Meet Trinity's Schulich Scholar

Xarissa Thompson

photo of Schulich scholar by Jacklyn Atlas

Lukas Weese is one of this year's recipients of the Schulich Leaders Scholarship at the University of Toronto (photo by Jacklyn Atlas)

Lukas Weese has just arrived at Trinity College in the University of Toronto to start his first year -- a recipient of the Schulich Leaders Scholarship, a prestigious award started by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich. 

Supporting 40 students across Canada, the scholarship rewards students pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses, who have also demonstrated significant leadership qualities.  

Lukas Weese, Faculty of Arts and Science, Trinity College, Class of 2019

What drew you to the University of Toronto – and why STEM?
I wanted a liberal arts education that deepens my knowledge of the world around me. U of T provides choice and the freedom to learn about ideas that will ultimately leave me better prepared for adult life. I was also drawn to Trinity College, with its strong sense of community, multitude of extracurricular activities and historic traditions.

Learning from both my parents and my teachers, I put value in curiosity and hard work. I have always been interested in a wide range of subjects, from chemistry and physics to history and philosophy. Many of my best memories from high school came from my involvement with drama, student government and public speaking. My passion for different subjects and a desire to be academically challenged brought me to U of T.

How important are co-curricular activities and volunteer work?
When I was in the fifth grade, I got sick. At first it appeared to be the flu, but then I lost feeling in my legs and experienced weakness in my joints. My parents took me to Sick Kids, where I was a patient for a month. The experience really shook my foundation and I gained a new perspective. I saw how fortunate I was not to be as sick as many of the children around me and it left me with a desire to help my community. Once I was well, I started fundraising for Sick Kids and working to promote awareness of paediatric disease.

This led me to other projects, but the one I am most proud of was with Safehaven: The Project For Community Living. Safehaven is a charity that supports care for severely disabled children. I became inspired by their work and passionate about integrating disabled children back into society. I approached Magna International and created a partnership which allowed them to support the charity at its annual Hoedown event, resulting in over $30,000 in funding for Safehaven.

Any plans for the future?
I want to wake up each morning doing something that I am passionate about. I may be a scientist, a diplomat, a businessman, maybe even an actor. Whatever I am, I will carry these memories and experiences into the future.