Rory April (left) and Talia Iwanchysko (right)
Rory April (left) and Talia Iwanchysko (right) have been named the University of Saskatchewan (USask) 2023 recipients of the prestigious Schulich Leadership Scholarship. (Photos: Submitted)

Newest USask Schulich leaders demonstrate determination and leadership

Rory April and Talia Iwanchysko have been named the University of Saskatchewan (USask) 2023 recipients of the prestigious Schulich Leadership Scholarship.

Through The Schulich Foundation, entrance scholarships are awarded to 100 high school graduates enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada, including USask.

While their journeys are different, USask’s two recipients this year both embodied leadership, tenacity, and determination.

April was shocked and honoured to be awarded the $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship.

“It will help me focus on my studies instead of worrying about my finances,” she said. “I know that becoming a Schulich leader will help me achieve my goals. The network and mentorship that come with the honour will give me access to other outstanding thinkers. I know that my perspectives and experience will enrich others, just as they in turn will help to challenge me to grow.”

After participating in an experiential science program, April delivered an impactful Shad Speaks presentation that inspired two projects focused on her passion: food sustainability in the Yukon. That experience inspired her interest in entrepreneurship and analytics. April also founded her school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) in response to increased bullying of students in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, which have since decreased with the creation of a safe space.

April’s educational and career goals are to make the North’s food production and supply chain management more resilient. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness at USask’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

“Thanks to my experiential science program, I have a first-hand understanding of the food sustainability challenge. Having been a legislative page for two terms, I also have a clear understanding of the vulnerabilities of our infrastructure, including the electrical grid.”

Meanwhile, Iwanchysko is entering the College of Engineering this fall. Her career goals include designing and improving innovative infrastructure models while also reducing environmental harm.

While participating in numerous extracurricular activities – achieving Grade 10 in Royal Conservatory of Music piano lessons; leadership positions on student council, 4H, and a division-wide student committee; volunteering at the local food bank and supporting displaced Ukrainian families – on top of working part-time during the school year, Iwanchysko achieved a 98 per cent academic average.

Iwanchysko hasn’t only had to manage her time; she and her family made financial sacrifices, too, which makes receiving the $120,000 scholarship that much more meaningful.

“My parents began saving and putting money aside since the day we were born,” she explained. “They believed obtaining a degree would provide me and my siblings with more opportunities and less financial stress. This meant a large portion of our time was spent working and taking on additional side jobs throughout our entire life.

“Receiving this life-changing scholarship not only takes the financial burden off my parents and me, it allows me the financial freedom to take on the endless opportunities that this scholarship provides.”

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 the best and brightest students to become Schulich Leader Scholars: the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.

“We are proud to celebrate the continued success of Schulich Leader Scholarships, the premiere STEM scholarship program in Canada,” said Schulich. “This group of outstanding students will represent the best and brightest Canada has to offer and will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale. With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars, and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.”

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