#FacesOfTrentU: Philanthropy in Action

Rachel Smilye, fourth-year International Development student 

Rachel Smylie supporting Gzowski College

“My experience at Trent University has allowed me to grow extensively as an independent adult, and I am thankful every day for what this institution has allowed me to pursue.” 

As the first in her family to attend university, Rachel Smylie looks to her future career as an opportunity to give back.

“At Trent you’re not here for a piece of paper,” says Ms. Smylie. “Once you come here you recognize that you’re getting an experience and not just a checkmark. I hope everyone feels the same.”

Hailing from a small town outside Barrie, Ontario, Ms. Smylie dove headfirst into life at Trent. Currently serving as Trent Central Student Association Vice President of University and College Affairs, she’s also been an Equality Commissioner for Gzowski Cabinet, a volunteer notetaker, and an Orientation Week leader for two years.

“I’m Trent ‘till I die,” she laughs. “My college experience moulded me into the Trent-spirited human that I am today.”

Ms. Smylie is grateful for these experiences as well as for the financial assistance that has made her university career possible. Maintaining a high average each year, Ms. Smylie has benefited from Trent’s free tuition scholarship and several bursaries, which are generously supported by the Trent family of donors.

“Honestly, without bursaries and scholarships, I wouldn’t have been able to continue studying,” she says.

Looking ahead to life after Trent, Ms. Smylie is interested in the field of immigration, hoping to help break down stigmas and to support new Canadians. And whether it’s law school, continued studies, or something else altogether, she is excited by what the future holds.

“In International Development, I get to actually influence people’s lives—I get to be a part of the change.”

Learn more about how donations create a positive and supportive learning environment at Trent.