2021 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Western Ontario
Program: Computer Science
My father was extremely passionate about technology. I would always catch him immersed in a book about computer programming or see him tinkering with the hardware inside old computers. With everything he did, a bright light shined in his eyes displaying his curiosity and passion.
However, in 2011, the light in his eyes started to fade away. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when I was 9. As he went through chemotherapy, I was devastated to see my role model suffer, but I wasn't the only one. My mother had to quit her job to take care of my father to pay for the cancer drugs which created a financial burden for us.
After a year of fighting, my father passed away. My world crumpled down like a ball of paper: I was told that I went through a period of time where I never smiled. Additionally, my father didn't have life insurance and my family was still financially suffering from paying off the cancer drugs. My father's last words were the only strand of hope I was holding onto. He said, "Take care of your mother." These words were said with confidence that there was still a future for our family. I clung to those words and used them to carve out determination for myself.
As I grew older, I used the determination to achieve a goal I set for myself; secure a stable source of income for my family. It was hard for my mother to find a stable job since she immigrated here from China and the pandemic only made this worse.
In high school, I worked as a part-time swim instructor and lifeguard during the school year and full-time during the summer in order to help my mother pay the bills. While in high school, I made the difficult decision to pursue a post-secondary education at Western University for Computer Science, sharing my father's passion for technology. This was a heavy financial burden and involved a lot of OSAP loans, but my mother told me that I should pursue my dreams. To support my decision, in university, I worked a total of two part-time jobs, applied to as many scholarships/grants as I could, and worked full-time in the summers all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
With adequate life insurance, choosing to pursue a post-secondary education would not have been a difficult decision due to the financial burden it creates. Moreover, I could have pursued my dreams as an athlete by accepting my offer to represent Canada in the Commonwealth Festival for lifesaving in the UK.
Nevertheless, I did not let the financial burden rest heavily on my shoulders. In the free time that I have, I spend my time helping others learn how to code and create software applications that make a social impact.
Overall, receiving this scholarship will alleviate the financial burden of post-secondary education and allow me to focus on harnessing my passion for technology to make a social impact.