Country Day School resident and student awarded Canada’s largest STEM scholarship | King’s Weekly Sentinel
June 15, 2022 0 comments
Marianna Speranza received the happy news as she returned home from volleyball practice with her parents last month. She had won a coveted $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to attend Western University where she will study computer science and business administration at the Ivy Business School. Nominated for outstanding academics and entrepreneurial spirit, Marianna is only the second Country Day School student to receive this award.
She recalls her awareness and interest in STEM starting in grade 7 when CDS computer science teacher Mr. Moorlag organized a Hackergal hackathon where middle school girls competed in a coding marathon of six hours in teams of three to create a video game.
“I was already into video games and I was always good at math. I already loved computers and playing computer games, and Mr. Moorlag just brought me to life about that. His passion helped ignite mine.
Since then, Marianna has excelled in her computer and math classes, as well as in drama and English. Her business acumen has led her to become involved with DECA, an international student program that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management at high schools and colleges around the world, and in Grade 10, she was appointed as CAED’s Executive Provincial Officer. Ontario. The following year, she became Senior Workshop Coordinator for HOSA Canada, a student club that empowers high school and post-secondary students to become leaders in the healthcare industry by providing them with knowledge , professional training and leadership development through competition.
Harnessing her entrepreneurial spirit, Marianna and her sister Stacey, a third-year student at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, started their own interview-based podcast while quarantining at home during the first months of COVID. Business Casual aims to help women grow professionally and personally. As the show’s producer, Marianna edits each show and creates the graphics for their Instagram and LinkedIn pages.
Now nearly in their third year, the sisters launch two podcasts a month interviewing female industry leaders and young professionals, and recently signed with Business Audio Network by Amplified Audio in the United States.
“The Schulich Leaders Award is designed to recognize that unique individual with a STEM spirit and an entrepreneurial heart, and that’s Marianna,” said David Huckvale, Director of Post-Secondary Counseling at CDS. “She created, founded and led at CDS and beyond. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
It was Huckvale who first encouraged Marianna to apply for the Schulich Prize. Marianna had explored other awards, including the Loran, but felt the Schulich embodied what she was good at (STEM) and was more “true to who she is”.
Along with the incredible financial benefit this scholarship will bring her, she is now part of an esteemed network of national STEM researchers at one of Canada’s leading universities.
“The networking opportunities will be limitless,” Marianna explained.
“Mentors from Google Canada will be assigned to us and each month there will be networking sessions with Schulich Leader Fellowship alumni and conferences each year with technology leaders. Because I will be associated with this fellowship, I will want to be even more involved as a leader at Western. It adds a little more pressure on my side because I will want to live up to the name of a Schulich leader.
According to the program’s founder, Seymour Schulich, “This group of 100 exceptional students will represent the best and brightest that Canada has to offer and will make great contributions to society, both nationally and internationally. With their college expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurricular activities, and entrepreneurial endeavors. They are the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded technology innovators.