UVic News – University of Victoria
After spending hundreds, if not thousands, of hours on the high seas researching microscopic seaweed, Wylee Fitz-Gerald, former Schulich frontman and earth and ocean science graduate, has some advice for battling seasickness: “Get plenty of fresh air and keep your eyes on the horizon. It’s a prescription the University of Victoria graduate learned to follow, thanks in large part to the Schulich scholarship Leader she received in 2015.
Established in 2012 by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, the Schulich Leader Scholarships are awarded to high school graduates who enroll in an undergraduate science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) program at 20 partner universities in Canada, including the University of Victoria. To date, more than 500 students have received Schulich scholarships of $80,000 to pursue a science degree and $100,000 for an engineering degree. So far, there have been 20 Schulich Scholars at UVic, with My Huy Lim and Denaisha Kraft joining the community in 2021. Currently celebrating its first decade, the Schulich Leader Scholars Program is well on its way to achieving its goal. shameless to “create the next generation of technological innovators.
“Responsibility to give others opportunities”
For Fitz-Gerald, who is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Oceanography at the University of British Columbia, receiving the prestigious Schulich Scholarship has not only meant financial stability to help him achieve his academic goals, but instilled the importance of mentorship and generosity.
“With the Schulich Leader Scholarship, one thing I learned is that while all these opportunities are available to you, you also have a responsibility to provide opportunities for others. It’s like going up the ladder, turning around and reaching out to help the next person up.
Fitz-Gerald says what makes the Schulich Scholarship different from other scholarships is that it builds community.
“It pushed me to go further because there was so much expectation of me and because people put you in this box where they lift you up, and you want to fit in there,” Fitz-Gerald says. “So I ended up mentoring the new Schulich Leaders coming in…and that really allowed me to make a difference and get involved with the university.”
Community of researchers
Fascinated by technology and computers from a young age, Robert Lee, a graduate of the University of Victoria, says receiving a Schulich Leader Scholarship in Engineering in 2016 allowed him to devote his time to his passions in STEM without worrying about financial pressures.
“When I first learned that I had won the Schulich I was over the moon. It was a whirlwind of so many feelings. There is not only a sense of accomplishment and recognition for my work hard work and dedication, but also a reaffirmation that my journey in life was on the right track,” says Lee. “It also reminded me that I should continue to pursue my interests, such as giving back to the community and continuing to strive for a thorough understanding of my classes.”
In May, Lee graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering with a major in computer intelligence and has worked full-time for Microsoft for six months as a software engineer. He has worked remotely from Victoria since his early days at Microsoft, but plans to relocate to the company’s offices in Redmond, WA, USA in the coming months.
Although his time at UVic is behind him, Lee says what he learned during this time in his life and the impact of the Schulich Fellowship continue to guide him.
“The Schulich Fellowship has connected me to an incredibly inspiring community of scholars for 10 years now,” says Lee. “Having this community and support network, not only when you have questions – former students who are a few years ahead may have understood the challenges you are currently trying to overcome – but also to share my advice and my experience with future Schulich Scholars, this is a really important and unique aspect of the Schulich Leader Scholars program.
Visit schulichleaders10.com for more Schulich Leaders spotlight.
If you are a company looking to hire Canada’s top STEM talent, contact the Schulich Program through this form.