Celebrating the Shad alum named 2023 Schulich Leaders – Eric Gao
Q: How does it feel to be named a Schulich Leader?
I feel incredibly lucky. I believe there are so many talented, hardworking and altruistic students worthy of this scholarship. I am grateful for all the peers, mentors and communities that helped me get to where I am. I want to thank my Shad UBC Ohana who gave me a life-changing month. Special thank you to the PA team and everyone who helped me bring Project Valentine to their provinces. Thank you to Ellen Tam, Misheel Lkhagvasuren, Clare Coleman, Karen Wen, Liah Mah, Aaditya Mann, Chloe Son and Kent Penaranda.
Q: What motivates your passion for STEAM/Entrepreneurship?
My passion comes from recognizing the many difficult problems in the world today. With so many problems that I am passionate about, STEAM and entrepreneurship will enable me to take action and build viable solutions with others. To me, “building” is not just the technical element but the application of interdisciplinary creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.
Q: At Shad we are leaders in social innovation, how do you plan to use #STEAM4Good?
I am fascinated by the intersection of human factors and engineering through human-centred design to build technology. I personally seek solutions in social interaction, education, sustainability and frugal science. My main goal is to build tools that can empower anyone to use their talents for good regardless of their circumstances. Pursuing Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo will prepare me to leverage engineering and design to tackle these issues!
Q: What lessons would you share with incoming Shads?
There are very few programs that give you the same diverse perspectives and experiences as Shad. You’ll get the chance to meet like-minded students from across Canada, hear insightful lectures and just generally experience a life-changing month. For incoming Shads, take EVERY opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, learn more and build deeper connections with those around you! I didn’t believe it myself but it’s so true when people say that the month would pass in the blink of an eye. Make sure you leave that program having no regrets and as a different person with a broader perspective. Have fun!