Student leaders of tomorrow net under-25 awards
The student organizer of Simon Fraser University’s first TEDxSFU conference, the co-creator of a thriving math outreach program and a hospital fundraiser are among several promising young SFU students to receive Surrey’s top 25 Under 25 awards.
The awards, to be given May 29, recognize youths who are potential “leaders of tomorrow” in areas such as civic development, social issues and business trailblazing.
Michael Cheng, 22, drew hundreds to SFU Surrey’s campus and hundreds more via streaming video last November to take part in TEDxSFU.
“Community engagement can be interpreted in many different ways and we were thrilled to have leaders from our own backyard offering their unique perspectives on this theme to the world,” says Cheng, a student in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology, now planning the next event this fall at SFU’s Vancouver campus.
A client of SFU’s Venture Connection, he is also founder of WittyCookie, a web design company supporting local small business, and a co-founder of the International Student Connection.
Mathematics student Ravneet Dhaliwal, 20, is hard at work transforming youths into math-minded students. She is a co-founder of Surrey’s popular Math4Me program, which teaches youths from K-12 how to approach math – and life – with confidence.
“Math4me is a mentorship program that helps students academically and also provides a platform to discover and explore their true passion,” says Dhaliwal. The program has positively impacted the lives of more than 1,500 students – and in 2011, students excelled by receiving more than $100,000 in scholarships. They also contribute thousands of volunteer hours.
“The very fact that I have somehow touched the lives of hundreds of students in itself motivates me to follow my passion and put in my very best,” she adds.
Meanwhile Japreet Lehal, 18, recipient of a Governor General’s academic medal and nearly $50,000 in scholarships, was a driving force behind the creation of Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Youth for SMH club.
Students raised $1,000 for the hospital’s pediatric oncology clinic and continue to fundraise.
Among other award recipients with SFU ties:
Business student Joyce Loksum Mak, 19, president of the SFU International Business Association and member of the Guildford Rotary Club, she has organized multiple fundraisers for the food bank and clothing drives;
Sukhi Sangha, 23, is currently doing his bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. A volunteer at Surrey Memorial Hospital’s emergency wing, Sukhi is also founder of Sangha’s Learning Center, which he opened at the age of 19. The Center has tutored hundreds of students from K-12 in all subjects. A recent finalist for Diversecity’s Youth Entrepreneur Award he is fundraising for cancer research, donating one dollar for every Facebook “LIKE” received on http://facebook.com/slc11 to the BC Cancer Agency. His goal is to reach $1000.
Afraj Gill, 20, who began business studies at SFU and is now a Chancellor’s scholar at Queen’s University, founded GammaSocial Inc and ASHA (Advocates for Social Heritage Awareness);
Alumnus Ravi Muti, 25, who graduated with a BA in criminology and sociology and, with his MBA from the New York Institute of Technology, is now focused on multiple business ventures.
Julian DeSchutter, 24, studied at SFU and Kwantlen and upon graduation, he developed his own consulting company, DeSchutter Group, and is gaining experience in many facets of the mining industry. His work-related opportunities have taken him through North America and Europe.