Where Are They Now? Spotlight on MACOY’s Alum Ved Varshney
Second-year engineering student Ved Varshney is on his way to a rewarding career and gives credit to being a Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth Alum.
From Grade 10 to 12, Ved participated in a wide variety of projects and volunteer activities at Westwood Community High School. Some of the initiatives Ved was a part of during his three-year MACOY experience included creating a mental health video that outlines how common mental health issues impact people and how to deal with these issues.
He also made and promoted a survey for youth in the community to help improve transit services and have their opinions heard, and was a part of the first team working on YMM Parent’s Top 20 Under 20 initiative in 2019.
When asked about his best experiences as a MACOY youth, Ved cherishes the opportunity to speak to elected officials.
“The best memories that I have was interacting with elected officials and having conversations with them,” said the 18-year-old student. “For example, I enjoyed speaking with Mayor Don Scott and Mayor Melissa Blake when she was in office. I particularly enjoyed attending council meetings, as well!”
Ved also said his experience with MACOY has helped him advance into his career path because of the skills he learned through the program.
“I think MACOY has taught me leadership and communication skills. Through the projects, I have learned how to manage a team and how to approach team members effectively,” he said.
Ved further explains how his experiences speaking with members of parliament have helped refine his communication skills.
“MACOY has also taught me how to approach people to have a meaningful conversation. I had an abundance of opportunities to talk to elected officials. These interactions have given me stronger communication skills. Moving forward with projects that I commit to in university, I can leverage these skills effectively.”
After graduating as one of Westwood’s Class of 2019, Ved travelled to the Arctic for two weeks with a group called Students on Ice.
Since its inception, the awarding-winning program has taken over 2,500 students, scientists, educators, elders, artists, musicians, historians and business leaders from around the globe to the Polar regions for its educational expeditions.
“I got to learn about the far north environment. This trip, in general, was very eye-opening to me, and it taught me how interconnected we humans are,” he said. “It showed me how our actions here have an impact on those living on the other side of the globe.”
Ved is now in his second year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, specializing in integrated engineering.
Photos: MACOY Alumni Ved Varshney during the Students on Ice arctic expedition in the summer of 2019. Supplied photos