First-year York University students Betty Seifu and Sherry Bo-Yee Wong have won prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships for their academic excellence, leadership in school and community life, and entrepreneurial talent.
The scholarship program, created by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich three years ago, encourages high-school graduates to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies. Administered by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, it provides funding at 20 universities across Canada for one scholarship for an undergraduate student enrolled in engineering and another scholarship for a student who is pursuing a non-engineering degree in a science, technology or mathematics program.
Seifu, who graduated from Notre Dame High School in Scarborough, Ont., is entering York’s Lassonde School of Engineering to pursue a bachelor of engineering specialized honours degree. She was awarded an engineering-focused scholarship valued at $80,000. As president of her high-school student council, she launched a “Stop the Stigma” mental health campaign and mentored junior students. Her drama club ensemble received a number of awards in the Sears Ontario Drama Festival.
Wong graduated from Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge, Ont. She has been admitted to the Faculty of Science for a bachelor of science specialized honours in biochemistry, with a scholarship valued at $60,000. While in high school, Wong founded a program to encourage girls to be outspoken, began an organic cosmetic business and was president of an eco-schools club that motivated students from 47 Waterloo-area schools to make everyday objects out of recycled materials.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to review files for this award,” says Janet Morrison, vice-provost students. “The quality of student applications this year was excellent, and I’m looking forward to supporting Sherry and Betty as they progress through their undergraduate degrees at York University.”
In both instances, the committee was impressed by the recipients’ outstanding academic achievements and demonstrated leadership.
The 2014-15 academic year marks the third year of York University’s participation in the Schulich Leader Scholarship program. The program was made possible by the generous donation of Seymour Schulich, who has given more than $350 million in philanthropy in Canada and the United States, largely focused on education and health care.