Thompson Rivers University

Young leader engineering solutions for his city

October 12, 2017

Jacob Lawrence, TRU Leadership Scholarship recipient.

They’re community builders, athletes, volunteers, and scholars. In our TRU Trailblazers series, we’re profiling some of our 2017 major scholarship winners. Read on to meet TRU’s most accomplished first-year students and learn their best study tips, volunteer suggestions, and leadership advice.

TRU Trailblazer: Jacob Lawrence

Meet Jacob Lawrence: South Kamloops Secondary graduate, avid volunteer and Student City Council founder.

Jacob is the recipient of the TRU Leadership Entrance Scholarship, a $4,000 award that recognizes documented leadership and community service combined with strong academic performance.

At just 16 years-old, Jacob is one of TRU’s youngest freshman. A highly disciplined individual, Jacob finished five years of high school in only three years before beginning his engineering studies at TRU this fall.

“I wanted to begin university as soon as possible,” he said, noting that he took online summer courses and followed a strict study routine in order to reach this goal.

“During high school I usually woke up at 4 a.m. and studied until about 7:30 a.m. before going to school,” he said. “That way I didn’t have to study after school and my evenings were free. I then had time to go to the gym, which I found actually helped improve my studying. Working out keeps the mind clean.”

While many of his peers in high school were using their free evenings to relax, Jacob was using his to give back to his community. He lists volunteering to play music at retirement homes, teaching young children how to swim and crafting Christmas cards as some of his favourite volunteer activities.

Most recently Jacob used his keen leadership skills to found the Kamloops Student City Council, a group comprised of nine student representatives from each high school who will shadow the city council members.

“City Councillor Marg Spina approached my friend and I while we were volunteering in coat check for an event, and she suggested the idea to us. We loved it, so after that she met with us every week for a bit before passing the project onto Councillor Arjun Singh to help us bring the project to fruition,” Jacob said of the youth council’s roots.

Jacob Lawrence sitting in front of the Main Library.

Jacob Lawrence is excited to begin his university education.

At TRU, Jacob has already expressed a great interest in computer engineering.

“I’m happy about my choice to study at TRU. It’s here in my hometown, it has small class sizes and there is the potential to do a four-year degree if the program expands,” Jacob said, adding that he will transfer to UBC if the full degree program doesn’t develop.

However, business may also be in Jacob’s future, as he is a burgeoning investor who would like to take some finance classes. “In 10 years, I could see myself obtaining an MBA and hopefully working for a large bank in a big city like Vancouver or London,” he shared of his future goals.

When Jacob is not studying, volunteering, leading or investing you still won’t catch him relaxing. No, Jacob is a man of many hats and a member of many different community subcultures. He’s a violinist in the Kamloops Orchestra, a certified ski instructor, a swimming instructor and a skilled mountain biker, to name a few of his hobbies.

It is this extensive volunteer and community involvement experience that has shaped Jacob into such an excellent example of a dedicated leader.

“The best way to start volunteering is to recognize a problem and try to solve it,” he said, hoping that his advice will encourage current high school students to get involved in their communities. “Being a good leader means taking command of the situation while still pushing others to do their best.”