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Recipient of the Elijah McCoy Black Legends Bursary: RIDHWANLAI



Name

Ridhwanlai


Institution

University of British Columbia


Field of Study/ Major

Computer Science


Please share what the Bursary program has meant for you so far in your post-secondary journey (mentorship, financial aid, career assistance)


I've been fortunate enough to be able to be a part of all 3 aspects of this Bursary program. They've been amazing experiences that I do not take lightly. The first one is mentorship, which has become both a motivator and a reminder for me to constantly check myself, strive for excellence, and push to be uncomfortable. It's in these uncomfortable moments that we find the comfort to be great.


The second one is the financial aid. This is a huge assistance that has literally come in clutch numerous times when it comes to paying for tuition. Not having to worry about paying for courses has taken away so much stress that I would've had to subconsciously live with and I'm forever thankful.


The third and probably my favourite one is career assistance. As I'm trying to go into computer science, I've quickly begun to realize it's more about who you know. While the skills are necessary, you'll almost always need to know someone who'll give you the opportunity to showcase them. I feel like I've gotten that with the career assistance. I've come into contact with such amazing executive leaders throughout Canada and when it comes time to look for an actual job, I'm confident I'll find the experience a lot more tasking compared to my peers.


2023 Academic/Personal Highlight


I'm honoured to have been named an Elijah McCoy Bursary recipient. As a Black man, I've found we typically aren't seen as intelligent or innovative by society. This has been something that I've let bother me quite a few times in the past and sometimes even today. I've found though that me and Elijah seem to share many similar qualities. While I'm not going into engineering, I'm attempting to pursue a Computer Science system which shares many of the same requirements and requires us to cultivate the same mental capabilities as an Engineer.


One of my biggest highlights this past year was getting the opportunity to be a Software Developer with UBC Launch Pad. Being able to join such a lucrative club and join a team that focuses on collaborating with non-profits in support of pro-bono development has been a dream. I hope I'm able to continue to embody and uphold the qualities that many saw in Elijah and continue to break the negative stereotypes revolving around intelligence held against Black men.

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