Simon Gauthier, a graduate of the Wild Rose School in Calgary, has a daring dream for an 18-year-old: to develop nuclear fusion “which does not produce waste and which could be the key to the energy future of our planet” , he popularizes. A dream that will perhaps come true thanks to the Schulich scholarship of $ 100,000, of which he is one of the 50 recipients.
It is “the most coveted engineering scholarship in Canada,” he explains. Chosen by his high school as a potential candidate for this scholarship, Simon accepts this honor and begins a long process to apply for the Schulich scholarship. “In particular, we have a 600-word text to write, describing our efforts in the community and where we see each other in the future, how we are going to have an impact on the world. We also have several other texts, shorter of around 200 words, in which we elaborate on the various events in which we participate in our community ”.
A process through which 1,500 candidates have passed, across Canada, this year. The purpose of this scholarship? “Train the next generation of entrepreneurs,” says Simon.
Discipline and motivation
Who says entrepreneur says leadership. An attitude to which Calgarians are inclined: “I have been involved in leadership in the community for several years, particularly by taking AAA Leadership courses with Francophonie Jeunesse Alberta. Leadership is a quality that I use in almost every other event ”.
Through his role as Leader of the Opposition of the Youth Parliament of Alberta, co-founder of Radio Sauvage (his school’s student radio station) and team leader / scriptwriter / actor at the Alberta Youth Theater Festival organized by theUniTheatre, the young leader helped vitalize his school, but also the Franco-Albertan community.
“I have a lot of passions,” he confesses, laughing. It’s no wonder to learn that Simon is also an athlete on the Canadian University Olympics Biathlon Team.
Succeeding in combining his interests for politics, culture, science and sport does not seem a difficult task for him. “It’s a question of discipline and motivation. It allows me to appreciate what I do. When it’s more difficult, when I have several things to do, I manage to stay positive and concentrate on doing those things ”.
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A family story
“My parents studied in engineering, my father in physical engineering in particular. All my life I said I wasn’t going to engineering because I didn’t want to be like both of my parents. Finally, that’s what interests me! He said jokingly.
He recognizes that his need to invest in others was nourished by his teachers and his friends – like Vincent Lavoie with whom he built Radio Sauvage -, but also by his parents: “They were the ones who taught me. all that is important like perseverance, motivation, effort in what we do and empathy towards others ”.
Between dream, reality and hoax
In addition to texts to write, Simon had to choose between twenty Canadian universities partners of the Schulich scholarship to begin his studies in physical engineering. His choices fell on the University of Calgary, his hometown, and Laval University in Quebec, where his grandparents live. From all the nominations they receive, post-secondary institutions must choose between 1 and 5 lucky recipients.
In June, the aspiring scholar receives an email announcing that he is not a recipient for the University of Calgary or Laval University. As the early August breeze begins to make the leaves dance, Simon receives a strange email in his inbox from Simon.
This time, he was told that Laval University was able to receive an additional scholarship. Here he is the recipient of a $ 100,000 Schulich scholarship from this prestigious Quebec university.
“At first I thought it was a hoax or something, someone wanting to extort my social insurance number,” he says with a smile in his voice. “I called the university and found out it was for real. It was a big surprise, ”he continues.
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Quebec to Calgary
A sweet surprise, but a bitter taste. “I must admit that it was not just happiness to win this scholarship. My plan was probably to go to the University of Calgary this year. I received that scholarship and all my plans, with some friends and my girlfriend, fell apart. It’s not pleasant, let’s say. It’s a little sadness, but a lot of joy ”.
A duality in his heart that he accepts by accepting the scholarship. This is how on August 31, Simon will begin the bachelor’s degree in engineering physics at a distance, pandemic obliges.