Two York University students receive Canada’s largest STEM scholarship


York University will welcome two first-year students to campus this fall who have earned prestigious Schulich Leader scholarships for academic excellence, leadership in school and community life and entrepreneurial talent.

Rathesh Balendran and Arma Khan will enter their first year at York with scholarships created in 2011 by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich to encourage promising high school graduates to embrace STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in their future careers.  They are among 50 Schulich Leaders chosen from more than 1,500 nominees across Canada vying for the scholarships this year.

Balendran, who will receive a scholarship valued at $60,000 over four years, attended the Abelard Centre for Education in Toronto and is being admitted to the Faculty of Science at York with an average of 93 per cent. An aspiring teacher, Balendran founded the Gaining Higher Education to Teach Others (GHETTO) program in his neighbourhood of Regent Park. The program focuses on helping younger students with English, Math and Science, and building leaders. In addition to serving as president of his school’s student council, Balendran has organized social events and fundraisers, and worked with fellow students to grow vegetables in the Regent Park community gardens and open a stand at the Farmer’s Market.

Khan, who attended Laura Secord Secondary School in St. Catharines, has been awarded a scholarship valued at $80,000 over four years. She enters the Lassonde School of Engineering with an average of 94.5 per cent. A member of a wide variety of clubs and volunteer groups, Khan has worked within her school and with non-profit organizations such as the South Asian Women’s Rights Organization. Khan also took part in a program called Reaching to Empower Youth, a program designed to empower and educate female youths about topics such as inter-generational conflicts, LGBTQ awareness, and perceptions of women.

“It is very important that we support exceptional students who demonstrate great leadership and embrace STEM fields,” said Schulich. “It is an investment not only in their future, but the future of our country. Their pursuits are sure to lead to key innovations in the years ahead.” 

Schulich Leader Scholarships are prestigious entrance scholarships awarded to high school graduates enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at participating universities in Canada and Israel. 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 2011 to encourage our best and brightest students to be the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation. This program awards 100 scholarships annually, valued at more than $5.5 million. Schulich Leaders can devote their full time and attention to their studies, as all of their financial needs are covered over the course of their degree. As a result, many of our highest potential students are winning these scholarships and will make great contributions to society. 

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Through cross-discipline programming, innovative course design, diverse experiential learning and a supportive community environment, our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni.

Media contacts:
Janice Walls, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 x22101/