Grad profile: Three‑time scholarship recipient 'pays it forward'

Arcel Siosan, Management

- May 22, 2024

This article is part of a series focusing on the grads of the Dalhousie Class of 2024. Spring Convocation runs from May 21 to 31 in Halifax and Truro. Read all our profiles here in one place as they are published, and for more information visit the Convocation website.

Arcel Siosan does not let anything come between him and his aspirations. The recipient of three Sir Graham Day scholarships knows hard work and the goodwill of others can make a world of difference. What he learned from Day is that it's never too soon to pass that goodwill on.

Arcel, who’s graduating with a Bachelor of Management and Bachelor of Science (Recreation) combined degree, is already using his success to help his own family, who live in Whitehorse, Yukon, as well as vulnerable people in his home village in the Philippines. Arcel’s father had a debilitating stroke in 2015, leaving his mom to support the family.

When Arcel received his first award of $7,000, he says he  “ ...didn’t expect that was such a blessing.” He paid his tuition, sent money back to his family, and paid for 60 care packages for people in the village of Miranda, Philippines.

Arcel explains that where he’s from has high rates of poverty. With the help of family who live there, he used some of the award to purchase rice and hygiene products, which were then assembled into packages and delivered.

Having met Sir Graham Day and spoken with him a few times, Arcel is inspired by Day’s commitment to community and family business, something he would like to emulate. Day is known for his passionate conversations with students about the importance of sharing your good fortune.

Always think about where I came from

Having just finished his dream co-op in Montreal with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Arcel is looking across Canada for his first post-graduation job. Plans are also underway to set up a business with his father in the Philippines. Arcel and his father have bought land in their old neighbourhood, where they want to open a market for fresh food. It’s not going to open anytime soon, he says, adding ‘it’s something we’ll keep working on.’

When Arcel received his second Sir Graham Day Scholarship, he knew he wanted to do something for the children in Miranda. This time Arcel and his father were planning to be in the Philippines, so he decided to have an afternoon of games and prizes (pictured right). Arcel and his relatives also cooked them a meal. “I give credit to my mom and dad in terms of always making me think about where I came from.”

Immigrating to Whitehorse when he was 10 wasn’t ‘the most fun experience’, he says. But his interest in sports helped him integrate into the community. Playing table tennis and volleyball, he participated in three Arctic Winter Games, one Canada Winter Games, two Canada Summer Games, and a Western Canada Summer Games.

During his first three years at Dalhousie University, he played volleyball for Dalhousie Tigers. Arcel laughs when he says, “I had to try-out, I wasn’t recruited. Recruiters don’t come to the Yukon for athletes,” he chuckles.

Eleven students receive award this term

Reluctant to apply for the Sir Graham Day scholarship after receiving it once, Arcel was encouraged by the undergraduate advising office to apply again. Sir Graham Day scholarships are awarded twice a year to students who are excelling academically, and who demonstrate an interest in family business, transportation, or business-government relations.

The most recent recipients of the scholarship are James Cameron (MPA), Ben Boudreau (CRMBA), Nicole Solie (CRMBA), Chloe Duras (MPA). Rohin Minocha-McKenney (CRMBA), Jacob Benoit (CRMBA), Alec Brooks (MPA), Emma King (BMgmt), Mary MacKay (BMgmt), Katie Verge (BComm), and Lara Issa (BMgmt).


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus