Both recipients of Schulich Leader Scholarships who are attending the University of Waterloo this year are top students: Emily Pass, of Charlottetown, graduated with a 100 per cent average from high school and Oakville’s Amanda Rampertab scored a 95 per cent.

But it’s the way they contributed to their communities that really distinguishes them - Pass has already founded her own business, won a provincial science fair, competed in ringette at the national level, played clarinet in her school’s junior orchestra and was the editor of a literary newspaper.

Two-time world champion

For her part, Rampertab was part of the first Canadian team to win the FIRST Lego League World Championships. She went on to win the world championships again in 2013 and her championship robot was recently inducted into the Smithsonian Institute as part of an exhibit currently touring the United States.

Amanda Rampertab

Amanda Rampertab, UWaterloo undergrad

Like Pass, Rampertab is also an accomplished musician, playing trumpet in her school’s senior concert and jazz bands, while mentoring Grade 9 students in the junior band.

Pass, whose scholarship is worth $60,000, will join Waterloo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Rampertab, awarded an $80,000 scholarship, will take her robotic passion to a new level as a student in the Department of Mechanical and Mechantronics Engineering.

Emily Pass

Emily Pass, UWaterloo undergrad

Waterloo’s co-operative education program a draw

Seymour Schulich, Canadian business leader and philanthropist, created the scholarship program three years ago, which encourages high school graduates to embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in their future careers. Scholarship winners are known as Schulich Leaders and this year there were 40 selected from 1,147 nominees.

Rampertab was drawn to the University of Waterloo after hearing older students talk about Waterloo Engineering at international robotics competitions. She said the co-operative education program at Waterloo was a top driver for her decision: “Just getting out there in the real workplace on five different co-op terms will be amazing because hands-on experience is important in engineering.”

Scholarships support STEM students

Open to every high school, secondary school and CEGEP across Canada, Schulich Leader Scholarships recognize Canadian students who plan to study one of the STEM disciplines during their undergraduate years at university.  These students demonstrate two of the following attributes: academic excellence, outstanding community, business or entrepreneurial leadership or financial need.

Pass has also helped raise money for a school in Kenya and  Rampertab was a founding member of her high school’s Social Justice league.

“I'm a huge advocate of fusing arts and science, so Waterloo's reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship definitely gave the school an even greater appeal in my eyes,” says Pass. If you want to be creative, a good first step is to surround yourself with creative people.”