Meet the 2022-2023 National Scholars

We are pleased to announce and welcome these outstanding students as our 2022-2023 cohort of National Scholars.


Juliana Concini

Innis College
Specialist: Life Sciences

Biology, chemistry, immunology, genetics: Juliana Concini is excited to explore them all before declaring a major and diving into the incredible research opportunities available to U of T students. She comes to the University from Edmonton, where she participated in the Alberta Innovates program for high school researchers, volunteered at Telus World of Science and tutored her peers. She led a project to collect and amplify the voices of BIPOC teachers and students at her high school, hosted a virtual flute concert during the pandemic and mentored pages in the legislative assembly. Juliana’s goal is to become a research scientist who inspires other young women to get involved in science and tech. “Thank you BMO,” she says, “for making this possible for me.”



Cameron DeWith

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
Major: Mechanical Engineering

Cameron DeWith captained the frisbee team, coached cross country, led the jazz band and was co-president of the student council in his Burnaby, B.C. high school. He also found a passion for STEM, conducting battery research at the Canadian Light Source, building a mini satellite for a CanSat competition and participating in the Future Science Leaders program. “With its research focus and rigour, U of T was my top choice for electric vehicle and renewable energy research,” he says. “The BMO National Scholarship made this a financially viable option, allowing me to pursue my education worry-free.” Cameron has joined U of T’s frisbee team, academic success committee and humanpowered vehicles design team. In the future, he hopes to further the global sustainability shift.



Alice Ferguson-O’Brien

Trinity College
Majors: Cognitive Science and Philosophy

Alice Ferguson-O’Brien is shaped by family and community. “Growing up in a close-knit and selfless community, I have been deeply involved in the climate justice movement since 2018,” she says. And inspired by her older brothers, who have disabilities including autism spectrum disorder and an intellectual disability, she also volunteered with Best Buddies, a group that includes neurodiverse community members in meaningful ways. Alice plans to study emerging models of cognition and the bioethics of mental health care. “I hope to use my education to better understand, help, care for and connect with people with mental illness and cognitive disability, as I know the immense joy, intelligence and insight they have to offer,” she says. “Thank you for trusting in my potential.”



Holly Fillier

New College
Specialist: Life Sciences

Writing, film, music, drama: Holly Fillier’s creative skills are a standout. She’s won provincial awards (and a national Skills Canada silver) for everything from poetry to improv to video production, as well as public speaking competitions. At high school, she was not only active on the drama, improv and choir teams, but found time to co-found an environmental club, serve with the social justice group and fundraise for Indigenous community needs. She hopes to earn a PhD in clinical psychology and work in the field, addressing the underdiagnosis of autism in women and lack of empathy for patients. “U of T is one of the best things to happen to me,” she says. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing my dreams to become substantial.”



Matthew Huang

Woodsworth College
Specialist: Life Sciences

Matthew Huang is passionate about innovative solutions for sustainable economic growth. He founded Climate Education Reform BC, a high school group that advocates for nuanced, intersectional and optimistic climate change education and which won the 2022 David Suzuki Future Ground Prize. He also organized the 2019 Vancouver Earth Day and distributed COVID-19 support kits in downtown Vancouver. Matthew plans to declare a double major in economics and environmental science and to eventually pursue a master’s degree in environmental economics. “At U of T, I have found a community of like-minded individuals who share my passion for making a positive impact on the world,” he says. “I hope to make you proud of your investment in my future.”



Scott Mitchell

Innis College
Faculty of Arts & Science

Scott Mitchell already has a slew of award-winning acting performances to their name, in everything from arts festivals to commercial film and theatre. They’ve also won a slam poetry award, directed a professional play, performed an original poem at a Pride week flag raising, helped protect old growth forests and organized an educational campaign for Truth and Reconciliation. Scott plans to declare a double major in drama and sexual diversity studies. Their ultimate goal: to create major change in the world of theatre and film for trans and disabled actors and educate the world about the struggles of queer and trans people through art. “This scholarship has given me the ability to focus on the impact I want to make,” they say. “It truly means the world.”



Cooper Price

Victoria College
Specialist: Social Sciences

Environment, law, politics. Cooper Price has already made strides pursuing these passions at high school in Toronto, where he volunteered as an organizer for Fridays For Future International, competed in the Model United Nations, served as president of a student mental health group and interned at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. He plans to declare a double major in economics and peace, conflict and justice— a program only offered at U of T. “The BMO National Scholarship has enabled me to study the exact discipline for which I am most passionate,” he says. Cooper plans a career in policy, addressing the economic and environmental issues of urban communities, especially those on the front lines of environmental devastation.



Jacob Rudolph

Trinity College
Specialist: Social Sciences

Jacob Rudolph is confident that spending his formative years in Canada’s largest city and top university will nurture a curious, civic-minded nature. He’s already expressed that nature through volunteering for his local food bank in Hamilton, earning a gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and participating in model parliament. At U of T, he plans to study economics and political science with the goal of working in public policy. “I envisage a Canada with widespread prosperity and declining inequality, where no one is left behind,” he says. Jacob is grateful for the BMO National Scholarship, which, he says, allows him the time to explore extracurriculars, pursue summer employment opportunities where he is best suited to make a positive difference and save for further education.



Shiven Srivastava

Victoria College
Specialist: Mathematical and Physical Sciences

At high school in Winnipeg, Shiven Srivastava volunteered with Reverse the Trend, a youth initiative to raise awareness about the intersection of nuclear threats and climate change. At U of T, he is furthering these passions for environment and policy with studies in astrophysics and political science. Shiven has also signed up for Hart House debate and joined the Victoria College Sustainability Commission executive, where he helped boost engagement in the Fridays for Future climate strikes. “I am so looking forward to everything I will be able to accomplish here,” he says. “I believe that a true leader’s imperative is to create other leaders, so I hope to increase student engagement in the world of service.” And in the future? He’s eyeing a law degree.



Elienna Wang

Faculty of Music
Specialist: Composition

Pianist and composer Elienna Wang hopes to promote multiculturism, social justice and well-being through music and has wasted no time getting started. Just five months into her U of T studies, she premiered her original piece, Penta-Chroma, which expresses in music the conflict and eventual friendship of two very different characters—a meditation on identity shaped by multiple cultural backgrounds and the power of mutual acceptance. Elienna also plays for the Spirit Singers, a social justice choir, and at retirement homes. Her goal is to become a professional composer of film and concert music. “BMO’s support has encouraged me to go beyond in my academic pursuits,” she says, “allowing me to work with a mentor and build my musicianship.”



Lana Wehbeh

Victoria College
Major: Computer Science

For Lana Wehbeh, community drives passion—and she’s already energized by the opportunities at U of T. “The space and community here are breathtaking, and I have learned so much simply by meeting others,” she says. Studying computational linguistics and statistics as well as computer science, Lana aims to grow her skills in natural language processing and build a career developing true accessibility in technology. She has already volunteered at Canada Learning Code, been a youth leader for a student policing initiative and worked on research for a STEM literacy non-profit. Now, at university, she’s also growing networking opportunities for the Computer Science Students Union and doing pro-bono consulting for a local community.



Salma Wennekers

Woodsworth College
Majors: English and Drama

“I believe it must be every undergraduate’s dream to attend university on a scholarship,” says Salma Qureshi Wennekers. “I am inspired and honoured. Education is vitally important to my family.” In high school, Salma won eight Ontario Showcase Awards as a playwright, stage manager and performer, volunteered with students with special needs and took on leadership roles in the drama council and the Truth and Reconciliation group. At U of T, she’s already singing in the Woodsworth Spirit Choir. With plans to major in history, Salma is studying ancient empires, archaeology, English and drama, and intends to pursue graduate studies. “I hope to use my education to bring new opportunities to students like me and to foster greater research of historical significance,” she says.



Lilah Williamson

Trinity College
Specialist: Social Sciences

A climate activist for more than three years, Lilah Williamson organized climate strikes in her home town of Vancouver and co-founded three youth climate organizations: Sustainabiliteens, Climate Strike Canada and Youth Stop TMX, a grassroots high school protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Aiming for a career as an environmental lawyer, she plans to earn a bachelor of arts in economics and political science, and rounds out her studies with varsity rowing and continued climate activism. “My purpose is to ensure countries reduce their emissions and create a more sustainable world, but I can’t do that without an undergraduate education,” says Lilah. “The BMO National Scholarship has changed my life, and I cannot thank you enough.”


We invite you to meet the National Scholars from other years: