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Three Surrey students named 2022 Schulich Leaders

Three Surrey grads have been selected as recipients of this year’s Schulich Leaders scholarships, receiving between $80,000 and $100,000 to pursue higher education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at top Canadian universities.

Ami Rai (who attended SAIL), Maya Rink (Panorama Ridge Secondary) and Sarthak Tyagi (Queen Elizabeth Secondary) are among just 100 recipients nationwide to win the prestigious scholarship. Rink and Tyagi each received the $100,000 engineering scholarship while Rai received the $80,000 science, technology and math scholarship.


Maya Rink, Panorama Ridge Secondary

For Rink, scholarships were top of mind throughout Grade 11, but her interest in engineering only developed this past school year, after taking more math and physics-based courses in the first semester of Grade 12.

“Engineering was suited for me because I’ve always been a very curious person,” she said. “I like to understand the why behind things instead of being told to memorize something. I like how it’s hands-on, you get to do labs and see how the world works. It just explains a lot.

“I thought this would be a great scholarship to apply to because it’s geared towards STEM. So I did, and it turned out well.”

Rink was nominated by her school and submitted her application to the Schulich Foundation in February, but didn’t hear from a university until mid-May – Friday the 13th, to be exact.

“That day was kind of funny, I was at school and SFU had tried to phone my house,” she said. “My mom picked up and they said, ‘We need to speak with Maya,’ but they couldn’t tell her why. My mom texted me and I phoned the director of finance at SFU.

“They had originally offered me an entrance scholarship earlier in the year, and he said, ‘Hey, do you want this one instead?’” she recalled with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Yes! I do!’”

Rink will be taking SFU’s engineering science program, which she said offers a more general program for the first two years, after which she has the choice of pursuing a focus in computer engineering, systems, electrical, biomedical or engineering physics.

“I’ll have a decision to make in a little bit,” she said. “I’m trying to go in with an open mind. In first year, you get to take something from all five categories, so I think it will be interesting to see which subjects I like in the world of physics and math and computer science.”



Ami Rai, SAIL

Rai heard about the Schulich scholarship in a different way – through his sister, Jasmine, who is a Schulich Leader herself.

“My sister was awarded the Schulich Leader scholarship in 2017,” he said. “She inspires me and has always encouraged me to explore my interests.”

After seeking the nomination through Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning (SAIL) in late 2021, Rai submitted his application in February and was selected as one of this year’s Schulich Leaders in early April.

“I received a call from a representative of the University of Saskatchewan scholarship selection committee at 8:30 in the morning,” he recalled. “I was really excited and grateful to hear I received the Schulich Leader scholarship and I immediately shared the news with my family.”

Rai will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science in USask’s computer science program. As someone entrepreneurial-minded and passionate about technology, he said he plans to use his technical skills and knowledge to launch a virtual reality solutions startup.

“The scholarship is a great help as I can focus on my education and entrepreneurial ventures without worrying about the rising cost of education,” he said.



Sarthak Tyagi, Queen Elizabeth Secondary

With an inherent interest in STEM, Tyagi was a suitable candidate for this year’s Schulich Leaders, impressing the foundation with a smart navigation cane he designed for the blind and visually impaired after witnessing a visually impaired person get hit by a car years ago while living in India.

“It was always stuck in my head that they didn’t have anything to protect themselves, and I thought what if there was a mechanism that could detect obstructions from farther away,” he said. “Then from Grade 8 to 12, I learned a lot about STEM and coding, and I used that knowledge to create it.”

At QE, Tyagi is president of the Learn Lab, a mentorship and tutoring program for at-risk youth, and is captain of the school’s Royal Robotics team. Outside of the classroom, he volunteers with the Surrey Food Bank and tries to give back to his school and community. For his efforts to help others, he was also named one of this year’s winners of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Awards.

“I was an immigrant too and people supported me to learn English, and now I feel like I have the opportunity to give back,” he said. “I try to help others the way I was helped before.”

Tyagi is going into the computer engineering program at UBC, after which he hopes to start an artificial intelligence company that designs groundbreaking products for people to use.

“I want develop something that revolutionizes the world and helps the community out,” he said.

Congratulations to our 2022 Schulich Leaders!

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