The Gift of Experience
Meet four students who, thanks to donors, found inspiration and purpose through experiential education.
Meet four students who, thanks to donors, found inspiration and purpose through experiential education.By Robin Morden Office of Advancement
Plutarch once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
We at the University of Waterloo could not agree more. The University is renowned for our experiential education programs, which immerse students in vibrant settings and empower them to explore, experiment, create, and learn. Students emerge from these experiences transformed—not just with new knowledge, but also new passions and aspirations.
Many of these experiential opportunities would not be possible without the generosity of donors. Here are four stories of students who “kindled” passions and built careers thanks to donor-funded experiential education programs.
University of Waterloo Pharmacy student Bradley Murphy wanted to broaden his horizons and gain a holistic perspective on health care. For his six-month clinical rotation, he chose to work on Manitoulin Island, where he learned from the island’s Indigenous population—all thanks to a generous scholarship created by Dr. Frank and Juliana Wong.
“I’ve enhanced my clinical and cultural knowledge, and furthered myself as a person,” says Murphy. “It will make me a better pharmacist and care provider.”
Devon Copeland (BASc ’19) was the mechanical lead for the 2018 Waterloo Midnight Sun Solar Car team, which is entirely supported by donors. This exciting experience helped him land a plum co-op job at Tesla.
“They were really interested because a lot of the engineering challenges Tesla faces are very similar to what we’ve faced with Waterloo’s solar car,” explains Copeland. “We’re both working on an electric car and we even both use the same cells in our battery packs.”
Thanks to donor Sheryl Kennedy (BES ’76), Planning student Jacklyn Iezzi spent her last co-op term working for Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph (WDG).
“Sheryl’s contribution is just so generous,” says Jacklyn. “It transcends beyond me as a student at Waterloo…. It’s helping people find adequate and affordable living situations.”
In 2018, Waterloo International Development student Indra Sarju (BES ’19) went to Africa to work with young people in Malawi, who represent the largest proportion of its population and have the highest rate of unemployment. Her work there was made possible by the Winifred Hewetson Awards in Community And World Service.
“The International Development program allowed me to take what I’m passionate about and apply it to create positive change in places where social, economic and environmental challenges threaten the very existence of the people who live there,” says Sarju.
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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 centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.