Ruis MacDonald - 2018 Winning Essay

Ruis MacDonald

I am committed to becoming a leader in in energy sustainability. Raised by a single father and devoted grandparents, I learned that ambitions can only be achieved through hard work, focused goals, excellent interpersonal skills, and high credentials.

In September 2016, I was entering my fourth year of engineering at Dalhousie University with a 3.95 GPA. My team of male engineering students and I had built an eco-car that won fifth at the Shell Eco-marathon, beating out the top American Ivy-league teams. I had secured a co-op position with arguably the world’s top battery scientist Jeffrey Dahn who is largely responsible for the battery that fuels your phone, laptop, and the Tesla electric car. A recipient of the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize and Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, I was a prolific volunteer in local and international projects (including helping to build schools in Africa).

But my life drastically changed when a balcony broke beneath me on September 10, 2016.

Although having suffered a traumatic brain injury and paralysis from the waist down, and without financial support outside of family, this life-altering injury did not quash my ambitions. After spending six months hospitalized, followed by ten-hour days of intensive rehabilitation, I have returned to university in less than a year, and will begin my co-op position with Dahn this spring.

Determined to enter graduate school, and regain use of my legs, I persevere physically and mentally in working toward my goal of solving the world’s most pressing challenges regarding energy sustainability.