Saanich’s Matias Totz has won a $100,000 scholarship to study commerce at the University of Calgary (Submitted).

Saanich’s Matias Totz has won a $100,000 scholarship to study commerce at the University of Calgary (Submitted).

Saanich teen earns $100,000 commerce scholarship to the University of Calgary

Matias Totz is graduating from St. Michaels University School

Matias Totz wasn’t quite sure what to make of the message he received from an Alberta phone number. A few days earlier, the associate dean and dean at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business had interviewed Totz for the Richard and Lois Legacy Scholarship, the largest and most prestigious in the school’s history.

The scholarship is $100,000 over five years of undergraduate commerce studies at the university.

Nervous to discover whether he was about to receive good or disappointing news, Totz recognized the voice of the associate dean. “When I heard that she was excited to tell me something – my heart started racing,” he said. “After she told me that I had won a $100,000 scholarship, I was both stunned and ecstatic as it hit me that I had been selected for such an amazing opportunity.” He also said it was a nice touch to receive a personal phone call rather than an email.

“For me, it is an incredible honour to be selected for this unique opportunity and one which I will strive to make the most of,” he said.

RELATED: Students design bracelet to measure poison air from wildfires

Totz, a Grade 12 student at Saanich’s St. Michaels University School, says he is still narrowing his university plans down in light of his broad academic interests that range from marine science to Mandarin to statistics.

He said his experience as a student with SHAD Canada, a program for high aptitude students in Grade 10 and 11 focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and/or mathematics (STEAM) and entrepreneurship. Totz said that program introduced him to the power of solving big problems through scientific entrepreneurship.

“I had the incredible opportunity to be a member of a small design team that innovated a bracelet to detect carbon monoxide poisoning and developed a complete business case for our new life-saving product,” he said. “This inspired me to apply for commerce at [U of C] because they offer an entrepreneurship and innovation concentration. I am also considering the International Business Strategy concentration, so that I can continue my studies in Mandarin.”

After his undergraduate, Totz hopes to pursue postgraduate studies in business and environmental sciences in either Canada or abroad.

As for his professional plans, Totz said he’s graduating into the Fourth Industrial Revolution during which rapid technological advancements will transform future workplaces. Over a third of essential skills required today will be obsolete in five years’ time, meaning that non-technical skills such as leadership, interpersonal communication, and creativity are rising in demand, he said.

“I believe a degree in business will help prepare me for this evolving future and allow me the flexibility to pursue a wide range of future career paths, some of which may not even exist today,” he said. “If I had to choose today, I would love to start up a company that innovates solutions for the world’s biggest environmental problems such as cleaning up our oceans or reducing food waste.”

Totz said winning this scholarship gives him “incredible confidence” in believing he can make a difference in the world.

“It will open up opportunities to become involved in the Calgary community, to develop my leadership skills in university clubs and athletics, take advantage of study abroad semesters, participate in business competitions, and make important connections with business leaders and other like-minded students,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful to Richard and Lois Haskayne and to the U Calgary School of Business for giving me the opportunity to discover myself through these diverse opportunities.”

This said, Totz said many people made this opportunity possible for him, especially his teachers and peers at SMUS, as well as the people with whom works or volunteers, and his family.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

Just Posted

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

On May 10, Saanich council unanimously approved a 2020 budget with a 5.76 per cent property tax increase. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich adopts 5.76% property tax hike for 2021

Budget includes $2.6 million to accelerate climate actions, active transportation targets

Patrick OLeary won $1 million in the March 24 draw of the Lotto 6/49. (BCLC image)
Sooke man cashes $1-million lottery ticket

The excavator operator had to look twice to confirm the win

According to Statistics Canada, Greater Victoria’s unemployment rose half a per cent to 6.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the previous month. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment in Greater Victoria continues to rise

April figures peg local unemployment at 6.2%

A partnership is looking to identify skeletal remains that were discovered by recreational divers in the Gorge Waterway this February. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Divers find partial human skull in Gorge Waterway

B.C. Coroner Service determines remains likely historical, not ancestral

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Lumber is shown in the back of a van in this recent image provided by the Saskatoon Police Service. The skyrocketing prices for lumber is fuelling a trend that has authorities across the country warning builders to keep their guard up. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Saskatoon Police Service-Const. Derek Chesney *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It is a gold mine:’ Builders warned of rising lumber thefts across Canada

Many North American mills curtailed production temporarily earlier in 2020 because of COVID lockdowns

RCMP arrested a man in north Nanaimo who wound up empty-handed after allegedly failing at shoplifting, bank robbery and robbery at ATM machine. (File photo)
Man arrested in Nanaimo after failed attempts at bank robbery, ATM mugging, shoplifting

RCMP cuff suspect in office-supply store after ‘short-lived crime spree’

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after 2 bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

A Nanaimo RCMP officer is recovering after his patrol car was hit by another vehicle at an intersection on Monday, May 10. (Photo courtesy Julia Rose)
RCMP vehicle broad-sided in Nanaimo intersection crash

Police officer recovering at home following collision Monday

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Most Read