Surrey resident Anson Yu, an R.E. Mountain Secondary School student in Langley, has been selected as a Loran Scholar — one of 36 recipients of Canada’s largest four-year undergraduate awards for character, service, and leadership.
The 17-year-old said it still hasn’t sunk in, but she is slowly starting to realize her life has completely changed.
Students who progress from regional to national selections become finalists for the Loran Award; 5,194 students applied, with the top 88 finalists travelling to Toronto for national selections earlier in the month.
Interviewers selected 36 Loran Scholars (the largest cohort to date) who demonstrated a firm commitment to character, service and leadership potential, as well as academic and extra-curricular interests, integrity, and a high level of personal autonomy.
Yu said a university summer program led to her discovery of the Loran Award; though there are multiple routes to apply, she was her school’s sponsored student, meaning Yu represented R.E. Mountain at regional selections at UBC.
“They gathered about 40 people from B.C. for it,” Yu recounted. “It was eight hour days with one-on-one interviews, conversations over lunch, group interviews, and, I think it was just a joke, but some said there were people planted – watching how you behaved outside of the interviews. I believe it…”
Yu said the experience of being off her phone led to deep, meaningful conversations with “so many cool people with similar interests.”
In early January, she heard that she was invited to take part in nationals through a surprising telephone call.
“I just started screaming,” Yu laughed.
She went on to say that the Loran Award is not a scholarship – it’s a four year dedication with events and retreats to attend and check ups, mentorships, and followup reports to write.
“I learned that I was so grateful to my parents, which was something that I never had really vocalized before.”
The Loran Award is comprised of an annual living stipend and matching tuition waiver from one of the foundation’s 25 partner universities.
“To this day, I can’t say that I am entirely sure why,” Yu said of her win, “but I think my work ethic, that I am a caring person, and that I have a willingness to get out of my comfort zone come to mind.”
Yu singled out her efforts with the non-profit organization, Social Diversity for Children, which raises funds and gives support for children with disabilities, as a notable achievement on her lengthy resume.
Now, with high school graduation and a wide open future ahead, Yu said she originally planned to go to UBC, but one of the stipulations of the Loran award is that recipients must attend post secondary outside of their home province to get out of their comfort zone.
A systems design program in Waterloo, Ont., is currently calling her name, hopefully leading to a career in environmental design and engineering.
“I’m indecisive and have so many interests,” Yu admitted, adding that a love of film also is also pushing her to make documentaries on the side, and, in her words, to “make people cry.”
“Even if I didn’t get the award, I’d feel content and grateful for the experience,” Yu said.
As for advice to future applicants, she kept it simple by advising to “just be themselves.”
The other new scholars from B.C. included Ayden Harrison from Lillooet, Govind Deol from Surrey, Adam Matthews-Kott from Port Coquitlam, Giovanni Ferraresso from Burnaby, and Leilani Pearson from Richmond.
For a full list of the 2020 Loran Scholars, visit https://loranscholar.ca/2020-loran-scholars.
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