A local high school graduate has received an incredible opportunity in the form of a $25,000 scholarship.
Deepan Hazra, a Hunting Hills High School grad, was awarded one of the University of Alberta’s top scholarships, the President’s Citation Scholarship, worth $25,000 awarded over four years.
Hazra will be using the scholarship to study in the U of A’s Faculty of Science.
“I was notified in late August and I received the scholarship around Sept. 1st. I was very excited but at the same time I was kind of shocked because I didn’t really expect it.”
He said because scholarships are such a “big thing,” being selected from a pool of so many applicants was quite surreal for him.
The application process for the scholarship involved writing three brief essays on separate given topics and including two academic references. Hazra said it also involved the basics like general information and extra curricular activities through high school.
“Right now I’m signed up for a Bachelor of Science, but next year I’m going to go into a specialization in neuroscience,” said Hazra.
He said his motivation to head into his chosen field comes from a desire to continue learning and an interest in how the brain works.
“The study of the brain itself is quite fascinating, so that’s why I want to go into neuroscience.”
To finish his education in neuroscience Hazra said he expects to be in university for approximately six or seven years.
He said receiving the scholarship has definitely taken the pressure off his shoulders and his family’s in regards to funding his education.
“I actually applied to two schools but I chose to go to U of A because it’s closer to home and many of my friends are there.”
Hazra graduated in June of this year and said he decided to go straight to university rather than taking a year off because he felt he had the motivation to continue.
“There was also a strong push from my teachers and family and friends to continue in my education. I feel if I had taken a year off I wouldn’t have been as motivated to start the next year, so it was a pretty logical decision to go now.”
Hazra started attending U of A in September and said he loves it so far and finds he has done a lot of growing and has found there is a lot more personal freedom being in university. “Right now I don’t really have a clue what to expect in the future of my education. I am just enjoying what university has to offer in terms of courses and basic freedoms.”
He said the first two weeks were a shock just being in a new environment.
“When you move out from your house that you’ve lived in for so long it’s a change. But after two or three weeks I developed my own sense of identity and found my independence.”
Hazra said the key to his success in high school was just paying attention, listening to teachers and keeping focused.
“Basic motivation and having been instilled with a hard work ethic were the primary things that drove me to do so well in school.”
He added that he didn’t have much time for extras in high school because of his studies, but that he did take part in badminton as well as a trivia team.
“Knowledge is power. Just getting more information is what I think makes you more well-rounded.”