Congratulations to Aidan Eglin, a grade 12 student at Pleasant Valley Secondary, for winning a Schulich Leader Award to the University of British Columbia.
“I must admit receiving the scholarship was a total surprise. It feels surreal. I can not believe I’ve been given this opportunity. It has actually changed my plans quite a lot,” commented Aidan, who was notified on May 11th that he was a recipient of the $80,000 scholarship.
Through the Schulich Foundation, these prestigious entrance scholarships are awarded to high school graduates this year, enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada.
Aidan was nominated for the scholarship by staff PVSS. “We are so incredibly proud of Aidan and this accomplishment. Each school has the opportunity to nominate one student to be a Schulich Leader, and Aidan was a natural fit. Over and over, we, as a staff, have been taken aback by what Aidan is capable of and we are excited to see where he goes in life. Congratulations Aidan!” comments Principal Chelsea Prince.
Aidan says originally, he was planning to attend McGill University to earn a Bachelors of Engineering with a major in computer engineering. “I had received a $5000/year scholarship to that program, and that alone had me ecstatic.”
“Now, I’ll be taking a Bachelors of Science with a combined major in computer science & astronomy with a minor in linguistics. It’s been such a gift to be able to graduate from one of the best universities in the country, completely free of debt.”
Aidan said he is very excited to be able to attend UBC. “I’ve been spending the last few days putting together my timetable and reading up on the courses I’ll be taking.”
Looking ahead, Aidan says after he graduates from UBC he’d like to go to McGill and take a masters degree revolving around computer science, specifically regarding natural language processing. He says that although my skill set lies in programming and computers, his passion is in linguistics so this is a nice way for him to combine the two.
With receiving the scholarship and having to adjust his thinking, Aidan said at first he was a little concerned that he would no longer be an engineer (B.Sc vs the B.Eng he was planning). “But, I’ve come to realize that I will be far more happy with the science degree studying what I enjoy, rather than an engineering degree studying what I think would help me make a good living.”
During this quarantine time, Aidan says he has been spending his time working on his programming skills by developing a few apps and websites for practice.
Aidan was a gold medal winner in website design at the 2019 Skills Canada National Championships event in Halifax and would have been defending his title this year, if the event had been able to go ahead.
In 2018 Aidan also developed a scheduling “app” for his classmates at PVSS, which allowed students to easily track their classes for each day, what time they start and what assignments are due. The app also allows students and teachers to submit notes and assigned homework tasks to be viewed by everyone that is in that class.
He also finds time to participate in student government and other school activities.
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 Schulich Leader Scholars: the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.
A press release from the Schulich Foundation states these future leaders 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.