Scholarship Opportunities for IEEE Vancouver Section Students

by Nicolaas Dreyer, Student Activities Chair

The IEEE supports student initiatives through a variety of scholarship opportunities. In the Vancouver Section, student members are encouraged to apply for the annual Vancouver Section Scholarships that are announced in the weeks leading up to the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Each year, the Vancouver Section sets aside funds for these scholarships which honour students who have demonstrated high scholastic achievement and shown involvement with one or more local student branches. Several scholarships, grants, and prizes are also available to Vancouver students through the IEEE Canada Foundation (ICF). Details of two recent ICF awards to local students are provided at the end of this report.

The Vancouver Section offers three scholarships to student members.

  • The Thurb Cushing Scholarship Award is presented in honour of Thurb Cushing, whose leadership played a pivotal role in the development of the telecommunications industry in British Columbia in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Cushing’s legacy lives on in the success of many of BC’s telecommunications companies such as Sierra Wireless and MDA. In recognition of Cushing’s technical contributions and leadership, this scholarship is awarded students who have demonstrated high scholastic attainment. Students who have been involved with the activities of a Vancouver Section student branch are given special consideration for this award.
  • The Hector J. MacLeod Scholarship Award is presented in honour of Dr. MacLeod, who joined UBC as professor and head of the Department of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in 1936, served as Dean of Applied Science from 1950-53, and received the McNaughton Medal in 1972 for his pioneering achievement in electrical engineering education in Western Canada. In recognition of his work in engineering education, this scholarship is awarded to students who have shown initiative in their field of study and attained high scholastic honours. Like the Thurb Cushing Scholarship Award, applicants for this scholarship will also be given special consideration if they have been involved with a local student branch.
  • The John Dean Scholarship Award is presented in honour of IEEE Senior Life Member John Dean, who was active within the IEEE for nearly 50 years between 1932 and 1976. In keeping with Dean’s long service to the IEEE, this scholarship recognizes students who have been actively involved with the IEEE and the activities of a local student branch. Applicants are also considered based on academic achievement and initiative in their field of study.

In addition to these local scholarships, Vancouver Section students may also apply for awards from the ICF. Individually, students may apply for ICF Special Grants to help them with one-time projects that further the IEEE’s goal to advance technology for humanity. Recipients are asked to provide a report about their project to the ICF when it is completed. The ICF also has awards that are funded by directed gifts, and as such are intended for students in specific institutions or fields of study. Also among these directed gifts is the IEEE Canada Women in Engineering Prize.
Students are encouraged to look on the ICF’s website for eligibility. Scholarships may also be awarded based on recommendation by student branch counsellors (IEEE Canada Foundation Scholarships).

Student branches may also request funding from the ICF to create an IEEE McNaughton Centre or improve an existing one. In memory of the many technical and political contributions of Andrew McNaughton throughout his lifetime, McNaughton Centres provide electrical engineering students with a shared space in which they can collaborate on technical projects and coursework. Should a student branch receive funding for a McNaughton Centre, they are asked to include a report of the Centre’s activities in their annual student branch report.

Both UBC and BCIT have recently received awards from the ICF for student initiatives.

  • The UBC Snowbots team received $750 in the form of an ICF Special Grant. The Snowbots are a cross-functional team of engineering students who create autonomous robots that function in a variety of terrains and applications, including mining expeditions, personal transport, and search and rescue missions. While the robots are designed at UBC, the team competes internationally against other robotics teams.
  • The IEEE BCIT Student Branch has been approved for up to $5000 to establish a McNaughton Centre. Now the Branch is working with BCIT to set up the Centre on-campus for the benefit of the electrical engineering students. The Centre will certainly help produce many future student projects and initiatives at BCIT. Furthermore, the Centre will help increase the Branch’s membership by drawing in like-minded students to the shared space.

These are just two recent examples of student initiatives that have benefited from the ICF’s generosity, and every year at the Vancouver Section AGM, local scholarships will be awarded to more students. With the variety of awards available to Vancouver Section students year-round, the IEEE is investing in the next generation of leaders and innovators in BC’s tech industry and giving them resources and recognition to help them succeed.

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