Kushal Mujral has made the community proud as one of 100 students across Canada to receive the Schulich Leader Scholarship to study software engineering att he University of Waterloo this fall.
Schulich Leader Scholarships are Canada’s most coveted undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) scholarships, awarded in the amounts of $80,000 and $100,000 to entrepreneurial-minded students graduating high school. This year, Kushal Mujral has made the community proud as one of 100 students across Canada to receive this award to study software engineering at the University of Waterloo this fall.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Mujral moved to Surrey, British Columbia, as a child. Fast forward to his high school days, Mujral recalls always having a strong hold in academics. Starting in Grade 9, he discovered that he has a keen interest in mathematics, especially appreciating the step-by-step approach of the subject. Consistently scoring in the high 90s in his math classes, it was only natural for Mujral to step foot into the primarily math-based world of software engineering for his university career.
Throughout his high school journey, Mujral has involved himself in more than just classes. He has been part of the Robotics Club at his school, Burnsview Secondary of North Delta, since Grade 9. In Grade 10, he began competing in and winning local competitions across Lower Mainland schools. This year, competitions went virtual, thus becoming international. As such, Mujral successfully competed in the 2021 Midwest VEX Robotics Remote World Championships and his team won the competition. In the VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.
“Every year, there is a new game and we are given new rules. 3D Tic-tac-toe was the game for this year. We are given materials such as wheels and metal pieces. Then, we make a robot that can compete in those games autonomously and with joystick inputs,” explains Mujral. This competition was a prominent part of the Robotics Club at Mujral’s school and students would sometimes be in the building til late night preparing for the competition. When stuck, Mujral and his peers would take inputs from others, including other teams and online resources. Aside from winning the competition this year, Mujral’s team also excelled in the previous year, sweeping two awards: Judges’ Award, for the judges’ favorite all-round team, and Inspire Award, for having a unique robot.
While robotics would become a heavy part of his schedule closer to competitions, Mujral would often have other community commitments as a high school student. His volunteering initiatives include his involvement with blood donation organization, One Blood For Life Foundation, and Hearts of BC, a network centered around public health initiatives. He has also volunteered his time with the Museum of Surrey and the City of Surrey, volunteering for events such as the Fusion Festival and the Children’s Festival. The Youth Rising Foundation, focused on humanitarian issues and fundraising, is another involvement of Mujral’s; this year, the team is branching into environmental causes and litter clean-up.
When he is not studying or bettering the community, you can find the 18-year-old filming YouTube videos for his new channel, Kushal’s Coding Tutorials. Through his videos, the budding YouTuber shares information on the basics of programming language, Scratch.
When asked about the process leading up to the Schulich Leader Scholarship, Mujral recalls quite a bit of essay writing. The first round entailed an intraschool submission, in which students are asked why they deserved to be nominated by the school, Burnsview Secondary of North Delta. After being chosen from his school, the next step was for the avid mathematician to write a long essay detailing his qualifications on why he should be chosen and where he sees himself in the next ten years. When he heard back from the University of Waterloo while in a car with his father and brother, he was initially under the impression that he had merely received a thank-you email.
When he discovered he had been chosen, the overjoyed scholarship recipient was surprised, though he says he is not one to vocalize his excitement. He shared the news immediately with his father and brother, following which they called home to tell his mother the happy news.
The soon-to-be-Ontarian’s parents are filled with pride on their son’s accomplishments. Mujral shares, “My parents are very encouraging and push me to do my best. Whenever there is an opportunity, they motivate me to be proactive and are always there for moral support. They are going to miss me when I move to Toronto, but their support is unwavering. I plan to keep in touch with phone calls everyday.” When he moves, the engineering enthusiast will be joined by his 16-year-old younger brother, who has skipped a grade and will be studying in the same academic program as his sibling.
Mujral’s advice to those striving for academic success is simple, “Have focus with whatever you want to do. Stick to it and do not waver off, especially when it comes to STEM. Try everything out and choose whatever you like.” With a clear focus and positive mindset, the scholar is ready to welcome the new life that awaits him on the East Coast. The Schulich Leader Scholarship is unquestionably just one of many milestones as Mujral embarks on a path filled with exciting new challenges and accomplishments.