Transforming automotive research

The Winnipeg Foundation

Rhyse Maryniuk
Rhyse Maryniuk, Marguerite and John Burelle Memorial Aboriginal Scholarship recipient.

Rhyse Maryniuk works in mechatronics, studying the intersection between mechanical and electrical engineering. A Masters student in the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering, he’s currently helping design a three-wheeled electric vehicle that may transform automotive research. But without the support he received through scholarships, he may not be where he is today.

“I started my university career with no scholarships and at that time I had to work about 20 to 30 hours a week,” the University of Manitoba graduate says. “That cut away from my study time. I still did well, but as soon as I started receiving scholarships it allowed me to take fewer hours at my part-time job, which gave me more time to work on my extracurriculars and academics, which improved my grades… It was sort of a feedback loop.”

Mr. Maryniuk’s thesis involves the design, development, fabrication and testing of a three-wheeled electric vehicle.

“It’s sort of unconventional in the way it works. It doesn’t exactly have the standard steering or drive system. It doesn’t have an engine. It does a lot of stuff electrically by wire, so the braking system, the steering system, the wheels; they all work over electrical signals,” he says.

This design will allow vehicle researchers to have “a great deal of control and precision” with testing and research, and will also offer a more affordable option compared to standard testing options.

Rhyse doesn’t currently have a specific company or industry in mind for when he graduates, but does know he wants to be involved with projects he can physically build and that don’t keep him in front of a computer 100 per cent of the time.

While obtaining his BSc. in Engineering at the U of M, Mr. Maryniuk was a four-time recipient of the Marguerite and John Burelle Memorial Aboriginal Scholarship, held at The Winnipeg Foundation. This scholarship supports Indigenous students who have completed one year of university and are excelling in their chosen field. Read more about John Burelle and the scholarship in the sidebar.

“It kind of leaves me speechless,” he says of winning the award.

Since winning the scholarship, Rhyse has met with John Burelle’s sister, Lucille Kostyk.

“We talked about her life and John’s life and it sort of allowed me to understand why the scholarship was created and the way [in which] it was framed.”

Supporting indigenous students

The legacy of John Burelle

Marguerite and John Burelle
John Burelle and his mother, Marguerite.

John Burelle committed his life to improving opportunities for Indigenous students. Thanks to a Scholarship Fund established through a gift in his Will, this legacy of support will continue forever.

Friends and family remember Mr. Burelle’s dry, wry, slightly satirical humour. They remember his shiny, red Jeep and his German Shepherd dog named Neechi. They remember his commitment to learning and education. They remember his attention to detail, and his love for the finer things in life – art, culture, literature and good food. But most of all they remember his support for Indigenous students.

After completing his post-secondary schooling, Mr. Burelle worked in the education system – as a teacher at the university and college levels, as well as in research, education policy, and program and curriculum development – always with a focus on Indigenous students.

Despite these accomplishments, he was an incredibly humble man, says his sister Lucille Kostyk.

“If you would ask him about his work, he would answer you. But I learned more about him after he was gone,” says Ms. Kostyk.

Following Mr. Burelle’s passing in 2004, an estate gift created a Scholarship Fund supporting Indigenous students at the University of Manitoba, where Burelle completed both his Bachelor and Master of Education degrees, and worked from 1981 to 1994.

Since that time, the Scholarship Fund has supported 54 recipients with $151,500 in support.

Through the Scholarship Fund created in his and his mother’s names, Mr. Burelle will continue his lifelong work of encouraging Indigenous students and supporting their potential in the education system.

“It makes me feel very good, [to know] that he’s helping. And [I treasure] the thank you notes that I get. The first year was very emotional to receive these, but now it’s getting to be a little [better],” Ms. Kostyk says.