The Loran Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards in Canada, awarding a small group of outstanding Canadian students each year with $100,000 to pursue their undergraduate studies. We talked to one of the 2020 winners, Sydney Strocen from William Morton Collegiate in Langruth, MB about tips on how to win the Loran Scholarship, coming from a small community, and why you should be yourself in your application.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a very small town in Manitoba and attended an elementary school with around 60 kids from grades K-8. I currently attend high school 50 km away from home. I love history, physics, math, and theatre. I volunteered at the Manitoba Museum and Canadian Museum for Human Rights over the past summer, and I’m also the treasurer of my school’s student council and a member of the environment club. I’m a SHAD Carleton 2018 fellow. When I was younger, I was involved in alpine skiing and snowboarding, triathlon, biathlon, and archery. At home, I help out at my family’s tire shop.
What was your reaction when you found out that you were named a 2020 Loran Scholar?
I was shocked. At National Selections, I had the honour of meeting 87 amazing students from across Canada and found it difficult to see how I stood out. Every single person I met was worthy of the award. I was amazed that I had made it to Toronto in the first place. When I returned home and got the call that I had been selected as a scholar, I was in disbelief, and so grateful that I was granted such an incredible opportunity.
What is the most meaningful leadership experience you’ve had so far?
Definitely attending SHAD. My time at SHAD changed my entire mindset about how I wanted to go forward in life and made me more confident in my future pursuits. I had the opportunity to collaborate with other SHADs and allow myself to take a lead in an innovation project. SHAD had a huge impact on how I approached projects afterwards.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
When you come from a small community, there are only so many opportunities that are provided for you. Often you can’t wait for other people to step forward and take charge, so I think: why can’t I be the one to take charge? Volunteering doesn’t have to be fancy, and I’ve discovered that even helping out in small ways can have a big impact. So, why not give back?
What part of the Loran program are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the community. Once I graduate, I’ll be going to school across the country all alone. I’m glad that I now have 35 other people I talk to who are all going through the same experience as me.
What are you most looking forward to about university? What do you hope to get involved in there?
I’m looking forwards to going somewhere new and being exposed to a new environment. I’m planning on going into engineering, and am looking forward to getting involved in STEM-based student groups.
What advice do you have for other students applying for the Loran Award or any other scholarship?
It sounds cheesy, but be yourself. Don’t try to make yourself a cookie-cutter perfect student, the interviewers want to hear about the authentic you. Think about including unexpected things. You may not think they are the most impressive things, but they will reflect your passion and drive.
What’s one fun fact about yourself? Is there anything else you want to share?
I have my motorcycle license and like to go on road trips with my parents on my Harley.
Think you have what it takes to become a Loran Scholar? Find out more and how to apply on their official site here.