Chinemerem Chigbo, Shad2018 has been awarded the TD Community Leadership Scholarship, an esteemed $70K investment for changemaking grade 12 students pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Read below about Chinemerem’s reactions to being chosen and how Shad played a part.

Q: How did you feel when you received the news? 

When I initially received the news about the scholarship, I was positively ecstatic. I am not much of a screamer, but boy, did I scream! I was in utter disbelief to have won such a life changing scholarship and I was very eager to be welcomed into such an amazing family of inspiring individuals doing great work across the globe. I still give myself the occasional pinch to make sure it’s all real!

Q: How significant is it for you personally to receive the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership?

Personally, it is incredibly significant to have received one of TD’s Scholarships for Community Leadership. The scholarship means that not only can I attend my dream university (University of Waterloo) and pursue my dream degree (computer engineering) but I can do all that without the stresses of financial burden. The scholarship is also significant because it serves as tangible recognition of all the work I’ve put in throughout my high school career and also as serves an investment into my future. The mere act of TD believing in me and investing cold-hard cash into what I am yet to do, gives me all the more confidence and motivation to go out and keep making a difference!

Q: What are you hoping to do after graduation? Do you have a long-term goal in mind in terms of the kind of change you would like to make or be part of? 

After graduation I hope to use my degree in computer engineering to help those back in my home country of Nigeria. Education is an incredibly important tool for any nation, and technological education is especially important since tech is just where the world’s headed. From personal experience, I know the difference that skills like programming, online job-searching, and computer literacy can make in one’s life, and I can’t begin to recount how many doors have been opened to me simply because I am technologically literate. I truly believe that with the right education, the sky is only the beginning of what one can achieve, and consequently I would love to – at least for part of my career – head back home and teach teens and young adults about programming, job-searching and computer literacy skills.

Q: Do you believe your time at Shad had an impact on your TD Scholarship? 

I believe that my time at Shad had an enormous impact on my TD Scholarship. First off, Shad surrounded me with teenagers from all across Canada who were doing amazing things in their respective communities and who never ceased to inspire me. I took this inspiration with me long after I left those Shad doors and tried to pursue initiatives and opportunities that would bring pride to my fellow Shads. These very initiatives are the reason that I was able to receive TD’s Scholarship. Additionally, the very reason I applied to the TD Scholarship was a direct result of a Shad I met at my province’s Shad alumni reception. This Shad pushed me through the application process and cheered me along all the way to the finish line – I likely wouldn’t have gotten the scholarship if it wasn’t for them. (Thanks, Mesgna!)

Q: What advice would you give an incoming Shad2020?

To all incoming Shad2020 students, I know this time has been really tough, and your Shad experience might not look exactly how you initially anticipated, but please, stay strong! You are awesome, and you will continue to be awesome long after this global pandemic is over! In fact, being the awesome you that you are, you should not hesitate to apply to many, many, many scholarships (but especially TD’s)! As the old saying goes, you miss 100% of the scholarships you don’t apply for, and so regardless of whether you think you will win or not, it doesn’t hurt to try! I definitely did not expect to win the TD Scholarship and look where we are today! Also, remember to start early to look for scholarships and give yourself and your references plenty of time. If you need any additional help, feel free to reach out to me (there aren’t very many Chinemerem Chigbos)!

Read interviews with each of the other 3 Shads who were awarded the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership.

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