Jour 2

Donating to the INRS Fondation has a positive and tangible impact on the INRS community, particularly on the lives of our students. On Day 3 of Philanthropy Week, Martine Vanasse hosted a virtual round table discussion with Benjamin Duquet, a doctoral student in Urban Studies and recipient of a J.A. DeSève Excellence Scholarship, and Orphie Ranaud Obe Obiang, who graduated from the Master's degree program in water science after benefiting from the Students' Support Fund created during the pandemic.

Benjamin and Orphie's academic background:

  • A native of Gabon, Orphie needed to expand her knowledge of drinking water and waste water treatment to start a family business. She went to Morocco to pursue graduate studies where she found out about a joint Master's degree program with INRS. She decided to enroll in this program where she could study water science in Quebec City and complete an internship in Morocco
  • Originally from Montreal, Benjamin has always been fascinated by cities, the urban dimension, and the challenges associated with public transit in urban areas. He currently works as a part-time advisor for Vivre en Ville, a Montreal collective promoting sustainable moblity, while finishing his thesis after five years in the Urban Studies Ph.D. program at INRS.

How the financial support they received from the Foundation helped them:

  • The Students' Support Fund had a major impact on Orphie's studies but also on her life. While she was completing her internship in Morocco, the pandemic hit and she got stranded abroad. She also faced unexpected financial hardship while living far from home and far from the INRS in Quebec. Orphie was considering giving up her studies when she decided to reach out to one of her professors, who immediately referred her to the Foundation. Thanks to the Students' Support Fund, Orphie received $1000 that allowed her to come back to Quebec to complete her Master's degree, find a job, and start the process to become a Canadian permanent resident.
  • Benjamin received the J.A. DeSève Excellence Scholarship at a time when he needed a boost to finish his Ph.D.. Unlike many of his colleagues, he never received scholarships from provincial or federal granding agencies, which over time affected his confidence in his abilities and in the relevance of his research project. The scholarship also gave him much needed recognition and motivation to complete his doctoral thesis.

Information about scholarships and financial support offered by the Foundation :

  • Élise Comtois, the director of the Foundation and one of the round table participants, provided more information about the Students' Support Fund and the J.A. DeSève Excellence Scholarship that were both created after she was informed of specific students needs that had to be addressed urgently.
  • The Students' Support Fund was quickly put in place when the INRS and the Foundation realized the potential negative impact of the pandemic on the lives and studies of many INRS students, particularly international students. The Foundation launched a fundraising campaign aimed at the greater INRS community. The effectiveness and generosity of the INRS community was outsanding and in four weeks, the Foundation raised $42 000 that were given to students in need as bursaries ranging from $150 to $1500 during the 2020 Winter and Summer semesters. This financial support helped close to 30 students meet their immediate needs and continue their studies desptie the pandemic. Élise Comtois says she was impressed by this outpouring of support from professors, employees, managerial staff, graduates, unions, and even retired professors who answered the call. She was deeply touched by Orphie's testimony that gives meaning to this action.
  • In the fall of 2020, following the first edition of Philanthropy Week at INRS, Élise Comtois met with all INRS student associations to start building relationships between the Foundation and the different student communites. During her meeting at the Urbanisation Culture Société Research Centre, it became clear that graduate students in social sciences did not receive the same level of funding as those in other scientific fields. Following this meeting, she was able to quickly establish a tailored partnership with the J.A. DeSève Foundation that translated into $45 000 worth of scholarships to five Master's degree students and five Ph.D. students. The J.A. DeSève scholarships really gave their recipients a helping hand, particularly those who found it hard to push through during the pandemic.

Help the Foundation support INRS students financially:


Complete program  

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Guidelines to follow events on Zoom were sent to you by email and can be found online on the INRS Foundation website. The events will also be available on YouTube later on.

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