Promising Start for the First Laidlaw Scholars' Cohort
The official launch of the Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Program at EPFL unveils seventeen profiles with a wide range of personalities, backgrounds and experience. After a rigorous selection process, these students are awarded with a Laidlaw scholarship that will support them to acquire competences to become changemakers for a more sustainable society.
On May 11th 2023, a kick-off event gathered the program’s key stakeholders, as well as all EPFL scholars for the launch of this enhanced learning program that is based on four main dimensions: research, leadership development, social engagement and networking. Selected for their motivation, leadership potential and research curiosity, these scholars also have demonstrated strong convictions that change must happen to make the world a better place. “During the recruitment interviews, I was impressed by the values and degree of maturity some of the students already exhibit” says Dr. Sabrina Rami-Shojaei, Director of EPFL’s Education Outreach Department and Member of the Laidlaw Admission Committee.
I hope that this program will successfully support them in their efforts and push them to make decisions guided by ethics, integrity and empathy.
PFL has joined forces with the Laidlaw Foundation to offer its Bachelor’s students a unique opportunity to complement their academic journey with a comprehensive curriculum that includes personal development training focusing on transversal skills such as leadership, communication, and critical thinking. Two internships, one focusing on scientific research and the other one on leadership-in-action, will allow scholars to apply their knowledge and leadership skills to concrete situations, and for the benefit of society. Prof. Kathryn Hess Bellwald, EPFL’s Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Outreach who attended the event confirms that “the Laidlaw Program resonates with the School’s objective to form engineers and scientists who are not only technically excellent but also well-rounded citizens, conscious of their responsibility to contribute to society and well equipped to do so and aware of the necessity of being role models of respectful, ethical behavior.”
The program will provide them with a solid base for outstanding achievements while acting responsibly for the society and keeping community-centered values in mind.
The event also provided an occasion for a casual get together, where scholars got to know each other in a relaxed and festive mood. Whilst they all have their own views on what to expect of the Laidlaw program, they agree that they look forward the new discoveries and to this joint journey, focused on human connection. Within the next months, the scholars will dig into the first leadership workshop dedicated to self-awareness, teamwork and mindfulness, followed by a supervised summer internship in an EPFL laboratory to discover the world of research.