Four Western students have been named as part of the 2022 cohort of The Cansbridge Fellowship program, joining only 175 Canadian students selected to join the prestigious fellowship since its inception in 2011.
Maggie Chen, Conor Plunkett, Santosh Solaiyappan and Rubaina Singla are among 20 students chosen from 300 applicants from across Canada to take part in the prestigious program. The fellowship consists of three major components—a Silicon Valley bootcamp and conference, an Asian Summer internship with a $10,000 scholarship and lifelong membership in the Cansbridge alumni network.
The fellow alumni network includes entrepreneurs, academics and industry leaders living across the globe unified by the “desire to be leaders of their industries and the ambition to push the boundaries of their field.” Selected fellows are part of this supportive network for life, coming together to share ideas and connections at the annual fellowship conference and at local meetups throughout the year.
Because of the current state of the pandemic, the bootcamp and conference will take place in Squamish, B.C. this year, with alumni fellows flying in from around the world to meet the current cohort.
The fellowships were created by William Yu, managing director of Cansbridge Capital Corporation, and his wife Diana, to give back to the Canadian university system, and to help Canadian students develop stronger ties with Asia. The program has been self-administered by fellows since 2014 and is supported by Western, McGill, Queen’s University, UBC, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
“We are delighted to be welcoming these outstanding students from Western to the Cansbridge Fellowship,” Yu said. “We look forward to seeing how our programming will impact their personal and professional development.”
The Western students will head to Squamish in mid-May for their bootcamp, which will include company visits, fireside chats and a pitch competition, before concluding with the 2022 Cansbridge Fellowship Conference for alumni and the new cohort. The self-organized summer internship in Asia helps fellows grow outside their comfort zones, gain international experience and build a unique professional network.
To date, 17 Western University students have been selected as Cansbridge Fellows. The 2022 Western cohort recently shared their thoughts on being selected to the program.
Program: HBA, Ivey Business School
“Joining the Cansbridge family refreshed my perspective and unlocked a new side of me. Through occasional banters and deeper conversations with other fellows, I’ve gained new insights on the gift of community, the art of gratitude, and the value of experiences. In exploring the intersection between the East and the West, Cansbridge will inspire me to proudly embrace my identity as a Chinese-Canadian and first-generation immigrant.”
Program: Dual degree, BESc (Civil Engineering)/HBA, Ivey Business School
“Since my parents came from Ireland to start a new life in Canada 24 years ago, we’ve experienced first-hand what it’s like to start from scratch, and how caring for your neighbours down the street or across the border ultimately makes the world a better place. By the end of the fellowship, I hope to better understand what it means to be a Canadian in the international business world and build something with other fellows that would make our hometowns and home country proud.”
Program: BESc (Mechatronic Systems Engineering)
“This fellowship helps me realize my dream of gaining international work experience and explore different ways to advance society through technology. As someone who does not have a family or childhood friends involved in the engineering profession, the Cansbridge network is invaluable to me. It’s amazing how many highly accomplished and helpful people I am meeting through the fellowship. Most Canadians are not aware of the exciting opportunities available to them outside the country. I hope to develop better awareness about such opportunities and increase the international professional involvement of Canadians with the help of the extensive network I will gain through this program.”
Program: BA, Media Information and Technoculture
“I originally applied to the fellowship because I was interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. However, I quickly learned through the interview process and meeting like-minded people in the fellowship that Cansbridge is about family at its very core. I am learning from those around me not only to innovate across borders and find my voice on an international stage, but how to embrace empathy, gratitude and collaboration along the way.”