In 2012, philanthropist Seymour Schulich celebrated leadership and innovation by creating the Schulich Leaders Scholarship.This $100 million program funds 50 undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) scholarships each year at top universities across Canada. Four incoming U of T students were selected to receive this prestigious award, twice as many as last year. Two of them – Julia Won and Annie Yao are Trinity students.
Why did you choose Trinity College?
Julia: “My first exposure to the world of university was attending my uncle’s graduation at the University of Toronto; I was only few months old at the time, I could barely walk. He was the first university graduate in my family, so U of T became a symbol of our hopes and dreams in a new country. Trinity was exactly what I wanted in a college – I loved the buildings, the chapel and the history.”
Annie: “There is so much to do at Trinity. Without even leaving the college, there are so many groups and clubs to join. There are great opportunities for leadership inside of a historical and traditional environment. It just matched what I expected my college to be.”
What got you started volunteering? What have you learned from engaging with your community?
Julia: I always liked helping people and getting involved. One thing that had a big impact on me was taking part in the Global Korean Youth Network, which brought a group of a thousand students of Korean heritage to visit Korea. It was amazing to meet people from all around the world – not just North America. Since I could speak English and Korean, I really made an effort to help everyone in my group understand each other. At the end of the trip, I was one of two students selected to give a valedictory address. They recognized me as a leader and that helped me see how I could make a difference. It gave me the motivation, determination and self-confidence to pursue my goals.”
Annie: “I started volunteering at a care centre because I wanted to get out into my community and meet people who weren’t in my peer group. I was inspired to work with the elderly partly because of my great-grandmother. She was in care back in China and was always happy when we visited – but I knew she was lonely a lot of the time. I discovered I really enjoyed talking to the elderly and hearing their stories. Their lives were very different from mine and it helped me broaden my own perspective and fed my interest in health care.”
What do you want to do to combine your interest in science and your background in community work?
Julia: “I have an interest in people and I love scientific method, so I was very happy to find a bio-psychology program at U of T. I’m interested in research because I enjoy the discovery part of science. I want to study something broad that I can use as a foundation to my future career.”
Annie: “I’ve always had an interest in health care and I eventually want to pursue pharmacy. I love chemistry and I want to use that to improve people’s lives. I feel that, as a Schulich Leader, I have the confidence to lead meaningful actions and encourage people to create positive change.”