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Students at the University of British Columbia receive Canada’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) scholarship

Universities announce their 2019 Schulich Leaders, each winning $100,000 or $80,000 for undergraduate study.

Helen Zhang, Lauren Moody, Mateo Pekic, Nika Martinussen and Aidan Mundle have been named the University of British Columbia’s recipients of the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship.

This year, out of a pool of more than 300,000 potential candidates across Canada, 1,400 students were nominated, of which 50 received this celebrated award.

Helen Zhang, 17, is a recipient of the $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Sentinel Secondary in West Vancouver, BC, Zhang will be entering the Faculty of Science this fall. Zhang was selected for her academic leadership within her school for founding the Trial and Error Club that encouraged learning beyond the in-class curriculum. In her extracurricular time, Zhang volunteered at the Biodiversity Research lab at UBC where she helped to research Z.marina seagrass and invertebrate communities. Zhang also co-founded the Vancouver Young Artist Project (VAYA) where the artworks from talented school children in the Lower Mainland were sold over the year—raising close to $300.00, with net proceeds forwarded to BC Children’s Hospital.

Lauren Moody, 18, is a recipient of the $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Okanagan Mission Secondary in Kelowna, BC, Moody will be entering the Faculty of Science this fall. Moody was selected for her leadership achievements as a youth advocate for climate action, where she operated a sustainable-living blog, wrote for local publications and volunteered at environmental events. She has also spoken at TEDx, climate change symposiums, and the “LSF” Sustainability Gala. Moody established OKM’s sustainability club and was trained by Al Gore as BC’s youngest Climate Reality Leader.

Mateo Pekic, 18, is a recipient of the $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Prince of Wales Secondary in Vancouver, BC, Pekic will be entering the Faculty of Applied Science this fall. Pekic was selected for his leadership within his school, editing the school yearbook and devising Filacycle to help improve recycling and promote innovation among peers by recycling plastics for use in 3D printers. In his extracurricular time, Pekic also created a business to increase access to prototyping services for the community.

Nika Martinussen, 17, is a recipient of the $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of J. H. Bruns Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB, Martinussen will be entering the Faculty of Applied Science this fall. Martinussen was selected for her academic excellence and leadership achievements, including serving as an executive member of student council and being president of her school’s social justice group— which established a partnership between her high school and a northern Manitoban Indigenous community to move their communities toward reconciliation. Martinussen lead many initiatives to this end—including presentations, an awareness campaign targeting misinformation about Indigenous issues, a sport equipment fundraiser, grant applications, and a school-trip to their partner Indigenous community.

Aidan Mundle, 18, is a recipient of the $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Albert College in Belleville, ON, Mundle will be entering the Faculty of Applied Science this fall. Mundle was selected for his leadership achievements, one of them at the Canada-Wide Science Fair where he earned a bronze medal for an innovation that he engineered at home. Mundle designed a prototype reaction vessel out of a paint can and copper pipes housing a chemical reaction to eliminate carbon dioxide from small engine exhaust. Mundle later partnered with a local college enabling him to collect 100,000 data points to prove his hypothesis—that if his device was implemented for a year, it would reduce 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the environment.

“Schulich Leader Scholarships are the largest STEM scholarships in Canada. With 50 outstanding students selected in Canada each year it is all but guaranteed that this group represents the best and brightest Canada has to offer. 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,” says program founder Seymour Schulich.

About Schulich Leader Scholarships Canada

Schulich Leader Scholarships are prestigious entrance scholarships awarded to 50 high school graduates enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada. Each year, every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader Nominee based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and financial need.

Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100 million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage our best and brightest students to become the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation.

About the University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s entrepreneurial spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. UBC encourages its students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.