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Meet this year's Schulich Scholars

Lukas Weese and Quinton Lowe are this year's recipients of the Schulich Leaders Scholarship at the University of Toronto (photo by Jacklyn Atlas)

Lukas Weese and Quinton Lowe have just arrived at the University of Toronto to start their first year -– recipients of the Schulich Leaders Scholarship, a prestigious award started by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich. 

Supporting 40 students across Canada, the scholarship rewards students pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses, who have also demonstrated significant leadership qualities.  

Lukas Weese, Faculty of Arts and Science, Trinity College, Class of 2019

What drew you to the University of Toronto – and why STEM?
I wanted a liberal arts education that deepens my knowledge of the world around me. U of T provides choice and the freedom to learn about ideas that will ultimately leave me better prepared for adult life. I was also drawn to Trinity College, with its strong sense of community, multitude of extracurricular activities and historic traditions.

Learning from both my parents and my teachers, I put value in curiosity and hard work. I have always been interested in a wide range of subjects, from chemistry and physics to history and philosophy. Many of my best memories from high school came from my involvement with drama, student government and public speaking. My passion for different subjects and a desire to be academically challenged brought me to U of T.

How important are co-curricular activities and volunteer work?
When I was in the fifth grade, I got sick. At first it appeared to be the flu, but then I lost feeling in my legs and experienced weakness in my joints. My parents took me to Sick Kids, where I was a patient for a month. The experience really shook my foundation and I gained a new perspective. I saw how fortunate I was not to be as sick as many of the children around me and it left me with a desire to help my community. Once I was well, I started fundraising for Sick Kids and working to promote awareness of paediatric disease.

This led me to other projects, but the one I am most proud of was with Safehaven: The Project For Community Living. Safehaven is a charity that supports care for severely disabled children. I became inspired by their work and passionate about integrating disabled children back into society. I approached Magna International and created a partnership which allowed them to support the charity at its annual Hoedown event, resulting in over $30,000 in funding for Safehaven.

Any plans for the future?
I want to wake up each morning doing something that I am passionate about. I may be a scientist, a diplomat, a businessman, maybe even an actor. Whatever I am, I will carry these memories and experiences into the future.

Quinton Lowe, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, Class of 2019

What drew you to the University of Toronto – and why STEM?
I applied to the University of Toronto because I want the challenge and excitement of studying at the best engineering school in Canada. Top employers recognize the value of a U of T degree and I’ve heard news stories about the inventions and discoveries being made at this university. I also love Toronto and liked the idea of downtown, where I could explore new things and have new experiences.

I have a passion for learning and have always maintained a high grade average. My interest in STEM courses really began in grade 11, when my courses started to focus on the specific sciences. I took a physics course that I really enjoyed and started to feel a pull towards a career in science.

How important are co-curricular activities and volunteer work?
I am proud to have earned a black belt in karate. It took many years of hard work and dedication. A black belt's duty is to help others learn and master the art, so I have assisted a weekly class where I led the warm-up and basics, and individually assisted students when they were struggling.

My passion for politics began when I was selected to serve a term of duty as a legislative page. I had an aunt who lived in Toronto and I spent a month of the school year at Queen’s Park. We would fetch glasses of water, make photocopies or run messages for the MPPs. I hadn’t known much about how politics worked previously and this gave me a first-hand view of the process.

At age 14, I decided to get involved with the local riding associations and volunteered hundreds of hours in preparation for both federal and provincial elections. I found it very rewarding serving the community through canvassing, helping disabled and elderly citizens, and acting as an election scrutineer. I have remained heavily involved in politics and am the youngest person ever to be elected to both the federal and provincial conservative riding associations' board of directors.

Any plans for the future?
An engineering degree is the best possible undergraduate degree for someone with my interests to obtain. Ultimately I would like to earn a graduate degree. I may end up working in the engineering field, but law and politics are also possibilities.