A: I was so excited I did not think I would win. I was trying so hard not to scream into the phone. I took a few days to let everything sink in and really felt honoured.
Q: How significant is it for you personally to become a Loran Scholar?
A: Winning the Loran Award has allowed so many opportunities to open up so quickly including – internships, and mentorships. Everyone I’ve talked to has said being a Loran Scholar changed their lives and I think it’s going to change my life- I don’t know exactly what this means yet, but I’m excited to find out.
Q: What are you hoping to do? Do you have a long term goal in mind in terms of the kind of change you’d like to make or be part of? Something in particular that made you perhaps stand out to selection committee?
A: I want to use this opportunity to give back to the communities that have helped me get this far. I've been involved for years as an activist around climate change. I'm interested in creating better solutions for children with autism since my two brothers have autism. My goal is to attend University of Waterloo or UBC for Engineering.
Q: If applicable, how much of a role did being a SHAD Fellow have in your selection to be a Loran Scholar? Did being a SHAD Fellow come up in your application or in your interview?
A: Being at SHAD taught me about the power of youth. Before SHAD, I saw age as a barrier: all these things I want to accomplish I thought I was too young for. I thought I didn’t have the network or wisdom to accomplish them. I’ve taken this mindset forward into the climate change initiative I’m working on with my friends called Project Two Degrees. This is a Canada-wide youth-based petition platform to encourage politicians to act on climate change. My role in this is to organize an Art Collective where youth will share their art surrounding climate change. These will then be shared to politicians.
Q: What was your biggest takeaway from SHAD?
A: I took away the idea that diversity is necessary when it comes to collaboration. I’ve never worked on a team where so many different people were trying to accomplish the same thing. We all had different ideas and different approaches and through these differences we found success. I can’t believe everything I learned and experienced at SHAD only took place during one month!
Q: SHAD now has 88 Loran scholars...What does that say to you and what should it say to others about the value of SHAD?
A: It speaks volumes and shows people that SHAD has a tangible impact. I believe SHAD chooses people who can grow within the program, not necessarily just the top students. SHAD changed my life and my perspective on a lot of things; it has had a really big impact on how I approach everything I do. The network is never going to go away, and I’m so grateful to have it.