December 18, 2020
Growing up in Esquimalt, B.C., Niko was drawn to technology and the search for sustainable clean energy sources. His interest fell specifically on unlocking the potential of nuclear fusion. Unlike nuclear fission —the current approach — fusion produces no dangerous nuclear waste and no CO2 emissions, with inert helium as a useful byproduct.
To embark on this plan, Niko knew his education would need to be both cutting-edge and interdisciplinary. He looked toward UBC’s Integrated Engineering program and applied — but he would need help.
“I’m the first person in my family to go to university, and coming from a financially adverse background, it seemed pretty much impossible for me to pursue an education at such a large institution,” says Niko. “When I was told I was being given the Centennial Scholars Entrance Award I was in shock, I didn’t know what to say. My whole family was ecstatic — it quite literally changed our lives.”
Fast forward to today. Niko has completed a summer co-op residency at the National Research Council Canada in Montreal and is now in his third year in UBC’s Integrated Engineering program. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Niko is optimistic about his aspirations for safe and sustainable power through nuclear fusion and his plan to get there through research. He’s hopeful because he knows he has support — your support.
“I would like to say to donors that they’re superheroes! With their generous gift, they’re saying, not just to me, but to everybody: ‘I believe in you, and I believe in what you can do.’ I think that’s all students need — the motivation and the resources to give back, to use their potential in society and as people.”