By Ryan Andrew Mitchell The Afro News Vancouver
“Well I am only seventeen so my life story isn’t long.” Modest but focused, Senior of York House, a Private Secondary School, Zamyla-Chan exclaims. “It has been a very big part of my lifestyle, trying to maintain that balance.” She is thankful for the support she had while attending school. “I was born and raised in Vancouver. I have grown with great support of the community. “ She participated in various programs and athletic activities which forced her to learn how to manage her life. “I always went to the Junior Black Achievement Awards, played Soccer, and learned the violin, so I definitely started with a balanced lifestyle.” She received the Loran Award and was recently accepted into multiple universities including Harvard, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, McMaster and Yale. In 2009 she was awarded fifth place in the World Individual Public Speaking Championships.
Chan also founded a mentoring program which helps encourage and educate students. “STAGES stand for setting terrific goals equals success. “ Chan states how critical it was for her to have strong elder support while she was growing up. “STAGES is a way for people to be mentored one on one starting at a young age, learning how to set goals early and set them high.”
“I’m really passionate about water policies, so whether it is to make sure our water conservation is more sustainable, or within a developing nation and making sure there is clean water , and that they are starting up with an effective system. Water polices is something I definitely want to dive into.” She comments wanting to work with Non-profit organizations like Engineers without Borders who not only build infrastructures for clean water in Africa, but also start up rural family farms, so the community can produce their own income by farming. “Water is a vital resource, and we have to do our best to protect it and make sure that we use it as best as we can.”
Chan believes there is a bridge that connects engineering to humanitarian work. She plans to study engineering and public policy for post secondary. “I started competitively debating at Grade 9, so debate and public speaking was definitely a large part of my [career path]. Then I took a Law class and Computer Science, I started to see all these connections. Technology can be easily used in public policies. When I think of public policy, I can only think of it in relation with engineering, for me the two really go together.” Chan asserts knowledge in infrastructure will give her the insight to serve the community and tackle social challenges. “I hope to work in government, as a politician or policy analyst, with the knowledge I gain [from engineering], I can apply it to better serve the public.”
Chan notes the most important aspect of education is the inspiration students discover while learning. “Inspiration that can come from education, from finding that you really enjoy something, I think that is indispensable. Through education people can be inspired to follow their dreams and reach their goals.”
As a hobby Zamyla-Chan likes to program computer applications. She mentions this leisure pursuit could someday turn into an application that aids in spreading educational material to people. “With all the technology that we have, it is easy for us to share things, I want to create a way for open source technology to be used to share information.”
She stresses how critical it is for all students to keep a balance of work and fun. She admits that she takes breaks to watch television series on her computer when she has time. “Sometimes I do have time to watch the Big Bang Theory.”
The Loran Award is based on the outstanding character, service and leadership of the recipient.