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News Release: Westwood Student Receives Prestigious $100,000 Schulich Leaders Award

News Release: Westwood Student Receives Prestigious $100,000 Schulich Leaders Award

(Fort McMurray, AB, May 26, 2021) Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) congratulates Saptarshi Bhattacherya, our grade 12 Westwood Community High School student, who has secured the prestigious $100,000 Schulich Leaders Award! This is the largest Canadian STEM scholarship. In addition, Saptarshi has been offered a number of other outstanding awards: Presidential Scholars Award - University of British Columbia -  $40,000; President's Entrance Citation - University of Alberta - $30,000; Schulich Leader, University of Waterloo - $100,000; Schulich Leader, University of Toronto - $100,000. 

Saptarshi, 17, is heading to the University of Waterloo to pursue Software Engineering, a natural fit as he has been formerly connected with the school on several occasions. He has been heavily involved in the Waterloo Canadian Computing Competition and Mathematics competitions and has continually placed in the top scores, repeatedly earning Distinction recognition. At home, his community work has included mentoring students through the YouthComputing group as he helps promote coding and tech to them through hackathons and pitch competitions. He was also on the coveted YMM Parent Top 20 Under 20 list last year. Saptarshi is incredibly innovative and during his high school tenure has worked on projects like:

 1) Chemfriend APP - using Machine Learning for chemical reactions (99.65% accuracy)

                                                                                       2) Artificial Intelligence software that he created for optimizing streetlights 

                                                                                       3) Visual aid technology for the deaf (VADAR) shared at the INVENTURE$ Post-Secondary level Pitch Competition in 2019, where he placed 3rd as a grade 11 student. 

“I am very thankful to have received these awards -- not just to those who made the offers, but also to my family, friends, and teachers who helped me throughout my endeavours. I have always been interested in technology and entrepreneurship. These awards have provided me with the opportunities that I need to become successful in these fields while helping others. In the future, I hope to give back to my community through my technological adventures,” shares Saptarshi. 

Cynthia Shelley, Principal, Westwood Community High School can’t say enough about Saptarshi.

“We are so very proud of Saptarshi for earning the Schulich Leader STEM Scholarship; a $100,000 award is an amazing accomplishment. We wish him all the best in his future in software engineering wherever his creative and entrepreneurial spirit takes him. Congratulations Saptarshi, we will always be watching you shine.”

“Westwood has been steadily growing our programming and computer science opportunities for students under the mentorship of Mr. Said El Mejdani and Mr. Jeff Landry for this reason, to help student's thrive and develop as leaders in their passion. At Westwood, Saptarshi has been exposed to some of our country's finest computer science opportunities, and continues to excel in all of the opportunities that he takes,” Shelley adds.

Jennifer Turner, Superintendent, FMPSD congratulated Saptarshi.

“What an incredible list of achievements! Saptarshi is a stellar example of what happens when diligence meets goal-orientedness along with a school staff who continuously champion their students. We applaud his hard work, and know his future will be limitless with opportunities. Best of luck, and congratulations again, Saptarshi! We look forward to seeing you help change the world for the better.”

Congratulations Saptarshi! 

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Manager          

Fort McMurray Public School Division

kiran.malikkhan@fmpsd.ab.ca

780-880-7666