Morgan Beattie will receive an $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship over four years to study in USask’s College of Arts and Science. Ashim Dhital has earned a $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship over four years to enter the College of Engineering at USask. (Photos: Submitted)

Schulich Leader scholars ready for next chapter

At first glance, Morgan Beattie and Ashim Dhital live very different lives. They grew up in different cities and have different passions and goals. Yet, once you get to know them, you quickly learn that family, balance and altruism are passions they share that have led both of them to success.

Now the 18-year-old students also share the experience of being the most recent Schulich Leader Scholarship recipients attending the University of Saskatchewan (USask).

Schulich Leader Scholarships are undergraduate entrance scholarships awarded annually to 50 high school graduates enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada. USask has partnered with the Schulich organization since 2012 and has welcomed 16 Schulich Leaders to the Saskatoon campus.

“It is all but guaranteed that this group represents the best and brightest Canada has to offer,” said program founder Seymour Schulich. “These students will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale. With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of technology innovators.”

Each year, every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader nominee based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and/or financial need. This year, out of a pool of more than 300,000 potential candidates across Canada, 1,400 students were nominated.

Morgan Beattie.

Beattie will enter the College of Arts and Science this fall and will receive $80,000 over four years, thanks to the Schulich scholarship. Dhital will enter the College of Engineering and receive $100,000 over four years.

“I’m excited to face new challenges, learn new things and have new experiences at the University of Saskatchewan this fall,” said Beattie, a resident of Saskatoon and recent graduate of Marion M. Graham Collegiate.  “I loved every math and science class I took in high school. I am excited to study science and find my passion.

“I have always had a natural curiosity and hunger for science. I look forward to exploring many areas of science at the University of Saskatchewan until I am ready to narrow my focus on a specific field. I am so thankful to be a Schulich Leader and to be able to pursue my love of science without financial pressure.”

Dhital also has a clear plan for his future. Eventually he sees himself as a mechanical/aeronautical engineer working for a multinational aerospace company such as Boeing, Airbus or Bombardier. He would like to lead a team of engineers and develop new technology.

Dhital and his parents moved from Nepal to Quebec when he was five years old and then to Prince Albert before he started Grade 8.

It was in Grade 8 that his interest in aviation was piqued when he visited the Air Canada booth at a job fair. The representative there said many in the aviation field start out as members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. So, that’s what Dhital did. He now holds a glider and private pilot license and is working on earning his commercial license.

“Flying is always a joy,” said Dhital, a graduate of St. Mary High School in Prince Albert. “It’s incredible to be in control of a machine that allows you to do such impressive things. Statistically, flying is very safe, but the smallest mistake can go very wrong. So, you have to prepare yourself mentally and make sure you do your job very well.”

Ashim Dhital.

Both Dhital and Beattie say they are so thankful for their parents and the support and guidance their families provide.

When Dhital is asked who his role model is, he immediately says “my dad.”

“We don’t get to go back to our home country of Nepal very often, but when we do, it’s a very eye-opening experience for me to see where my family came from,” said Dhital. “When I visit my cousins, my aunt and my uncles who still live in the village that my father grew up in, it is a complete different lifestyle.

“My father came from very humble beginnings and he worked very hard to get our family to live the comfortable life that we’re living today, and I think that’s why he’s my role model because he’s sacrificed so much for our family.”

Beattie said her parents are her biggest role models.

“They taught me how to live a balanced life and always made sure I knew I was loved,” said Beattie. “I owe everything to my parents because they taught me how to work hard. They taught me how to compromise between a career and personal life. They are so supportive; they attended all of my musicals, my sports games and all my band concerts—every single one. They’re always there for me and they mean the world to me.”

Beattie said her family, including her twin brothers, share a love of sports and music. In high school, she played on the basketball, volleyball, softball, badminton and curling teams, and in Grade 12 she was the captain of her volleyball team, co-captain of her basketball team.

Beattie’s family has also formed a band together, volunteering to play at various care homes, including Luther Heights, where she has worked for the past two years.

“Getting to share music is really a rewarding experience,” said Beattie. “I enjoy performing for the residents because sometimes they’ll sing along and they’re really excited about the music we’re playing for them. Through music, I’ve been able to connect with them on another level and form meaningful relationships.”

Dhital also works with seniors. He volunteers at the Herb Bassett Home, a special needs care home next to Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. He said that work, along with the volunteering he does with the Société canadienne-française de Prince Albert and the Prince Albert Nepali Community, and his time with the air cadets, has helped shape who he has become.

“My community has allowed me to accomplish a lot of things and allowed me to do a lot of things,” said Dhital. “So, I think it’s important to give back and volunteering is my way to give back.

“When I was younger I was more of a shy kid. I was more introverted—not the type of guy who went out and talked to new people. But a lot of the activities I participated in, like volunteering, helped me grow out of that, and that’s why I volunteered so much. Not only was I helping other people, but I also saw myself grow into more of a competent person and into more of a leader.”

Beattie also believes her experiences in academics, athletics and music will help her moving forward as she pursues her love of science as a Schulich Leader at USask.

“I look forward to transferring the leadership skills I’ve gained to the post-secondary level as I pursue science at the U of S.”

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