Kevin Uzomechine's combined talents for robotics, debate entrepreneurship

 Schulich Leaders aim to put their love of technology to work solving problems and helping others

Six exceptional students beginning STEM studies at the U of A this year have received a financial boost to help them realize their educational and entrepreneurial dreams.

By Michael Brown

Kevin Uzomechine's combined talents for robotics, debate entrepreneurship

Kevin Uzomechine's combined talents for robotics, debate and entrepreneurship have earned him a coveted Schulich Leader Scholarship. Uzomechine is one of six U of A students who earned the scholarship this year. (Photo: Supplied)

Kevin Uzomechine says his fascination with technology began as a youngster transfixed by the brief static blue text on his TV set that read “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” By the time the large blocks of unabashed yellow text had crawled vertically up through the screen to Star Wars’ signature trumpets, the future was all he could think about.

“I wanted to be an astronaut, a pilot, an engineer, and of course a Jedi Knight,” said the first-year student in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Engineering.

In the meantime, the Nigerian-born, Calgary-raised Uzomechine threw himself into robotics, participating in — and winning — just about every district-wide tournament he could find.

Beyond competing, he became proficient at programming and manipulating many hardware components, while challenging himself through courses in deep learning and microelectronics. 

He also developed an interest in Model United Nations and debate, winning multiple speaker awards, and was selected from a very competitive provincial pool to represent Alberta at the National Debating Seminar.

Uzomechine is now one of six U of A students to receive the Schulich Leader Scholarship, given annually to 50 university hopefuls in Canada enrolled in an undergraduate program in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The award ranges from $80,000 for science students to $100,000 for those in engineering.

In Grade 11, Uzomechine attended Shad Canada, a summer entrepreneurship program for high achievers, where he led a team in designing a product that moulds unwanted plastics into a replacement for corrugated cardboard. He also formed a company around it.

“Entrepreneurship provides the greatest conduit through which my dreams may become reality.”

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