‘Junk’ discovery unlocks future possibilities

Amelia Carver now checks her email’s junk folder regularly as that is where the Cawthra Park Secondary School student found out she was a Schulich Leader and the recipient of an $80,000 scholarship to attend Western Engineering this fall.

“I hardly dared to imagine I might be selected. But I did check my email every day. As it happens, I didn’t know I’d won the scholarship right away because the email had gone to my junk folder,” said Carver, noting the message had been sitting there for two days. “I was in class when I saw it and I jumped up, ran out of the room and called my parents. My mom started to cry and came straight to the school to congratulate me.”

Amelia Carver, 2016 Schulich Leaders Scholarship winner.

Special to Western NewsAmelia Carver, 2016 Schulich Leaders Scholarship winner.

Carver’s teachers and parents encouraged her to apply for scholarships; the Schulich Leaders Scholarship appealed to her the most as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) scholarship.

“A few of my friends thought it was a bit crazy I was spending so much time writing essays and applying for scholarships. But I persevered and remained hopeful,” she said.

Twenty partner universities in Canada are eligible to provide two Schulich Leader Scholarships annually. One designated for a nominee planning to enroll in an engineering program, valued at $80,000, and one planning to enroll in a science, technology or mathematics program, valued at $60,000.

The five universities that attracted the most nominee applications by the annual application deadline were granted an additional two Schulich Leader Scholarships in each area This year, Western was able to offer four scholarships.

Carver is one of 50 recipients from the more than 1,500 nominations submitted this year. Created by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich in 2011, this scholarship program encourages high school graduates to embrace STEM disciplines in their future careers.

Carver has always had a passion for math and sciences, along with an inquisitive nature about how things work. A career in engineering – with its challenges and problem-solving skills – seemed the way to go.

“It excited me how versatile an engineering degree is and the wide range of jobs available with it. I often debated whether to study physics or engineering, as my dream is to work at a space agency or CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research),” Carver said. “Both physics and engineering offer different perspectives in these fields. I delved into engineering and design for the first time and it really peaked my interest and fostered my strengths.”

Carver has peer tutored at her school, attended SHAD Valley at Laval University in Quebec (bilingual program), been a school representative at the 2016 Model United Nations Conference and volunteered for and participated in One Nation Run (a Canadawide run to raise awareness and funds to fight child poverty). In fact, One Nation Run organizer Bryce Dymond, (BA’07, History, asked Carver to write the forward for his book Glorious and Free.

Along with being a member of her school’s ultimate Frisbee, dragon boat and badminton teams, she has added a full dance schedule with a regional arts dance program to her to-do list.

Cawthra Park guidance counsellor Jody Miller, who nominated Carver, said her school is extremely fortunate to have students who are strong both academically and in their leadership abilities. But when considering academic strengths, work ethic, commitment to her school and the larger community, Carver stood out.

“Amelia is a special young woman who will be successful in her chosen field,” Miller said. “She is everything you could wish for in a student.”

Carver first big decision was to decide what university she would be attending. It was a struggle at first, with so many school offering excellent engineering programs, but something clicked that said ‘go purple.’

“When I went to visit Western’s open house, on a spur-of-the-moment trip in November, I fell in love with the campus,” Carver said. “The seminars and labs were intriguing and interesting. I spoke and connected with students and professors who all seemed so pleased to be there.

“I am most looking forward to building a community with my Engineering peers and meeting like-minded people on campus. In terms of the specific engineering discipline, I’m not sure yet. I intend to keep an open mind and discover where my interests lie so I will have a better idea going into second year.”

Carver cannot thank enough those who have supported her up to this point – family, friends and teachers. “I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my life at Western,” she said.