Third-year Awarded Prestigious Wesbrook Scholarship

Kortney Story, a third-year student, was recently awarded the Wesbrook Scholarship along with the CK Choi Scholarship, both prestigious awards available to exceptional students.

The Wesbrook Scholar is given to a maximum of 20 exceptional undergraduate students who have completed at least two Winter Sessions at UBC, are currently in the penultimate or final year of a baccalaureate program, or are in the M.D., D.M.D. or J.D. Programs, and are in the top 10% of their class. Candidates must also have demonstrated ability to serve, work with and lead others. Winners receive a $1,000 scholarship, certificate, and a Wesbrook Scholar designation on their permanent record.

The CK Choi Scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship endowed by the Choi family. It is open to students entering their next to last or final year of a baccalaureate program, the first year of Graduate Studies, or in the Faculties of Medicine or Dentistry. A special committee selects the winners from among those candidates nominated by faculties and designated student organizations for the Sherwood Lett Memorial Scholarship. Candidates are expected to have good academic standing, demonstrated achievement in sports, and participation in student and community activities.

Award Winner Kortney’s Story

We interviewed Kortney to learn more about their personal journey and challenges to midwifery practice. A lens into the next generation of midwives.

What inspired you to pursue a career in midwifery, and how has your education prepared you for this work? 

My midwifery inspiration comes from the birth of my own 3 children – watching them come into this world changed my life, and I’ll always be grateful for their stories. Their births inspired me to seek out a career in birth work – first as a doula and childbirth educator and now as a midwifery student and future RM. The more I worked towards admission into the UBC Midwifery program, the more I realized that midwifery work was exactly what I was meant to be doing – it’s just the right mix of medical, hands-on, emotional support, and social justice.

What aspects of midwifery do you find most challenging, and how do you stay motivated in facing those challenges? 

Balancing life with 3 children and a full-time practicum, plus classroom work, has been a challenge some days, but the families that I get to be with as they welcome their baI’ve earthside, make every moment worth it. On the days that I struggle to keep going, I am especially thankful for the friendships I’ve made within the midwifery community and in my cohort at UBC – they’re the ones who offer a shoulder to cry on at 3 am after a hard birth and the ones who celebrate the small victories with you, cheering you as you go. I’m always inspired by my children, even on the hard days, because I want them to know that we can do hard things and that the challenges we face every day are just bumps on the journey we call life.  

How did you first hear about the Wesbrook Scholar designation and the CK Choi scholarship, and what was your reaction upon learning that you had been chosen as a recipient?

Blake emailed us back in October with the information about applying for the UBC Premium Academic scholarships. I took the time to work through the lengthy application, submitting my application just before the deadline. Truth be told, I forgot about the application, and when I was invited to interview in February, I was truly shocked – to receive then the news that I had received the CK Choi scholarship and Wesbrook Scholar designation was truly humbling; I acknowledge that it was my privilege that has brought me to where I am today and I will use these awards and privileges to break down barriers as I move forward.

What advice do you have for other students interested in pursuing a career in midwifery or a related field? 

Take every opportunity you can to prepare yourself for the intensity of midwifery school and being a midwife! I am so thankful for the time I spent as a doula and childbirth educator – I had a strong foundation of all things birth-related coming into UBC. I knew what it was like to be on-call … it’s never easy getting a page at 3 am or knowing that you might miss out on a pre-planned life event at any given moment. And when do you get into midwifery school? Find your people! You can’t do midwifery school alone – and no one quite understands what you’re going through as your cohort does … you’ll be grateful for those 5 am hugs in triage as you cross paths and for the panicked texts when you’re not sure you understand an assignment. Oh, and organize your notes in a very cohesive way in the first year – that’s important too.

How will these scholarship awards be used to further your education and professional development? 

Raising 3 kids and being unable to work while in midwifery school is a challenge at the best of times, so having a little extra support will make all the difference to me going into fourth year. The Wesbrook Scholarship designation will go on my permanent record, which also looks good when applying for hospital privileges in the future – that’s certainly an asset!

Finally, what impact do you hope to have as a midwife, and how do you plan to contribute to the field in the years ahead? 

I frequently think about a quote I read from a book that is near and dear to my heart, a book Allison Campbell shared with me at the end of my first year: “What if queer and trans people loved going to the doctor? Questions can be a portal into possibilities we hadn’t yet imagined. This deceptively simple question – what if queer and trans people loved going to the doctor? – was a kind of portal for me because of how it gestured toward an audaciously different set of conditions from the ones we’re in now.” -Zena Sharman, The Care We Dream of: Liberatory and Transformative Approaches to LGBTQ+ Health, 2021. This quote has resonated with me, and it influences the way I provide care to all clients, especially queer and trans families. I dream of one day opening a clinic in the Fraser Valley that provides truly inclusive, safe care for all families and offers full-spectrum support, medical care, and education prenatally through into and beyond the postpartum period – the kind of clinic that makes you love going to a healthcare provider!