Westwood student offered $ 270,000 in scholarships for IT projects

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A student from Fort McMurray was offered $ 270,000 in scholarships based on his studies and research projects. Saptarshi Bhattacherya, a grade 12 student at Westwood Community High School, has chosen to accept the University of Waterloo’s Schulich Leaders Award, valued at $ 100,000. He is taking the university’s software engineering program this fall.

The University of Alberta presented him with the President’s Entrance Citation, valued at $ 30,000. The University of British Columbia offered the Presidential Scholars Award of $ 40,000. The University of Toronto also presented him with the Schulich Leaders Award of $ 100,000.

“This is an incredible opportunity that I am very grateful to have,” said Bhattacherya. “I am very grateful to my friends, family and teachers who made this possible. “

The Schulich Fellowships compelled Bhattacherya to write about the research projects he pursued as a student.

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One project he is proud of is called Visual Aids for the Deaf Using Audio Recognition (VADAR). It is a device that attaches to a pair of glasses and provides real-time transcripts of a conversation. Text is projected onto a lens, helping the wearer to be part of the conversation.

Bhattacherya first presented the project as a grade 10 student at the Inventures 2019 pitch competition in Calgary. He won third place.

Another project is an app called Chemfriend, which solves chemical equations and offers a step-by-step solution to the problem. Bhattacherya created the app in Grade 11 to help himself and his classmates with their chemistry homework.

Saptarshi Bhattacherya, a grade 12 student at Westwood Community High School, runs his VADAR project. Image provided / Saptarshi Bhattacherya

Another project that was not included in the Schulich app, but mentioned in a statement from the Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD), is artificial intelligence software created to optimize streetlights.

Bhattacherya has consistently achieved high marks in the Waterloo Canadian Computer Science Competition and Mathematics Competitions. He mentored students through the YouthComputing group. He promoted coding and tech skills to other students through hackathons and pitch competitions.

Bhattacherya’s interest in software engineering and computer science began in elementary school when he discovered a programming language called Scratch. He used it to make games and smaller projects in his spare time.

“It was then that I realized that I liked the logical aspect of computer programming and more generally computer science when it is focused on solving problems,” said Bhattacherya. “That way, it’s great to bring different people together to solve the problems they see in the world today. “

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