Schulich Leader Scholarships

Austin Sawyer
Austin Sawyer, a 2015 Schulich Leadership Scholar, is now in his fourth-year of a degree in biomedical engineering. Here, he’s shown working for the Victoria Hand Project, which provides 3D-printed upper-limb prostheses to amputees.

STEM students set to benefit as Schulich scholarship program doubles in size

Each year, the University of Victoria welcomes two Schulich Leader Scholars into the science and engineering undergraduate programs. With the Schulich Foundation’s exciting announcement in January 2020 that it is doubling its national program from 50 to 100 awards, the university is hoping even more outstanding high school students will access UVic’s academic programs through these donor-funded scholarships.

The prestigious Schulich entrance scholarships are awarded to high school graduates enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities across Canada. The scholarships—$80,000 to pursue a science degree and $100,000 towards an engineering degree—are potentially life-changing for recipients. They also bring bright young innovators to the university community.

Mr. Seymour Schulich, the Canadian businessman and philanthropist who established this scholarship fund in 2012, believes these future leaders will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale.

“With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of technology innovators.” - Seymour Schulich

So far, sixteen Schulich Leaders have had the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the extraordinary academic environment here at UVic. Sarah Khan, who came to UVic from Kitimat in 2013, sought out interesting research opportunities while using her free time to gain volunteer experience that will help her towards her vision of being a health advocate in rural BC.  

"Being a Schulich Leader at the University of Victoria has taught me that we must use science to uncover technologies that will benefit humanity. As global pioneers in STEM fields, we must continue to ask ourselves, 'How will these new technologies impact our fellow human beings?'"—Sarah Khan


Paul Kim, who graduated with a degree in biochemistry in 2017, capitalized on the personal connections he made through co-op placements and the Schulich Leaders program.

"Being a Schulich Leader at the University of Victoria means being able to pursue your passions with the intensity and fire they deserve. In doing so, I have been incredibly fortunate to meet a phenomenal network of people who are changing the world. And this is the true value that the scholarship brings; the privilege to learn from the human experience."—Paul Kim

Schulich Leaders selections are based not solely on academic excellence, but also on entrepreneurial leadership. This often manifests as a deep conviction to find progressive and creative solutions to some of the world’s significant issues.

"We tend to have a unique view on the world and don’t shy away from challenges,” Austin Sawyer says of his fellow Schulich Leaders. “Most of us are looking to the future and thinking about improving technology or developing other ways to help the world, and inspiring others to do the same.”

A natural leader, Austin volunteered as the captain for the Schulich Leaders at UVic. He worked with the national network of captains to plan events and initiatives that help fellow Scholars learn leadership skills, develop business and academic connections and ultimately follow their dreams, which is something he says the scholarship gives students the freedom and motivation to do.

The 2019 Schulich Scholars at UVic, Sacha Elizabeth Stipec and Elise McRae Coates, are itching to get started on that path. While studying mechanical engineering, Sacha hopes to focus on researching and developing sustainable energy technology.

“My dream is designing sustainable infrastructure, including resource and renewable energy systems,” says Sacha. She is grateful for the support of the Schulich Leader Scholarship.

Elise has decided to follow her passion for improving the health of the oceans through a degree in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

“The Schulich scholarship is the ultimate gift of academic freedom. I am so excited by the opportunity to completely immerse myself in my studies. By being able to fully engage in the academic process and take as many co-op and hands-on learning opportunities as I can, I hope to gain the knowledge and experience to help me solve problems faced by our oceans.” - Elise McRae Coates

Mr. Schulich’s vision for the $200 million scholarship fund is to support the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation across Canada. The Schulich Leaders at UVic exemplify that vision, and with news of Schulich’s additional investment to the Canada-wide scholarship program, that network of pioneers is set to grow exponentially stronger in the decades to come.