Schulich Leadership Scholarships are entrance awards for high school graduates enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at participating Canadian universities. Canadian businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich created the scholarship program in 2011.
This year, there were over 1,300 Schulich Leader Nominees from across Canada vying for 50 scholarships, valued at up to $100,000 each. Wilson and Nolan have joined the ranks of over 270 students who received this scholarship to date.
Wilson, 18, is a recipient of the $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Holy Cross High School in Saskatoon, Wilson will be entering the College of Engineering this fall.
When did you know you wanted to become an engineer?
Pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in biomedical engineering has been my goal since a very young age and I have worked hard to prepare myself for this area of study. The idea of working in the health care field to benefit the lives of others, using the technical applications of engineering, is extremely appealing. After finishing my masters, I hope to work in this field by designing prosthetic limbs and advancing bio-medical technology to aid people’s movement and help them live full and abundant lives.
How has working in your community shaped who you are?
I have worked with a dance group specialized for children with physical and cognitive disabilities for six years. As an assistant in this group, I helped teach dance skills in a variety of styles, while maintaining a fun and inclusive environment. I have been privileged to work with, and dance alongside many different individuals and this has given me a unique set of leadership skills. I love working with this group because it has allowed me to grow as an individual while developing my leadership skills.
Has dance and sports always played a major role in your life?
Athletics have always been a major part of my life. I was a captain of five different hockey teams, including a Midget A team. I was also named the captain of my school cross country team during my grade 12 season where I was responsible for encouraging and providing guidance for other members of the team. I played for the senior basketball team at my high school and this has given me many opportunities to play at high-level tournaments throughout North America.
Nolan, 18, is a recipient of the $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship and a graduate of Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School in Calgary. She will be starting her studies at the College of Arts and Science in the fall of 2018.
What got you interested in science?
I developed an appreciation for nature as our family would ski, hike, cycle and kayak in nearby provincial and national parks. As an eight-year-old I considered myself a mini-scientist. Complex phrases such as “oxbow lake” and “monoculture forest” often appeared in my vocabulary as my parents encouraged me to ask questions, hypothesize and identify evidence to seek deeper understanding about the environment.
As you grew up, what kept you interested in hypothesizing and learning about nature?
One of my most rewarding volunteer experiences was researching populations of Long-toed Salamanders, a species-at-risk, in wetlands. After several hours of mosquito swarms, soaked clothes and thorough searching, we found a prized salamander tadpole! Under legislation, evidence of the organism increased a buffer area around the wetland to ensure the survival of the species.
I felt inspired by contributing to a discovery that ultimately assisted with its protection. However, I wondered what landowners would do with this area, because the extended buffer prohibited development. I researched regulatory frameworks and businesses that facilitate carbon offsets through stewardship initiatives. Land like the buffer, could be marketed as such offsets. My eyes opened to the world of environmental science entrepreneurship and how I could initiate similar resourceful and profitable enterprise.
Your interest in business and environment is an interesting combination.
Canada needs ambitious and entrepreneurial-minded individuals to pursue innovation and technology that puts us on the map as global leaders. I plan to work as an environmental scientist establishing an ecological venture, which could be similar to the carbon offset model.
How did you discover the importance of community involvement?
I first discovered it through seven years of Girl Guides. After desiring further leadership training, I joined Cadets and served for over four years. I am proud to have contributed to 35 organizations, and participated on four competitive sports teams, including a provincial biathlon team. Some of my most gratifying accomplishments were through advocacy. I lobbied to both provincial and federal governments concerning head injury safety after becoming inured myself, and to a municipal government regarding an anti-pesticide by-law.