Year 12 Upper Canada College boarding student Vlad Chindea has received the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in Canada.
Chindea is one of 34 students selected, from an initial pool of more than 5,023 applicants, to be a Loran Scholar. Recipients must go through the most comprehensive and thorough scholarship selection process in Canada.
Chindea first completed a comprehensive written application that included information about the activities he’s been involved with over the last three years. He wrote four essays that reflected the roles that he had in the various communities he’s lived in and the challenges he’s faced so far. Chindea also had to submit a reference letter from a teacher along with his report cards last October.
The Montreal native had to go through two one-on-one interviews with members of the selection panel the following month.
“I always had the sense that the interviewers in front of me truly wanted to learn about who I really was,” says Chindea.
“Even though I believe that the perseverance and work ethic that I have come to develop over the years were key in my application, we mainly discussed what is the most meaningful to me: the love that I have for the most important people in my life; my passion for filmmaking; my keen interest for human rights that I have cultivated since an early age; and the challenges that I had faced, especially when taking the risk to move away from home — from my family and closest friends — when coming to UCC. I stayed true to myself.”
The scholarship is awarded based on evidence of character, commitment to serving the community and long-term leadership potential as well as academics.
“I believe that the Loran Scholars Foundation is really looking for individuals who are vibrantly passionate about something, genuinely engaged within their respective communities, and who are curious about what life can still hold for us,” says Chindea.
The scholarships are valued at $100,000 over four years. Each one includes: an annual stipend of $10,000; a matching tuition waiver; access to $10,000 in funding for summer internships; one-on-one mentorship; and annual retreats and scholar gatherings. It’s tenable at the Loran Scholars Foundation’s 25 partner universities.
While Chindea admits he was first attracted by how the money could relieve the financial stress of attending university, he’s now particularly keen about the mentoring relationships he can take advantage of as well as the internships and opportunities to travel so he can apply his classroom knowledge to real-life situations.
Chindea had the highest academic average of any UCC Year 11 student last year and has received the school’s English and Literature Prize, Film Prize and Environmental Systems and Societies Prize.
Chindea is the head of College Film at UCC and has supervised film workshops at the school. He’s directed more than a dozen films and co-directed a 60-minute web series called Mila with his friend and Montreal-based director Émile Roy. It was produced by Studios Kinetograph Montréal.
Chindea co-founded UCC’s Amnesty International Club. He’s a prefect of Seaton’s House. He took part in the College’s military history immersion program and travelled to France and Belgium to visit First World War sites and share the experience with the UCC community. He’s been active in the World Affairs Conference and is involved with Model United Nations.
Chindea played soccer for seven years before starting cross-country and swimming at UCC.
Chindea also racked up an impressive list of achievements while attending his former school, Collège Jean-Eudes.
Chindea hasn’t yet decided where to attend university, but he’s seriously considering the University of British Columbia.
“I really want to find a way to embrace my passions for film and human rights so that I do no spend my undergraduate studies simply learning how to use the cinematic tools, but instead understanding how I can craft the messages that I strive to share,” he says.
Chindea is thinking about majoring in international relations while remaining active in producing films and studying French literature. While he plans to explore his range of interests in university before deciding upon a career path, at the moment he’s considering the fields of film- and documentary-making, journalism, human rights, international law and diplomacy.
Past UCC Loran Scholars include Kaleem Hawa ’12, Aly Kassim-Lakha ’11 and Allen Champagne ’11.