A 17-year-old science whiz and budding leader has landed one of the largest scholarships available to Canadian students.
Joy Shah is the winner of a $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study engineering at Western University this fall.
“I was not expecting it at all,” said the recent Great Lakes Secondary grad. “It completely took me by surprise. It was just shocking.”
Shah was one of only 50 Canadian students chosen from among 1,300 nominees.
This spring he earned a bronze medal at the Canada Wide Science Fair for a fuel cell concept he co-developed, and in May he won a YMCA Celebration of Youth award for creativity.
School guidance counsellor Karen L’Heureux, who encouraged Shah to apply, said he is “a humble, inspiring young man who has certainly taken steps toward driving his passion for renewable energy.”
Shah said the money will cover tuition and books for four years of university, as well as a chunk of his living expenses.
Only one student per high school is eligible, and to be considered Shah was tasked to recall his science, technology, engineering and math experiences and contributions.
He had a growing portfolio to reference. He was a volunteer at TV Cogeco and a member of the Golden K Kiwanis Club, which he said improved his leadership skills.
Shah mentored students in a Lego robotics club at Hanna Memorial school, and under his guidance the club won two awards and qualified for regional competitions.
“They were bright students and they wanted to learn as much as they could,” he said.
Clubs and other extracurriculars have been a large part of Shah’s life.
“If you have all this knowledge about stuff I feel like you should share it. There’s no point in just hoarding what you know,” he said.
He plans to spend the summer working at his father’s water filtration business and joining a family trip to India.
Shah said he is looking forward to attending Western this fall, where first year students are exposed to different engineering options. He’s not yet sure what direction to take, he said.
“The community has made me who I am right now and I want to give back. That’s why I try and involve myself as much as possible.”