Schulich Leader’s plans for the future are definitely up in the air
Michael Kehler entering department of mechanical engineering with goal of specializing in aerospace technology
Michael Kehler is a builder. When he was younger, he and his dad constructed model planes and flew them. He’s put together a 3D printer in a case that he can connect to with a smartphone. And in Grade 11, he built a racing drone that can go 110 km/hr. He controls the drone with virtual reality goggles.
“I impressed myself for doing that one,” he says proudly.
A graduate of Calvin Christian School, Kehler is one of two first-year University of Manitoba students who are among the 2018 Schulich Leaders. He received a $100,000 entrance scholarship from the Schulich Foundation, and is entering the department of mechanical engineering with the goal of specializing in aerospace technology.
Which is good, because he hopes to land a job in that field some day. His “dream job” is to work for NASA in some capacity.
“I’d love to have a job like that,” he says.
Kehler is almost embarrassed he was selected as a Schulich Leader.
“There were a lot of very worthy candidates,” he explains. “I have no idea why they picked me, but I am very appreciative that I was selected.”
His selection certainly had something to do with his academic record; he was always good in math, and excelled in physics and the sciences. “He is motivated by ‘why’ – which makes him a privilege to teach and an example to his peers,” says Lyle Morris, Kehler’s Grade 12 Physics and Pre-Calculus teacher.
Another factor in selecting Schulich Leaders is their community service, and Kehler’s volunteerism speaks for itself. Even though by his own admission he is “not a social person,” he has a great passion for helping others. He has been teaching English as a Second Language with refugees and newcomers to Canada. And he recently traveled to Mexico with a school group to build two houses for economically challenged families.
“It was an amazing experience,” he notes. “The families were very appreciative of us being there, because they were in a situation they couldn’t control, living on a plot of sand of only about 300 sq. ft.”
“We were able to connect well, despite the differences in language,” he adds. “It made me feel like I was doing something useful.”
Kehler’s aspirations, however, are decidedly more skyward.
“I want to build something no one has built before,” he says. “I can see myself pursuing an advanced aerospace education after my Master’s degree, and then coming back to Manitoba to work for companies like Boeing or Magellan. And then, who knows?”
“I follow SpaceX,” he says wistfully.
About Schulich Leader Scholarships Canada
Schulich LeaderScholarships are prestigious entrance scholarships awarded to 50 high school graduates enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada. Each year, every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader Nominee based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and financial need.
Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100 million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage our best and brightest students to become the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation.