North Van student eyeing $100,000 Loran award

A North Vancouver teenager with a passion for music and animal rights is in the running to win a prestigious $100,000 Loran Award for undergraduate studies.

Sutherland Secondary Grade 12 student Shiqi Xu is among the top 88 of 5,089 Loran Scholarship candidates, selected based on evidence of character, commitment to service in the community and leadership potential.

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Xu, who was nominated by Sutherland teachers for the national award, recently went through a day of regional interviews at UBC, and said it’s been a fun process so far.

“It was really like a conversation rather than an interview, actually,” explained Xu. “We were in this big room with all the candidates and all the Loran scholars that go to UBC – they were volunteering that day – and so we really got to just meet one another.”

Xu took part in one-on-one interviews, followed by a panel interview, during which she said she was made to feel at ease. 

“There were questions that made me think, and I had to come up with thoughtful answers,” said Xu.

Xu and fellow Loran candidates spent the day learning what opportunities lie ahead from current Loran scholars.

“One of the aspects of Loran is the summer internships and the mentorship opportunities that come with it,” explained Xu, who met a Loran scholar who spent a summer in Croatia doing some public policy work.

“It sounds like so much fun and super neat opportunities.”

While it was a thorough and comprehensive application process, Xu said the part that really impressed her is “that they really look for character and not just the GPA on your transcript.”

Xu and another Sutherland student were recently instrumental in proposing a student choice policy when it comes to animal dissection in classrooms to the North Vancouver board of education.

 In addition to her academic accomplishments, Xu also plays the clarinet and alto saxophone, and was the co-president of the Sutherland student council last year.

As a Loran finalist, Xu is already guaranteed to win $5,000 which she will put towards her post-secondary bioengineering studies.

The next step for Xu is participating in national selections on Feb. 1 and 2 in Toronto, after which the Loran Scholars Foundation will grant 34 awards.

The Loran Award is valued at $100,000 over four years of undergraduate study, including a $10,000 annual stipend, tuition waivers from one of 25 Canadian universities, mentorship, summer internship funding, and more.

In 1988, the Loran Scholars Foundation was established in response to what founders recognized as a gap in the Canadian system of merit-based financial assistance to university students.

Two North Shore students, Faris Mecklai and Emma Clark, are the most recent Loran Award recipients, in 2017 and 2014 respectively.

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