What would you do with $100,000?
If you would use it to earn an engineering degree from the University of Western Ontario, you may get along with Joy Shah.
Shah, fresh graduate of Great Lakes Secondary School, has just been named a recipient of the 2017 Schulich Leader scholarship. A $100,000 scholarship for students pursuing an education in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics — collectively known as the STEM fields.
“I was pretty shocked,” said Shah, who learned about the win waiting at Tim Horton’s with friends. “I was not expecting it at all.”
Shah said he called his mother once he learned about the win and she passed on the news to his father.
“They were very happy for me and extremely proud,” Shah said about his parent’s reaction.
The Schulich Leader scholarship has a unique application process where each secondary school selects one candidate to nominate for the scholarship. This year, GLSS guidance counselor Karen L’Heureux encouraged Shah to apply for the nomination. Shah felt there was nothing to lose in applying, but never expected he would win.
“From prior exposure to nation-level STEM competitions, I believed I didn’t have a good chance of winning. For the last three years, I have been participating in the Canada Wide Science Fair and the students that also compete there are amazing,” said Shah.
Shah was a busy-body during his high school years. He maintained grades well above 95% and often spend five hours a night looking at homework. He balanced that with a long list of extracurricular activities. Shah has volunteered at CogecoTV as a member of the technical crew and a director, he taught computer programming to younger students as part of the Hannah Memorial Public School First Lego League, founded the SCITS Kiwanis Key Club, and has been a perennial science fair participant since grade four. Shah has made an appearance at the Canada Wide Science Fair three times.
Shah said he chose to study engineering at Western because it offers a common first-year that introduces freshmen to all types of engineering allowing students to find out what discipline they enjoy the most.
Shah has worked on projects that involve components of chemical, electrical, and software engineering, and is still undecided on what branch of engineering he wants to study. Shah said he is drawn towards robotics, which he was introduced to in grade five as part of the LKDSB enrichment program.
The Schulich award offers more than removing the financial hit that comes with university, said Shah. The Schulich Foundation is well connected around the world which Shah said opens doors for co-ops and internships with high-tech companies.
The new extracurricular activities at university are also something Shah looks forward too. He said he expects to get involved with the Western Aero Club, which is interested in all things flying.
Canadian businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100 million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage the best and brightest students to become the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation. This program awards 100 scholarships annually, valued at more than $7 million. High schools across the country put forth more than 1,300 Schulich Leader Nominees who were vying for 50 Canadian scholarships.