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Schulich Leaders forging their own paths

June 26, 2015 — 

Two exceptional new students will be joining the U of M community this fall after receiving one of the most generous and competitive scholarships available to Canadian students. Harley Bray and Christopher Dyck have each been awarded the Schulich Leader Scholarship, a four-year award totalling $60,000 -$80,000.

Driven by a love of learning, both say they are committed to making the most of this opportunity and to continuing the success they achieved in high school.

“I love learning about the why behind things,” says Bray, who is expected to graduate from Churchill High with a higher than 97 per cent average. “I really like science because it tells you why things work the way they do.”

Her fellow scholarship recipient shares a similar drive to know more.

“I like to understand the world,” says Dyck. “I just find it so interesting; that’s what motivates me.”

The Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute graduate says the $80,000 award will help him make his dreams a reality. This fall, he will begin working on his engineering degree, after which he is considering a masters degree in physics and then possibly going on to complete his Ph. D.

“I want to do research and help find the theory of everything,” says Dyck. “I know it’s a lofty goal, but I think it would be awesome.”

He wasn’t always so ambitious. In fact, he admits to failing kindergarten and to begging his parents not to send him to school throughout most of his elementary years.

“I used to hate school,” he says. “Now it’s fun for me.”

Dyck has certainly come a long way. He is also expected to graduate high school with nearly a 98 per cent average, all while excelling in athletics and demonstrating leadership in numerous volunteer capacities.

“I think a good way to lead is just leading by example,” he says. “Also, connecting with other people and helping them out.”

Bray says she is also committed to working hard and helping others along the way. Involved in a leadership program at her school, she says she is committed to being her very best.

“You always have to be stepping out of your comfort zone and getting to the edge of your ability level to find out just how far you can go,” she explains.

Raised by a single mom, Bray remembers going to Value Village to buy $0.25 books when she was still too young to read. She credits her mom for pushing her to be her very best and for always supporting her and her sisters’ dreams.

After graduating from the science program, Bray hopes to go into medicine and then pediatrics.

“I would love to have a family clinic,” she says. “My mom said she’s going to retire and be my secretary.”

Bray says she is excited for her post-secondary education to begin and is looking forward to engaging with the student body. The pressure to succeed does not appear to faze her.

“Hard work towards something you believe in is always more fun,” she says.

The four-year award goes to 50 students per year from 20 eligible Canadian universities and is designated for students pursuing undergraduate studies in STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Recipients in the field of engineering are awarded $80,000. Those in the remaining fields receive $60,000. This year, there were 1,250 nominees from across Canada. Of these, 59 applied to the U of M, and Bray and Dyck were selected.

This is the fourth year in a row that two upcoming U of M first-year students have received the award.

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