Meet the 2019-2020 National Scholars
We are pleased to announce and welcome these outstanding students as our 2019-2020 cohort of National Scholars.
Major: Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology
Albert Cheng is a first-year student at Innis College, majoring in laboratory medicine and pathobiology. He loved his high school experience at the University of Toronto Schools and looks forward to rebuilding, at university, the close sense of community he had there. Albert’s intense curiosity about the workings of the body at the cellular and molecular levels helped him win several academic contests, as well as represent Canada at the 2017 International Biology Olympiad. In addition, he enjoys reading classical literature and is currently halfway through Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Albert is eager to contribute to the research tradition of the University of Toronto and hopes that the next four years see his growth as both a person and a scientist.
Major: Physics and Sociocultural Anthropology
Anthropology Nadia Gericke is studying physics and anthropology at Innis College. Taught to love and respect nature by her family, her goal is now to make a difference in the current environmental crisis. She hopes to use her interest in debate as a stepping-stone to law and a career as an environmental lawyer, or to follow her interest in physics into a career as a geophysicist conducting research. Nadia is passionate about music, soccer and volunteering in her community. She plays the electric bass and the oboe, loves to sing, and has participated in her school bands and choirs. Nadia hopes to continue all of these interests at the University of Toronto, and is extremely excited for what the future may hold.
Major: Neuroscience and Physiology
Aliya Izumi used to request anatomy books in place of bedtime stories. Now majoring in neuroscience and physiology at Victoria College, she hopes to earn multiple degrees. A passionate volunteer, Aliya has started several initiatives: a Symphony for Seniors music program, a charity that donates baseball equipment to children in the Dominican Republic, and a high school peer mentorship program. She has volunteered for humanitarian trips to Kenya and Peru and is a recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal and a National Book Award. A volleyball player, she has also won several national-level sports medals and a Canadian National All-Star Award. Aliya has already joined U of T UNICEF’s Youth Engagement team and looks forward to exploring her passion for science at the University of Toronto.
Major: Neuroscience and Biochemistry
Jess Nash is a first-year science student at Victoria College, who is passionate about and involved in extracurricular pursuits from journalism and literary analysis to calligraphy, painting, woodworking and music. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and as president of the Model United Nations team, presented on research, writing, and political skills. At U of T, she has already joined Victoria College’s student newspaper, The Strand, and is working on two Model UN conferences. Jess looks forward to bringing her diverse interests to the University of Toronto, and hopes her genuine love for biochemistry, history, psychology and anthropology will support an academic career promoting education, human knowledge and human welfare.
Major: Cinema Studies
Eli Ramraj, who is majoring in cinema studies at Victoria College, knows his passion for telling stories has already shone through in many forms. In high school, where he was Head Boy, Eli won several national debating awards. He has performed in five theatre productions, starring in both Sherlock Holmes and Beauty and the Beast (as the Beast, not Beauty!). When Eli spoke out to advocate for a more inclusive and accessible Christmas carol service, he successfully convinced his school and community to implement many of his proposed changes. And his live-action short, A Deaf Man’s Symphony, made semi-finalist in the B.C. Directors Cut International Film Festival. Eli has lived in Singapore, England and British Columbia and now, in Toronto, he wishes to pursue the greatest of his passions, film.
Abhayjeet Singh Sachal
Major: Global Health and Public Policy
Abhayjeet Singh Sachal, studying global health, public policy and Indigenous studies at Victoria College, is already an experienced humanitarian and environmental activist. After a trip to the Arctic in 2016, he co-founded Break The Divide Foundation, a non-profit organization that connects youth around the world to foster empathy, understanding, and environmental, sustainability and reconciliation projects in communities. Abhay has been a key presenter at international conferences, was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 Environmentalists and recently featured as the Canada’s Walk of Fame Community Hero Award Winner. He is also an avid ice hockey player and pianist. Abhay believes that engagement in dialogue and conversation can serve to spark change around the world.
John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape,
Major: Architectural Design
Julie Seeger is a first-year student in architecture who aspires to open her own firm. Besides design, Julie pursues three other arts. As a musician, she was the principal cellist with the Mooredale Senior Youth Orchestra and is now a cellist with the University of Toronto Campus Philharmonic. As a dancer and choreographer, she performed with the National Ballet School’s Associates Program, and has now joined Vic Dance at U of T. And Julie is also a photographer who runs her own business. She is passionate about wellness and mental health, and hopes to combine her love of the arts and helping others to build a brighter community during her time at U of T. As an architect, Julie hopes to design spaces that connect others and bring light to the world.
Major: Pharmacology or Immunology
Katelyn Wang, a first-year student at Trinity College, is passionate about science, debate and social justice. She writes political and social commentaries to reflect her advocacy for equality and was the provincial winner in the Royal Canadian Legion Essay Contest. Katelyn is the director of a grassroots youth organization, L.I.G.H.T., and has co-ordinated free camps, workshops and tutoring for low-income, refugee and immigrant children. She has placed in national and international entrepreneurship and debate competitions, and won the Central Novice Debate Championship, representing U of T. In high school, she conducted microbiology research at Ryerson University, and her innovations have earned several awards at the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Katelyn aspires to continue research and extend the boundaries of science.
Major: Linguistics and Neuroscience
James Yuan is a student at Victoria College, majoring in neuroscience and linguistics. His interests range from the philosophy of reason to the study of immunology, but he keeps returning to understanding the fundamentals of language—he has even constructed his own original languages. Passionate about helping others, James hopes to apply his learning as a speech pathologist, working with children or rehabilitative patients. Outside of the classroom, James plays the flute, composes music, and contributes to U of T’s student newspaper, The Varsity. James is grateful to the University of Toronto and the BMO Financial Group National Scholarship Program for the opportunity to study at an institution renowned for its breadth of rigorous education.
We invite you to meet the 2020-2021 National Scholars here.
We invite you to meet the 2021-2022 National Scholars here.