Raring to go
Engineering’s new Schulich Leaders start their studies with energy, passion - and lots of ideas
Five incoming students at Waterloo Engineering are starting their studies with $100,000 in backing from a prestigious scholarship program.
Subha Azrin and Krishna Patel of computer engineering, Norman Chen and Michael Xu of software engineering, and Jonathan Zhou of mechatronics engineering are among 10 campus-wide Schulich Leaders Scholarship winners at the University of Waterloo.
Launched in 2012 by businessperson and philanthropist Seymour Schulich to encourage young people to go into STEM disciplines, the program selected 100 winners from more than 300,000 graduating high school students across Canada based on grades, community leadership and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Subha Azrin, of Scarborough, Ontario, developed apps throughout high school and aspires to found an artificial intelligence startup using the knowledge and experience she gains at Waterloo.
She helped create an app to break language barriers faced by newcomers to North America and was a key organizer of a tech program called Recess Hacks that had more than 100 participants throughout her school board.
“I’ve always loved problem-solving,” Azrin says. “To be able to build a device or code a program that solves a problem faced by millions of people is something that intrigues me.”
Norman Chen, of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, is one of the top young scholars to come out of his home province in recent years and chose to attend Waterloo for its reputation in engineering.
A swimmer and accomplished chess player in addition to an academic high-achiever, he has his sights set on making the world a better place by doing work with a social purpose.
“I hope to help people who have not had as many opportunities as I have through the projects I help create,” Chen says.
Krishna Patel, of Edmonton, Alberta, has a drive to innovate and knew she wanted to pursue a career in tech in early high school, where she launched a mental health organization to support young people.
She was involved with organizations including Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology, and Junior Achievement, and hopes to build a startup company combining technology and mental health education.
“What I'm looking forward to accomplishing most at Waterloo is taking the ideas I've had and turning them into a reality,” Patel says.
Michael Xu, of Calgary, Alberta, was attracted to Waterloo by its culture of innovation, liberal intellectual property policy, technology focus and co-operative education program.
He already has experience developing apps, including a touch-free recipe app that allows users to swipe the screens on their devices without actually touching them.
“At the moment, all aspects of tech appeal to me, from dev to design and to business, so my ultimate goal is to found a startup,” Xu says. “Creating a product and growing a business seems like a fun, challenging career path.”
Jonathan Zhou, of Calgary, Alberta, chose to study mechatronics engineering because it intersects with several other fields and is anxious to start building as a student.
He co-founded a robotics club and a non-profit robotics education company in high school to make the discipline accessible to students through summer camps, training competitive teams and hosting tournaments.
“I hope to continue growing my non-profit and hopefully get involved in some startups,” he says. “I have a lot of ideas and I can’t wait to show them to the world.”
Go to Waterloo welcomes 2022 Schulich Leaders for the campus-wide story.
Main photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within our Office of Indigenous Relations.