People can usually expect awardees of the Schulich Leader Scholarship to go places.
Paul Kim, a Wellington Secondary School graduate will have much of his first four years of his post-secondary education covered by the $60,000 scholarship, which is awarded to just 40 students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics across Canada each year.
“I was pretty surprised when I found out,” said Kim, 17.
Students in this exclusive club were nominated by their high schools, which gives them a crack at the scholarship application that includes a brief resume and 600-word essay. One thousand entries from high schools across Canada are whittled down to 40 recipients.
This September he starts post-secondary life at the University of British Columbia to earn his bachelor of science degree. While there he’ll narrow down his career path.
“I haven’t exactly decided yet,” Kim said. “I’m leaning toward research. Maybe cancer research into immunology and see where it goes from there.”
Like many high achievers, Kim keyed in on his main interests early on. Biology and chemistry have been his favourite subjects since Grade 6.
Studies in biochemistry at the University of Victoria could lead to careers virotherapy and immunology. Viruses are linked to several forms of cancer.
“Virotherapy is relatively new and immunology is kind of like dealing with cancer in a way of something natural, so that your own body fights it off,” Kim said.
Kim used to teach drums and is an accomplished pianist. He’s also an accomplished martial artist and taught taekwondo about four times a week to students at his family’s martial arts school. Kim turned to martial arts to clear his mind and keep him grounded when faced with the stress of academic challenges.
If Kim could wish for two accomplishments in his life they would be to discover a cure for cancer and to alleviate poverty, possibly, he said, by providing livestock to people in Africa and the means to start small businesses through a micro loan system.
Kim volunteered with several organizations dealing with people in need and even started an organization in his school called Youth in Philanthropy to draw together like-minded students to raise money for people in need.