Seaquam Secondary student Abnash Bassi has been selected as a 2019 Loran Scholar, earning $100,000 towards her university education.
In January, Bassi was shortlisted as one of 88 finalists from a pool of over 5,000 applicants from across Canada, attending the national selection conference in Toronto on Feb. 1 and 2. She received word on Wednesday, Feb. 6 that she’d been picked as one of 35 Loran Award winners.
Bassi said receiving the scholarship is exciting because it includes an extensive mentorship programs as well as three summer internships opportunities, during which she will learn about public policy, community development and enterprise.
“That is another interesting component of my scholarship, moving beyond just my schooling, but the idea of a broader global experience in the sense that one of these internships is actually meant to be outside of Canada,” Bassi told the Reporter, though she’s not sure yet which country that will take her to.
“I am just kind of open to see where it takes me,” she said, adding it all depends on which Loran Scholars Foundation partner organizations are looking for interns at that time.
So far Bassi’s been accepted to McGill University in Montreal, but she’s waiting to hear back from others. She wants to confer with the foundation — whose network includes 25 universities — before making a final decision.
The Loran Award, valued at $100,000, includes an annual stipend of $10,000 to cover residence costs, another $10,000 a year in tuition waivers, and access to $10,000 in funding for summer internships, one-one-one mentorship, and annual retreats and scholar gatherings, according to a Loran Scholars Foundation press release.
Still, Bassi does plan to gather working experience that is not strictly tied to her academic path.
“I am perhaps looking to work on campus, in terms of just different opportunities within student life or if the opportunity presents itself,” Bassi said. “Even working within the broader community beyond campus, probably just to explore some of the culture beyond the school bubble.”
Bassi’s been a key part of Seaquam’s environmental initiatives for the past four years, spearheading two clubs at the school that come up with ways for Seaquam to be more “green” and to teach the wider community to be more environmentally aware. In 2017, she started an initiative at over a dozen Delta elementary schools that teaches kids about climate change and ways to be more environmentally friendly in everyday life.
She also coaches basketball for kindergarten and Grade 1 students who are just learning to play the game, and sits on Delta MP Carla Qualtrough’s youth council, which focuses on a wide array of issues such as foreign policy, the environment and housing, and comes up with recommendations to take back to government.