Shaurya Kansal, an 18-year-old from Meerut, India, has received the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarship – India, aimed at encouraging the next generation of young leaders as India and Australia strengthen their ties.
Kansal was recognised for his outstanding academic and volunteering experience, which includes developing a model for Venus as part of the NASA and Boeing sponsored Asian Regional Space Settlement Design Competition. He has also conceptualised an AI based malaria detector for rural India and won a national essay writing competition with his piece on the economic implications of COVID.
Kansal will study a Bachelor of Computer Science majoring in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, supported by a 100 percent tuition fee waiver, leadership and networking opportunities, and academic mentoring.
“It’s nice to have so much within the scholarship, it makes me dream and have gratitude for this wonderful opportunity every day,” he said.
UOW Vice-Chancellor Patricia Davidson is excited to welcome this bright young mind to their institution.
“Shaurya’s outstanding academic journey and innovative mindset align perfectly with the values we cherish at UOW. We are excited to support him in his pursuit of knowledge and positive impact that he is dedicated to create in the world,” she said.
As a child, Shaurya Kansal’s family regularly moved around the world for his father’s work, giving him a taste for intercultural life. He spent his preschool years in Sydney and did his middle schooling at Auckland’s Westlake Boys School, where he dived into everything from Lacrosse to the Hakka.
“[Westlake] was my intro into what life could look like at a vibrant international university and what it’s like when you’re provided these resources; it’s where I got interested in attending a top college and seeking out the best in my academic and professional life,” Kansal said.
An admirer of Steve Jobs, he aspires to use his computer science degree to give back to the community as an entrepreneur.
“I remember carrying around the Steve Jobs biography during 7th grade, really analysing every aspect of his life and trying to see how the dots connect for me,” said Kansal. “I think being an entrepreneur is my way of providing the most value – I don’t want to just be the person who gets the job, I want to be the person who can provide for others.”
“That’s why I chose computer science, to innovate and bring the latest solutions. I think computer science is important for young leaders, and once I have these tools, it will be the turning point for bringing my ideas to life.”
Completing the Cambridge International A Levels in Delhi during the pandemic, Kansal found out about his scholarship over a phone call with the UOW Vice Chancellor.
“I felt so speechless and numb – I couldn’t imagine what was going to come next,” he said. “I kept it secret for an entire day, which is pretty rare for me, and only told my parents during dinner.”
“I threw them a party, because they always prioritised my education, even though I’m from a humble background. They tried to send me to the best school they could afford, and if it wasn’t for them bringing out the best in me, I wouldn’t be here.”
Currently residing in accommodation on their Wollongong campus, Shaurya Kansal is already settling in well to his first month in the coastal NSW city.
“Coming from a landlocked area, seeing the sea and lush greens around Wollongong is so beautiful,” he said. “There’s a lot of beautiful wildlife. It’s suburban, not like the high-rise buildings I’m used to.”
An eager learner, he has relished the chance to get started on his classes and experience the vibrant campus environment.
“The professors jumped right in, and we’ve already covered so much that’s practical and useful. We have unicorn startups and a maker-space on campus, which is a dream for someone like me, because I can build practically anything I think of here. The university also has its own F1 team, which really excites me – there’s nothing more geeky than building an F1 car!” he said.
He’s also eager to explore the local attractions during his time off.
“I’ve seen a couple of the famous beaches and they completely knocked my socks off, they were something straight out of fantasyland!” Kansal said. “I want to go to Mount Keira, where you can have a beautiful view of the city – I’ll do that before semester ends, for sure!”
“Waking up every day in Wollongong with so many resources at my disposal and only being limited by my imagination is truly magical. It’s totally changed my future.”