Luca Filippelli

Giving back to York’s STEM community as a Schulich Leader

As an active volunteer in high school, Luca Filippelli’s passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) was evident. From participating in student council to promoting STEM studies to future students, Filippelli’s commitment and enthusiasm for the industry was recognized when he was chosen as a recipient of the Schulich Leader scholarship in 2020.

“The scholarship really helped relieve a lot of financial stress, which allowed me to focus on my studies, spend time giving back to the community and extracurriculars,” says Filippelli, a third-year computer engineering student. "If I didn’t have the scholarship, a lot of that time would be spent working.”

Connecting with the STEM community

"During COVID when I wasn’t on campus, I was very isolated, but being able to talk to other Schulich Leaders at York and students at different schools helped a lot," Filippelli says. "You’re also connected to a lot of influential people," he adds.

"I’ve had a great experience networking at Schulich job fairs to better understand what companies are looking for. Staying connected has been a valuable way to be able to ask and receive high quality advice related to research, resume building and interviewing."

Filippelli says the financial aid provided to recipients has greatly impacted him during his studies. Current Schulich Leader Scholarships are valued at $100,000 for students enrolled in science, technology or mathematics programs, and $120,000 for students admitted to engineering programs over four years of their degree.

"Tuition, textbooks, commuting costs – it adds up quickly and it can be hard to figure out how to afford everything while also trying to focus on your education and have a social life. It's a lot to juggle," he says.

Now in his third year of computer engineering, Filippelli has gone on to make a remarkable impact on both the STEM community and at York University. Since beginning at York, he has been deeply involved within the engineering Faculty, participated in two co-op placements to gain valuable work experience and is currently serving as the president of the Lassonde Engineering Society. He also helped to establish a fund that enables STEM-based clubs and societies to participate in competitions, conferences and events.

"Competitions, especially for robotics or STEM-related teams, can be expensive," he says. "I advocated to establish a fund and a partnership system – the team participates in a competition or helps give back to the community and in return we help make that happen financially."

Filippelli is proud that the fund has been able to help a rocketry team at York. "They came in third place in a national competition, beating out other university teams that were really well funded, he says."

For future scholarship applicants, Filippelli says there are important key qualities that Schulich Leaders possess: initiative, leadership, academic inclination and kindness. He encourages other students to stay curious and be themselves.

"There is no silly question,” he says. “Everyone should be willing and able and eager to help each other grow."

Filippelli hopes to partake in additional co-op programs and research opportunities as he continues his studies at York.

Explore York's Scholarships and Bursaries

The Schulich Leader Scholarship supports undergraduate students with an entrepreneurial interest who are studying within STEM fields.

  • Canadian high schools can nominate one graduating student each year who shows strong leadership skills and academic excellence.
  • York is one of 20 Canadian universities to participate in the Schulich Leader Scholarship program.
  • The Schulich Foundation provides scholarship recipients with enriching opportunities, including access to job fairs and top STEM employers, mentorship and regional events.
  • Recipients are also connected to a network of other Schulich Leaders.