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Taking advantage of everything

September 1, 2017

Khalid Backtash
Khalid Backtash, BMSc'09, BESc'17

Khalid Backtash realized he was meant to be a civil engineer – shortly after graduating from his Medical Science program.

In 2013, Backtash, BMSc’09, BESc’17, became an undergraduate student for the second time. With a Medical Science degree in hand, and now pursing an Engineering degree, he was determined to take advantage of every opportunity inside and outside the classroom.

“When I was in Medical Science, I prioritized working and having money – so I could get by – over my academics and extra-curricular activities. When I came back, I wanted to take advantage of the student experience that Western offers. When I did, I grew personally and academically. It made my learning experience better; I gained the motivation to keep at it.”

Throughout his four years in Engineering, Backtash volunteered with Western’s Foot Patrol, Western Serves, the Undergraduate Engineering Society and at a nursing home in the community. He wouldn’t have been able to do so, however, without the support of donor-funded scholarships, bursaries and awards.

“I’m fortunate donors made it possible for me to prioritize my schooling and extra-curricular commitments. It was challenging for me, at times, not knowing whether I was going to get a scholarship, which would have meant I wouldn’t have been able to pay my tuition,” he explained. “Every penny I’ve received has allowed me to give back by being involved in on-campus activities and by focusing on my academics – and doing even better than I even expected.”

Backtash was on the honour list each of the four years of his Engineering degree and graduated this spring with distinction. In addition to the financial support, he is thankful for the acknowledgement that comes with receiving an award.

“It’s wonderful to know someone is out there watching out for you, helping you achieve your potential and focus your efforts where it’s needed most. I can’t thank donors enough. I am looking forward to being in a financial position to start a fund or give back because of what I’ve received here at Western.”

This article appeared in the 2017 edition of Annual Impact
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