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Why Give | Impact stories

Schulich scholar shaping the future at UBC

For Niki McIntosh, the support of the Schulich Leaders Scholarship positions her to create solutions for the planet with her passion for clean energy.

Growing up in Abbotsford, Niki McIntosh wanted to move beyond her local education.

“I felt like I could never really compete at the top level. We were never the top sports team, science team or anything like that,” says Niki. “Applying to UBC was the logical next step for me. I don’t want to be in a place where I’m comfortable—I want to be in a place where I’m pushed to grow.”

The Schulich Leaders Scholarship changed everything for Niki. Awarded right out of high school, it gave her the chance to broaden her experiences and grow her skills—including a role as the co-lead of an engineering design team at UBC.

Niki says, “This scholarship is life-altering—there’s no question about that!”

With the flexibility and opportunities opened up by the Schulich scholarship, Niki’s vision for the future has evolved during her time at UBC. Initially drawn to chemistry, her strong interest in clean energy led her to the combined major in science program—which allowed her to integrate chemistry, biology, and environmental science into her degree.

Niki’s passion for clean energy started in high school with a project on thermoelectric generators—a technology that uses temperature differences to generate power. She acknowledges the challenges in its current efficiency and environmental impact but still remains hopeful for its success. “I started a project on them and haven’t let go for five years!”

Niki’s commitment to clean energy extends beyond the classroom, with her involvement with Demizine Technology, a clean tech venture firm, during the summer. Working on a biofuel project, she contributed the expertise she gained from a high school project converting waste vegetable oil into biodiesel. Her other achievements include winning first place in the Chem-E-Car competition and earning a nomination for the Freshman Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Beyond her academic pursuits, Niki plays a crucial role as one of the co-captains for the Schulich Leaders Scholarship team at UBC, facilitating events and opportunities for fellow Schulich Scholarship recipients and contributing to its vibrant community.

The Schulich Leaders Scholarship gave Niki the opportunity to really find her passion—and focus on how she might change the world.

“For me, it’s clean energy, but for other people, it might be public speaking, or it might be disposal systems and stuff like that. It’s just finding your niche here and then applying that to the bigger picture.”

Like Niki McIntosh, UBC is committed to creating solutions for the planet.
Find out more about FORWARD, the campaign for UBC—and how you can help.