Meet McMaster University’s 2020 HOPA Scholarship Recipient

November 17, 2020

Hamilton, ON – Please join us in congratulating the 2020 Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority scholarship recipient, Astara Truman. Now in her fourth year, Astara is just over one semester away from completing her Bachelor’s degree in the Integrated Business and Humanities program at McMaster University. She and 48 of her peers are the first cohort to go through this unique program, which combines the foundations of business (finance, marketing, and leadership) with the arts and humanities.

Though there was not an official scholarship presentation ceremony this year, HOPA Ports was able to meet Astara over zoom to discuss her studies and future plans. “In high school, I didn’t have an end goal in mind; I was just planning on getting my undergrad and going into law school eventually.” Keen to explore both humanities and business subjects, Astara found the Integrated Business and Humanities program has given her the best of both worlds. She has been able to excel in studying everything from philosophy and literature, to commercial law and corporate finance.

While completing a fulltime course load this fall, Astara is also a Teacher’s Assistant for three other classes and interning at a renewable energy start-up, called AP Renewables, in McMaster Innovation Park. 

What do you know about Hamilton’s port?
Astara is Hamilton, born-and-raised, and she was an avid rower in high school. She has many fond memories being out in the harbour while training at Leander Boat Club. “I remember erging and running in practice with the team over the winter and very much looking forward to getting back out on the water every April.”

What has been her favourite part of undergrad so far?
One of Astara’s favourite classes was Social Entrepreneurship, in which she developed a recruitment marketing strategy to aid with an after-school program at Bennetto Elementary School. Another memorable experience was going to the Amazon on a volunteer trip to help provide supplies and dig trenches for a water filtration system in Ecuador.

What are some of her future career aspirations?
“I hope to find a job where I can make a meaningful social impact and use the valuable experience I gained in my undergrad.” She still has her sights on law school or a graduate degree, but looks forward to gaining work experience and saving in the meantime.

“Honestly though,” she looks forward to “stable employment most of all.” Her experiences in the not-for-profit world and during the COVID pandemic have taught Astara the value of job security and a stable income – as many of the opportunities she was looking forward to this year were put on hold.

This annual scholarship was established in 1994 by the Hamilton Harbour Commission, which predated the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority.