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Two Surrey students earn $100K and $80K Schulich Leader scholarships

Grade 12 students Sierra Carmichael (Clayton Heights Secondary) and Robin Yadav (Queen Elizabeth Secondary) are among this year's recipients of the Schulich Leaders Scholarships, chosen for their passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Carmichael received the $100,000 engineering scholarship while Yadav received the $80,000 science, technology and math scholarship. The Schulich scholarships are awarded to the most promising students heading to top Canadian universities to pursue careers.


Carmichael said she's always been interested in how things work, crediting her mom as her role model for everything engineering.

"I was definitely inspired by my mom, she's been a huge mentor to me," she said. "She's a mechanical engineer and just seeing such a strong woman in STEM has really taught me a lot growing up with her.

"I love science, I find it so interesting, and engineering just seemed like the right idea because it uses science and math and applies it to the real world."

Though she was honoured when her school nominated her, Carmichael said she never expected to win. But a call one morning during spring break changed everything.

"I was sleeping in, and I got a voicemail from someone at SFU," she recalled. "I wasn't sure what they wanted so I was a bit nervous calling back. When they answered, they told me I won the scholarship. I was in shock for most of the day - I really didn't expect to win, but I was over the moon, I couldn't stop smiling."

Carmichael will be entering SFU's engineering science program in the fall, and though she's not certain what field she wants to pursue, she's considering biomedical engineering to make use of her interest in all of the sciences.


In his submission, Yadav showcased a project that uses artificial intelligence to automate wildfire drones using machine learning to detect fire and navigate disasters. He credits his mom, a teacher, and his dad, who works in information technology, for influencing both his interest in education and his passion for math, computer science and building things with technology.

"They really taught me the value of hard work and discipline, and they really instilled in me a passion for learning," he said. "I was really dedicated and disciplined when it came to learning these new technologies and working on projects."

One day after school, Yadav said his dad told him UBC called while he was in class and wanted to talk to him, leading him to nervously call back with no idea what was in store.

"I was kind of nervous, I didn't know what it was going to be about, but they told me I won the Schulich Leaders Scholarship," he said. "I couldn't really believe it at first, I had to confirm, 'I won?' But I was really excited about it."

Yadav will be starting at UBC in September, studying science and majoring in computer science, with  the hope of working on research and development of more projects in math and computer science.

"After UBC, I hope to attend graduate school, hopefully in computer science and math, and I hope to have a career in machine learning and AI, working with these advanced technologies to innovate and create and make an impact on this world," he said.

Congratulations, Sierra and Robin!

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