Written by: Jenna Hobin
“The Cristine Rotenberg Scholarship for Academic and Creative Pursuits supports Carleton students committed to their education who have a creative interest outside of their academic studies, because I’ve always believed that you can do both,” says Cristine Rotenberg. As a proud alumna, Crime Statistics Analyst for Statistics Canada, YouTube personality and entrepreneur, Cristine is the embodiment of ‘doing both’.
With a YouTube channel of close to 8 million subscribers, and millions of followers on social media, Cristine turned her hobby of nail art design into a growing brand. Better known in the YouTube and social media world by her alias—Simply Nailogical—Cristine expanded her business from video nail art tutorials to a nail polish brand called Holo Taco.
“I used what I learned from viewer feedback over the years, paired that with my personal interest in exciting special effects finishes, and created the Holo Taco brand to give people nail polish that is more interesting and higher quality than what you will find in the drugstore,” she says.
Through her generosity and passion for marrying her creative mind with business and academia, Cristine recently established the Cristine Rotenberg Scholarship for Academic and Creative Pursuits. Awarded annually to two outstanding undergraduate students in any program of study, the scholarship will support students who, like Cristine, have demonstrated a commitment to their education while pursuing their creative interests.
From playing music, making animations to creating their own nail art videos, Cristine hopes that this award will allow students to continue to fulfill their creative aspirations during their academic journey. As she explains, “I have always encouraged my audience to pursue their educational goals, but I recognize there is a financial burden that may be a barrier for students completing their studies and may result in them choosing to put their creative passions on hold in the interest of funding their studies.”
For Cristine, nail art was her creative outlet while studying through her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Criminology, writing her thesis for her Master’s in Sociology and working in the field of criminal justice within the public service. She credits her time as an undergraduate and graduate student at Carleton as providing her with writing skills, presentation experience, and time and project management skills, which have been paramount in planning and launching her online content and businesses.
As Cristine explains, “Writing skills and presentation experience learned during my time at Carleton has been greatly beneficial to my ability to draft business presentations, concept boards or develop content for social media where the goal is to communicate a message or story in a clear and concise manner.”
In addition to her time spent in the classroom, Cristine commended two of her former professors—Dr. Evelyn Maeder and Dr. Aaron Doyle—as resonating with her well past graduation. Dr. Maeder was honoured to learn that she was an inspiration to Cristine while she completing her degrees, and later launching and growing her own businesses.
Cristine Rotenberg and Dr. Evelyn Maeder at Carleton University
As her former Professor in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Dr. Maeder recounted Cristine by saying, “When I learned of her success, I was not surprised in the least–Cristine was an exceptional student and TA, and she has clearly carried those skills forward into all of her pursuits.” She continues, “I am immensely proud of her.”
From scholar and analyst-turned-serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, Cristine’s repertoire is nothing short of motivational. Although Cristine’s story is its own source of inspiration, it was Dr. Aaron Doyle—Cristine’s M.A. thesis supervisor—who provided her with a lesson in lifelong learning.
His speech on ‘imposter syndrome’ encouraged Cristine to see her own value, knowledge and place in academia. “Dr. Doyle helped me see that everyone else feels the same as you do, and you’re never really done learning,” she says. It is through the Cristine Rotenberg Scholarship for Academic and Creative Pursuits that she is encouraging our next generation of leaders to do just that—supporting students to chase their dreams while following in her footsteps as a perennial learner.■
To personally announce the establishment of the Cristine Rotenberg Scholarship for Academic and Creative Pursuits, Cristine hosted Dr. Evelyn Maeder on the Simply Nailogical YouTube channel. You can watch ‘Painting my Professor’s Nails’ here!
Establishing a scholarship or bursary is an opportunity to give not to Carleton but through it—empowering Carleton students on their journey to drive the change our world needs. Click here to learn more about how you can advance purpose through education by establishing a scholarship or bursary reflective of a cause that is meaningful to you.
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