Two Western students have earned national scholarships from Export Development Canada’s (EDC) Youth Education Program.
Incoming Commercial Aviation Management (CAM) student Santiago Jimenez Loza received the EDC Latin+ community leadership scholarship and fourth-year dual degree Ivey Business School student Firuza Huseynova was awarded one of 20 EDC international business scholarships.
Loza was one of seven students across Canada recognized for their community contributions through the award, which was newly created and offered for the first time this year to students from equity-seeking communities.
Richard Pinnock, EDC’s chief diversity officer, said introducing the new scholarships made this year’s Youth Education Program “particularly special.”
“Aside from outstanding academic achievements, what impresses me most about this talented group is their dedication to community service and tackling social injustices within equity-seeking communities. This is leadership at its best ─ working to create meaningful change and EDC is honoured to be part of their learning journey,” Pinnock said.
Born in Mexico, Loza came to Canada with his parents when he was five years old. As a teenager, he became involved in municipal, provincial and federal politics, and is often the youngest sitting voting member of boards “providing different perspectives to what needs to be prioritized.”
In 2020, he was intern to the speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and is currently finishing off his gap year between high school and his postsecondary studies as ministerial assistant to provincial cabinet minister Dale Nally.
Loza said his political experience has given him a unique perspective on the intersection of business and public policy, noting he was originally drawn to politics by meeting Mexican seasonal workers in his church community, who work each year in Alberta’s agricultural industry.
“It is very sad to see,” he said. “They come here working 80 to 90 hour weeks just to provide better for their families. They endure terrible working conditions, receive terrible wages and have no representation in government. That’s what really pushed me in the beginning, and as a first-generation immigrant from Mexico, my roots play a significant role in my perspective on social issues.”
Loza became further motivated when the MP for Edmonton West came to the church, proposing changes he would make to better represent the labourers in parliament. “That’s what really charged me to get involved,” Loza said.
Drawn to by Western’s unique aviation program
For Loza, the $5,000 EDC scholarship is key to allowing him to leave his home province of Alberta and attend Western, where he’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in management and organizational studies, with specialized courses in aviation management. In Canada, the aviation education available through the CAM program is unique to Western, offered through the DAN department of management and organizational studies in the Faculty of Social Science.
“I’ve always been very interested in business and aviation is my second passion beside politics. Western was the only university offering a serious program in commercial aviation,” Loza said.
He has been a member of the Air Cadet League of Canada for the past seven years, earning his private pilot license last summer through the program. He has been a mentor to other cadets and recognized at every level of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Organization and the Royal Canadian Legion for his leadership. His community contributions include advocating on behalf of homeless veterans in Canada.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, Loza plans to study law.
“The end goal is to come back to work in public office,” he said.
Ivey dual-degree student awarded EDC international business scholarship
Fourth-year Ivey Business School student Firuza Huseynova, recipient of an EDC international business scholarship, is pursuing a dual degree with an honours specialization in business administration (HBA) and in politics, philosophy and economics (PPE). She is an enthusiastic advocate for ethical technology and actively seeks opportunities to integrate justice and sustainability into global business practices.
Huseynova’s extracurricular roles include serving as co-president of the Ivey Social Impact Club and AVP (finance and student governance) for the Social Science Students’ Council. She also hosts Don’t Quit Your Day Job, an indie/alternative music show on Radio Western.