Three students awarded Canada's largest STEM scholarship

image Nika Martinussen, Aidan Mundle and Mateo Pekic

Selected from a national pool of over 300,000 high school candidates, five students from the University of British Columbia have received the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship. Three of the 2019 recipients are enrolled in Faculty of Applied Science: Nika Martinussen, Mateo Pekic and Aidan Mundle.

Created in 2011 by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, the annual scholarship program encourages promising high school graduates to embrace STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). “They are the next generation of technology innovators," says Schulich. “With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects and entrepreneurial ventures.”
Nika Martinussen, a graduate of J. H. Bruns Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB, was awarded $100,000 for her academic excellence and leadership achievements, including serving as an executive member of student council. As president of her school’s social justice group, she helped forge a partnership between her high school and a northern Manitoban Indigenous community to move their communities toward reconciliation. Martinussen led many initiatives to this end, including presentations, an awareness campaign targeting misinformation about Indigenous issues, a sport equipment fundraiser, grant applications and a school-trip to their partner Indigenous community.
An 18-year-old graduate of Prince of Wales Secondary in Vancouver, BC, Mateo Pekic was selected for his school leadership, editing the school yearbook and devising Filacycle to help improve recycling and promote innovation among peers by recycling plastics for use in 3D printers. In his extracurricular time, Pekic also created a business to increase access to prototyping services for the community.
Aidan Mundle, an 18-year-old graduate of Albert College in Belleville, ON, was selected for his leadership achievements and his bronze medal-winning innovation at the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Using little more than a paint can and copper pipes, Mundle designed a prototype reaction vessel that can remove carbon dioxide from small engine exhaust. He later partnered with a local college enabling him to collect 100,000 data points to prove his hypothesis: if implemented for a single year, his device would prevent 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the environment.