Winnipeg, Manitoba

Filipina student receives prestigious award

By Ted Alcuitas

A second year health science student from the University of Calgary has won one of 20 awards for the prestigious Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.

Winnica Beltrano almost missed the call informing her of the award, she told The Winnipeg Sun.

“I woke up a little late that day,” joked Beltrano, who is entering her second year of health science studies at the University of Calgary. “When I looked at my phone I had a missed call and a voicemail from somebody from the University of Manitoba. I called him back right away and found out he was from the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award program. When he told me I had won, I had only been up for 20 minutes so I was still half asleep, but I was also so shocked.”

Beltrano immigrated to Winnipeg from the Philippines with her family when she was 3, and the first few years weren’t easy.

“It was tough for my parents to obtain a stable career, and as children we had to face a new environment,” Beltrano told The Sun. “Personally, I had trouble initially in school trying to find resources that I thought would peak my interest.”

A top student, Beltrano found her stride in high school and started Project Pulse Winnipeg in 2015. Project Pulse is an annual conference that helps high school students interested in the health sciences learn more about the field.

She says it was her way of “giving back”.

She initiated and organized  the event for high school students in Winnipeg and surrounding areas to engage in a full-day conference involving panels with professionals and students working or studying in the health science field, workshops, and information booths.

Eventually she helped  established a foundation for future Project Pulse conferences in Winnipeg.

A graduate of Stanley Knowles Junior High where she was the school valedictorian, Beltrano went on to Sisler High and edited its school paper. She was an accelerated Program (AP) student and was top 5 GPA out of 400 students.

She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) majoring in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Calgary.

Beltrano is the niece of Manitoba Conservative MLA Jon Reyes.