climate change, biodiversity retention, Indigenous food sovereignty, and economic efficiency. From May to August, Avery and Megan will be traveling across Canada to interact with Canadian farmers and explore the current ways in which they employ agroecological practices. Upon their return, they will be turning their sure-to-be-remarkable experience into a shareable film designed to inspire people to become more acquainted with their own food systems. This marks the seventh consecutive year that an Artsci student has won a Renaissance Award.

The Renaissance Award: A Summer on Sustainable Farms
From McMaster Daily News, 18 September 2019

Summer 2018

For the sixth consecutive year, Arts & Science students have received the honour of the Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award. Two of this year’s recipients are fourth-year Arts & Science students Emily Siskos and Alexia Olaizola.

For their project, Alexia and Emily will study Indigenous visual arts as means of cultural reclamation and resistance in Canada. With guidance from their supervisors, Carol Podedworny and Dr. Rick Monture, Emily and Alexia have planned a trip that will span from May-August 2018 to study art from Indigenous communities in Eastern, Central, and Western Canada. They want to learn how to become better allies to Indigenous communities in Canada. They are excited to view Indigenous art and learn from artists, curators, and community members. Over the four months, Alexia and Emily will produce sketches and photographs of their journey and compile them into a mixed media piece at the end of the four months.

Exploring How to Be Indigenous Allies Through Art, Thanks to a Renaissance Award
From McMaster Daily News, 9 August 2018

Summer 2017

Arts & Science student Tai Jacob received the 2017 Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award. Tai produced a podcast, titled “Gender Blender,” focused on the experiences of those going through gender transition based on interviews in trans communities in Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Chicago.

Summer 2016

Arts & Science students Sutina Chou and Korryn Garvey received the 2016 Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award. The projects of both students include coast-to-coast trips to investigate Canadian identity: Sutina’s explores the relationship between Canadian literature and Canadian identity, while Korryn’s focuses on the role of architecture in defining what it means to be Canadian.

Summer 2015

Arts & Science students Rachel Brain and Maia Stevenson received the 2015 Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award. Their project, Getting to the “Roots” of a Sustainable Food Supply, focuses on the development of sustainable communities in relation to food supply. The students’ project encompassed travel to British Columbia, Oregon, and California to volunteer with organic farms as well as participation in a 100-Mile Diet exercise in Northern Ontario. Visit the report and photojournal of their project here:

Renaissance Award Winners to Study Japanese Longevity, 100-mile Diet
From McMaster Daily News, 4 March 2015

Summer 2014

Arts & Science students Anthony D’Ambrosio and Andrew Case received the 2014 Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award. They embarked on an expedition along Newfoundland’s East Coast Trail.

Students Give Radio Update on ‘the Best Summer Job Ever’
From McMaster Daily News, 10 July 2014

Andrew Case and Anthony D’Ambrosio, both students in the Arts & Science Program, stopped by a CBC studio in Newfoundland to talk about life on the trail. Read more…

Renaissance Award Helps Three Students Explore Two Very Different Coasts
From McMaster Daily News, 21 March 2014

One special award is helping two sets of students pursue very different projects this summer. Read more…

Summer 2013

Arts & Science students Jackie Brown and Ros Pfaff received the 2013 Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award. On 7 Oct. 2013, at Hamilton’s Pearl Company, they presented a documentary about their experiences. Click here to view the event poster.

Click here to view their documentary, “Making Space: Strengthening Communities through Creativity”

Off the Well Travelled Path
From The Hamilton Spectator, 23 September 2013

When Glen Bandiera and Jolie Ringash were in medical school, they didn’t have a chance to travel, to broaden their horizons. Now the husband and wife team is hoping a unique new award will provide McMaster students with opportunities they never had.

“When you’ve been part of a country and a community and an academic culture for a number of years, it can be hard to realize that it’s not the only way to see the world,” says Bandiera, a McMaster grad and emergency room doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “We hope this will encourage learners to see the world in a different way. It’s something we think personally we would have benefitted from.”

Worth up to $25,000, the Renaissance Award aims to improve educational experiences for students by giving them the means to travel or take part in a course that’s productive, creative and challenging. The only catch is that it can’t be related to their course of study.

“The key criteria for us is that it has to be completely different than something they’ve been doing up until now and it has to be something that’s not built into their current program,” said Bandiera. Students from all faculties are eligible for the prize, which will be handed out in early spring. The deadline for proposals is 15 Oct. 2012.

Siobhan Stewart, president of the McMaster Students Union, applauded the award and said more bursaries like this need to be established to break down the financial barriers that prevent many students from enhancing their learning. “I’ve had a lot of experiences that have really enriched my time in university because I had the opportunity to go,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without money.”

History grad Jon Fairclough wasn’t so lucky. He opted to work abroad and travel during his summer breaks, but it left him with a mound of debt. “I probably still owe between $5,000 and $6,000,” said the 24-year-old, who now lives and works in London, England. “This would’ve helped. It would have gone a great distance to help pay for flights and accommodation and take the burden of debt off of me.”

Jean Wilson, director of Mac’s interdisciplinary arts and science program, lauded the award, saying the university wants to encourage this approach to learning. “It’s just a great opportunity for students to step off the beaten path and take a bit of a detour, which can give them perspective,” she said. “It allows them to look at their education, their learning and their direction through new eyes.”

Inaugural Renaissance Awards Take Winners to New Experiences Around the World
From McMaster Daily News, 15 February 2013

“Here’s something you don’t hear about every day: a university award designed to help students broaden their education by not going to school. The newly established Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award provides up to $25,000 annually for students to take time from their fields of study to pursue knowledge in other areas.” Read more.