Waterloo welcomes 2022 Schulich Leaders who will be studying computer science and software engineering

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

For the eleventh year in a row, the University of Waterloo is welcoming ten exceptional first-year students who were awarded a Schulich Leaders Scholarship. Of those who received the prestigious award, six will be studying computer science or software engineering.

The Schulich Leaders Scholarship is Canada’s largest annual science, technology, engineering and mathematics scholarship. There are 100 recipients throughout Canada, with individual scholarships valued at $80,000 and $100,000.

Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established the $100+ million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.

Learn more about the six high-achieving students who have received this prestigious national award and are starting undergraduate studies in computer science or software engineering at Waterloo.

Tudor Barsan
Computer Science
Oakville, Ontario

photo of Tudor BarsanTudor Barsan already had a good idea of what the University of Waterloo was all about through his participation in numerous mathematics contests with the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing.

He says it was this early experience with CEMC that helped inspire his passion for computer science and made him realize Waterloo was the only school for him.

“I am extremely excited to become a part of the Waterloo community and meet all the outstanding students at the university,” Tudor says. “I am looking forward to applying myself through the clubs and design teams, as well as trying out different roles at a variety of companies through the co-op program.”

“I plan to apply my algorithmic knowledge to tackle the unique challenges we face. The Schulich Leader Scholarship has introduced me to others with the same passion for the development of innovative technology, and I am excited to work alongside them soon.”

Outside academics, Tudor participates in athletics and was the captain for the Oakville rep soccer team for three years and was also a competitive volleyball player.

Norman Chen
Software Engineering
St. John’s, Newfoundland

photo of Norman ChenNorman Chen is Waterloo’s latest Schulich Leader who has perhaps come from the longest distance to join the university.

Norman is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and is among the top young scholars the province has produced in recent years. He says that he chose the University of Waterloo because of its reputation in engineering and especially in software engineering, the program he is beginning this September.

Along with his amazing grades and burgeoning academic prowess, Norman is a swimmer who until recently competed with the St. John’s Legends Swim Club and a chess player who represented his province at Canadian junior national competitions.

But for Norman, pursuing a degree at Waterloo and being involved in the community is also part of a broader goal of creating change. He is interested in doing work that has a social purpose and makes the world a better place.

“In the future, I hope to be able to have a positive impact on the world through the skills I develop in my studies and my career,” Norman says. “I hope to help people who have not had as many opportunities as I have through the projects I help create.”

Maggie Liu
Computer Science
Maple, Ontario

photo of Maggie LiuMaggie Liu is set to start a program at the Cheriton School of Computer Science and says she can’t wait to connect with the student community.

In many ways, she has been preparing for a successful university career for several years, having been involved in coding and technology groups and contests throughout junior high and high school.

She was a student leader in the coding club and math club, as well as participated in the Waterloo-sponsored Quantum School for Young Students and CEMC contests. This past summer, Maggie completed an eight-week summer internship as an innovation developer at RBC.

“I am driven by the abundant opportunities and innovation in tech, and its ability to disrupt industries and businesses,” Maggie says. “From conferences and hackathons, such as Hack the North, I was able to learn more about technological advances and applications, and become inspired to impact the world one day with tech.”

The star student is also looking forward to the opportunities for experiential learning at Waterloo, through co-ops and in the innovation ecosystem more generally. She says she learns best by doing, and so having a chance to experience the culture of tech companies is one of the main reasons she chose Waterloo.

Ashwin Roperia
Computer Science
Brampton, Ontario

photo of Ashwin RoperiaAshwin Roperia is a natural fit for the Cheriton School of Computer Science. This star student from Brampton has already been doing cutting-edge work with technology and is set to hit the ground running at Waterloo.

“Even as a child I was always fascinated by computers and the latest technology,” Ashwin says. “Last spring, I was selected for the NASA Summer Internship program. I collaborated with NASA researchers and investigated the relationship between mosquitoes and the environment in the context of human health. I led a group authoring a research paper exploring the feasibility of mosquito count automation utilizing NASA datasets.”

Ashwin was also involved with the High School Intern Research Program at the Sunnybrook Research Institute, where he worked on developing software for the focused ultrasound lab.

His interest in hands-on learning is a big part of the reason he chose Waterloo. He says he is especially interested in the potential learning experiences in the co-op program and in Velocity and the broader Waterloo start-up scene.

“I aspire to create my own start-up and work towards making my ideas a reality,” he says. “I hope to contribute to advances in emerging and exciting fields such as machine learning and fintech.”

Sarah Wilson
Computer Science
Waterloo, Ontario

photo of Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson has known she wanted to go to Waterloo practically her whole life. She grew up in the community and already knows her way around campus.

“During the school year I would take part in workshops like Math Circles, Let’s Talk Science, GoCodeGirls and PhysiX,” Sarah says. “Living ten minutes away and being the daughter of a Waterloo grad also made it one of my top choices since I was a little girl.”

“As I got older and became more familiar with the programs, I realized that Waterloo is one of the top schools in the world for computer science and it would be an honour to study here,” she continues.

This accomplished student brings a lot to the table. She graduated high school at 16 and scored perfect in a math contest, but she is also someone who engages with the community and wants to make a difference.

She was elected as a student trustee for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, served as chair of the Ontario Student Voice Awards with the Ontario Student Trustee Association, and does volunteer work in the medical field. Sarah is also involved in athletics, including karate, badminton and tennis.

She says she is most looking forward to being part of Waterloo’s start-up and innovation ecosystem and is also considering pursuing an MBA.

Michael Xu
Software Engineering
Calgary, Alberta

photo of Michael Xu is excited to be starting at Waterloo because it is a place he sees as perfect for aspiring innovators.

He points to the “tech-focused campus with incredibly passionate people, co-op opportunities that provide valuable industry experience, and a creator-centred intellectual property policy.”

This star student, who is starting the software engineering program, already has significant experience, having been involved in developing apps such as an innovative touch-free recipe app that allows users to “air swipe,” which means to swipe in space above the screen, rather than the screen itself.

In high school, Michael took his first programming class and became fascinated with software. It was what most motivated him to go into software engineering for his undergraduate degree.

As far as his future goals, Michael says it’s still a bit up in the air, but he knows where his main interests will be.

“At the moment, all aspects of tech appeal to me, from dev to design and to business, so my ultimate goal is to found a start-up,” he says. “Creating a product and growing a business seems like a fun, challenging career path.”

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