Meet the 2022 Pearson Scholars

The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship was created to bring exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Toronto. We are pleased to announce and welcome these outstanding students as members of the 2022 cohort of award recipients.

If you have any questions you would like to ask about the Pearson Program or of the Pearson Scholars, please send all your questions and enquiries to 

Reesha Ahmed

The New School Dhaka

University of Toronto Scarborough, Social Sciences and Humanities

“From an early age, I wanted to follow in my parents’ footsteps by becoming a teacher so I could be just as loved and respected. In high school, I joined the Peer Tutoring Program to assist students struggling with mathematics, physics, and chemistry. While volunteering to teach underprivileged children in Korail, one of the largest slums in my country, I discovered a sense of purpose and community; however, I also witnessed first-hand the inhumane living conditions of the extremely poor. This experience was the life-altering wake-up call that led me to apply my passion for social justice and create my own nonprofit, ‘Share Your Closet’. As the founder and executive member, I now run an organization of 120 volunteers who work all year round to bridge divides and empower marginalized groups by conducting awareness seminars and donating clothes, food, and health supplies.

“It was an honor to serve as Student Council President and win accolades for my alma mater at national Olympiads and debate competitions. My fascination with different cultures and languages comes from coexisting in my colorful intercultural family. I have addressed social issues such as gender inequality in my articles published in major national dailies, starting difficult but necessary conversations among my readers.

“I am deeply honored to have received a Lester B. Pearson Scholarship. Through my academic and co-curricular endeavors at the University of Toronto, I aim to equip myself with the knowledge and skillset to give grassroots women a voice and pave a path toward equality.”

Frederich Galen Matibag Angeles

De La Salle Lipa

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Life Sciences

“Hi! My name is Frederich Galen Angeles, an 18-year old Filipino student aspiring to be a cardiologist or neurologist. I enjoy engaging in community activities, playing sports, watching Netflix, and listening to various types of music.

“Reaching out to people through online conversations and volunteer work has been important to me because helping others gives me a sense of purpose in life and allows me to push through my personal challenges. Knowing that others need me inspires me to improve myself further by attending masterclasses, joining national and international organizations such as ‘OECD Education 2030’, collaborating with other students around the world on UN SDG-related activities that will benefit the community, and participating in podcasts on mental health.  By improving myself, I have been able to help more people in need and contribute in my own way to make the world a better place to live in.

“Being chosen as a Lester B Pearson Scholar is one of God’s greatest gifts to me and my family.  It is proof that the University of Toronto is deeply committed to offer deserving students, regardless of status in life, an equal chance to experience a transformative education that will prepare them to become creators of positive impact in the global community.  I am thankful to be part of this year’s cohort of Pearson Scholars. I personally believe that this opportunity will help me further develop my skills and talents, and grow holistically towards my passion in the field of health sciences.

“I have learned knowledge, skills, values, and attitude through my active participation in co-curricular and extracurricular activities throughout my basic education journey, and in various local and international engagements, giving me the chance to represent and bring honor and pride to my school. I will bring this with me as I temporarily leave my family and my country to complete an undergraduate pre-medical life science program at my dream university.”

Tyler Dela Cruz Carriaga

British International School Ho Chi Minh City
U.S. student in Vietnam

Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design; Architectural Studies

“Hello! My name is Tyler Carriaga. I am an IB Diploma student at the British International School Ho Chi Minh City, where I have had the privilege to serve amongst a team of head students.

“Through my experiences working with international students in my school and in global, youth-led, non-profit organizations, I have come to appreciate the importance of having diverse perspectives in tackling global issues. In particular, I believe that achieving sustainable urban development will require the collaboration of innovators from around the world and across disciplines to create paradigm shifts in the field. Thus, I am very excited to live and study in a city as multicultural as Toronto. There, I will continue to learn how to implement design solutions that will build, quite literally, a better future for our cities, ones that are healthier, more sustainable, and just.

“I am immensely grateful to be awarded the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship and I would like to thank the University of Toronto for providing me with the opportunity to continue to grow, both in my character and in my understanding of these global challenges.”

Mayra Alicia Castilla Cobo

Cooperativa Educacional Franco-Boliviano Santa Cruz

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Engineering Science

“Hello! I am Mayra Alicia Castilla Cobo, and I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. A big part of my identity has always been my fascination for STEM subjects, especially math and engineering. Ever since I started secondary school, I have participated in math and physics Olympiads, representing my school and winning several of them. Simultaneously, by letting my curiosity lead the way, I found through different camps and seminars a passion for the biological side of STEM. As a result, at U of T I will study engineering science with a major in biomedical systems engineering.

“In addition, I am always looking to have an impact on my surroundings. That is why at school I participated in the creation and leadership of three community dedicated clubs: ‘Youth Up’, ‘EcoFranco’, and ‘Braiding Smiles’. This experience led me to building a strong bond with my community, and it has inspired me to keep developing my leadership skills at university.

“In my free time, I love to play volleyball, bake desserts for my loved ones, make new friends, and read, especially romance novels. More importantly, I love spending quality time with my friends and family.

“I am more than honored to be a Lester B. Pearson Scholar this year, and I am genuinely grateful for having the chance to accomplish my dream of studying abroad at a university that will let me develop my full potential as a student and as a person.”

Candace Sara Ciju

GEMS United Indian School, Abu Dhabi
Indian student in the United Arab Emirates

Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Humanities

Namaste! My name is Candace Sara Ciju, and I am an Indian national living in the United Arab Emirates. I am ecstatic and incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a Pearson Scholar this year!

“Having grown up in a culturally & heritage-rich environment, my interests have always been inclined to the subject of history. Despite being an Indian national, I have lived in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, for all my life. Through prestigious awards such as the ‘Sheikh Hamdan Award’, ‘Sharjah Award’, and ‘Sheikha Fathima Award’, the U.A.E has provided me with numerous opportunities, nurturing me into the person that I am today.

“Leadership is a value I hold in high regard, and I have honed my own by serving as my school’s Deputy Head Girl (2019), Head Girl (2020 & 2021), and, finally, President (2022). I’ve started several programs for students at my school with the help of my team, including ‘UIS Masterclasses’, ‘G Month: Month of Generosity’, ‘UIS Blog’, ‘Anti-Bullying Squad’, clubs, fun fairs, and many others. As an avid writer and debater, I served as the editor-in-chief of my school’s newsletter from 2020 to 2022, as well as the Crisis Director of the UIS Model United Nations. Apart from writing and debating, I enjoy reading, theatre, playing the ukulele, chess, painting, badminton, and baking!

“As an environmentalist, I am deeply committed to sustainability, which led me to function as one of the UAE’s Sustainability Ambassadors with ‘MASDAR’, a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable urban development. In 2012, I also founded the ‘Re-Use of Books Campaign’, which collects used books in good condition so that they can be re-used by others. To date, we have collected over 11,000 books, and I genuinely hope that I can continue this initiative at the University of Toronto. Volunteering has also proven to be a rewarding experience for me. Some of my volunteering experiences include my time as a Media & Communications volunteer at the 2019 Special Olympics Games in Abu Dhabi, as well as a student ambassador with ‘NAHTAM Social Responsibility’.

“I hope to apply my learnings from the University of Toronto to attain my goals, such as using my communications and writing training to work as a journalist, or utilize my diplomatic and people skills at the United Nations. I am incredibly honoured, thrilled, and thankful to be a part of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship Program of 2022, and I am deeply grateful to this esteemed university’s Admissions & Awards team for bestowing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on me. And the journey begins!”

Khaled Samir Mohamed El Telbany

Ah Dhafra Private Schools Al Ain
Egyptian student in the United Arab Emirates

Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Rotman Commerce 

“Hi! My name is Khaled El Telbany and I’m an Egyptian citizen from Alain, U.A.E. I am particularly passionate about exploring new business ideas and innovating. It all started with my 12-year-old self buying and reselling marbles at school which set my path for entrepreneurship. My long-term goal is to become one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and help revolutionize the world.

“Beyond academics, I enjoy trading cryptocurrencies and NFTs, developing games, exploring new business ideas, and playing soccer. I am a massive Liverpool supporter and I am always ready to have a soccer conversation. With the driven and diverse student body at U of T, I look forward to joining many student clubs, making new connections, and contributing to the vibrant community.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be selected as a Lester B. Pearson Scholar, and cannot wait to start my journey at the University of Toronto.”

Altair Mizar Mallorca Emboltura

Philippine Science High School – Western Visayas Campus

Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Life Sciences

“Who would have thought that I, the eldest child of a low-income single mother from the outskirts of a rural Philippine town, would get the chance to share my story with you? Hi! My name is Altair Mizar Mallorca Emboltura, and I am more than thrilled to join this year’s amazing cohort of Pearson Scholars.

“Early on, I learned to be resilient and persevering in the face of countless adversities. With nobody but my mother and God to rely on, I learned to actively seek, embrace, and excel in opportunities that allow me to nurture and dedicate my gifts to my family, community, and country. My passion in so many things, along with my mother’s guidance and support, have allowed me to develop holistically: as a young biologist and scholar advocating for STEM education and awareness, a journalist promoting the use of local languages, and a servant leader dedicated to nation-building and youth empowerment. Championing these causes through community involvement gave me a deeper sense of what it means to be more for others. With my Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, I aim to be a physician and health care leader for the Filipino people, especially for our farmers and the underprivileged. Now and later, I aim to provide more opportunities for people like me to be more, learn more, and excel more in life.”

Ambareen Fatima

Al Forsan International School
Indian student in Saudi Arabia

Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design; Architectural Studies

“Greetings! My name is Ambareen Fatima, with the second “A” being silent (“Amb-reen”), which completely contradicts my personality as one would rarely find me silent.

“Firstly, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship program for providing me with the opportunity to join the community at U of T.  

“Over my school years, I have found myself deeply involved in fulfilling my duties as the student council president, discussing global issues in MUNs, innovating projects for STEM competitions, and participating in community service activities. In addition, I worked with local art studios where I conducted art workshops for international delegates at the United Nations office, Riyadh.

“I believe real development resides in growing as a community together, so I founded ‘IISHRAQ’, an initiative that works for quality education and the overall development of underprivileged children.  This initiative made its impact globally by carrying out more than 32 projects in five different countries, including Egypt, the Philippines, India, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. ‘IISHRAQ’ received the collaboration award at the ‘Global Social Leaders’ competition 2021, where 500 initiatives from 105 different countries participated.

“Through my degree course in architecture, I wish to design structures that stand as a backbone for those who have craved strong foundations for generations. I aim to conduct research that would combine art and technology to develop enhanced mechanisms to cope with global issues.

“I am immensely humbled to be a Lester B Pearson Scholar. I look forward to growing and sharing space with diverse talents and I am incredibly excited to experience the opportunities that come along the way at U of T.”

Karen Gil Sánchez

Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Ciudad de México Campus

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Management and International Business

“¡Hola! My name is Karen Gil, and I am delighted to be a Pearson Scholar for the class of 2026! As a brief description of myself, I love traveling, I take pleasure in reading, I am passionate about dancing to Latin-American rhythms, and I consider myself an inspiring leader.

“I was born and raised in Mexico City, which is home to multicultural gastronomy, culture, art, music, and of course, it was my home for 18 years. As it is one of the biggest cities in the world, and due to its wide diversity of people, I decided to study at a multicultural high school, which allowed me to immerse myself fully in what I do best: leadership.

“In high school, I had the opportunity to join the robotics team in which I had the honor to be nominated to the First Robotics Competition Dean’s List Award in 2020. I was the team’s Public Image and Communications Coordinator that allowed me to lead social projects, social media campaigns with sponsors, and ‘FIRST’ championships, among other activities. In addition, for two years I was able to build my first biotechnological company at my high school’s entrepreneurship incubator. Each semester in high school, I practiced a different passion, from CrossFit to artistic make-up.  I was also a ‘Tec Ambassador’, which is an outstanding student who is chosen to represent their high school nationally and internationally through conferences, projects, and as a social media creator.  Furthermore, I took international commerce, economy, finances and business classes which helped me realize that I find my purpose in inspiring others, and in changing lives through socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneurship.

“Due to my interests, I am pursuing my professional career at U of T in co-operative management and international business in order to build new opportunities for people who are passionate about changing the world through positive and collaborative leadership.”

Mariya Grynevych

Scarborough College
Ukrainian student in the United Kingdom

Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Social Sciences

“Hi! My name is Mariya Grynevych and I am from Lviv, Ukraine. Two years ago, I was awarded with the ‘HMC Projects Scholarship’, which gave me the chance to receive the IB Diploma at Scarborough College in the United Kingdom.  It is an incredible honour for me to be a Lester B. Pearson Scholar, as it presents me with endless opportunities at the University of Toronto.

“I was always captivated by the unknown, so I took part in a range of cultural exchanges. I travelled all across Europe as a volunteer with a delegation from ‘Children For Peace All Over the World’ which mainly consisted of children affected by the war in the east of Ukraine which started in 2014. We fundraised humanitarian aid at a personal audience with the Pope and the Sovereign Order of Malta.  Diversity and cross-cultural communication motivated me to learn foreign languages.  Challenged by the various academic Olympiads, I thrived in a competitive environment, consequently receiving several national awards. To bring change to the community of my hometown, I founded a volunteer organization called ‘Strum’ with the purpose of providing accessible education to the students in the small villages of my country.  In my free time, I enjoy choir, drama production, hiking through the hills of North Yorkshire Moors, cooking, swimming, playing tennis, video making, and peer mentoring as a Senior Prefect.

“Studying economics at the University of Toronto will give me the knowledge that I can use to help rebuild Ukraine, bringing security and prosperity to the regions that were destroyed by missiles. The existing world order since the Second World War has shattered to pieces, so the economists and politicians of the 21st century have a chance to direct changes in society into gains for everyone, to which I want to contribute.

“I look forward to joining the class of 2026 and to bringing diversity to the college community. I am very grateful for the opportunity to study alongside the brightest minds.”

Jaemin Jun

Korea International School, Jeju Campus
South Korea

Faculty of Arts & Science, Woodsworth College, Rotman Commerce 

“Hello! My name is Jaemin Jun and I’m from Jeju Island, South Korea. I graduated from Korea International School Jeju. I am truly honoured to be selected as a Lester B. Pearson Scholar.

“In 2019, I launched a business called ‘Rethred Apparel LLC’ with the friends I met during a two-week visit to California. The company aimed to reduce microplastic pollution by replacing polyester clothes with eco-friendly bamboo-based apparel. Since then, I started to believe that businesses must play an active role in resolving socio-economic problems. I believe education is the next step to bringing my ideas and passions to the next level. Outside the academic classroom, I am an avid musician, golfer, and debater.  I enjoy leading the school choir, rock band, the varsity golf team, MUN club, and the student council. I look forward to obtaining professional finance, management, communication, and critical thinking skills at Rotman Commerce with other ambitious scholars. Yet again, thank you to the University of Toronto for giving me the opportunity to realize my dreams and construct a better future.”

Giorgi Kaikatsishvili

Glacier Peak High School
Georgian student in Washington, U.S.A.

University of Toronto Mississauga, Social Sciences

‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’

“This phrase, coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his first inaugural speech, would become a powerful driving force in the exploration of my affection for international affairs. My interest sparked after my family and I survived a bombing by Russian fighter jets in the Russo-Georgian war of 2008. Since this experience and subsequent events, international affairs and politics have piqued my interest the most. By engaging in different debate tournaments, model UN conferences, and programs such as ‘FLEX’, my curiosity in exploring the world of international affairs has only grown.

“Hi, I am Gio, a Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) student in the U.S., originally hailing from Georgia. Yup, you read it right. I am from Georgia – the country in eastern Europe, not a U.S. state!

“Aside from academics, I take pleasure in cooking and tasting dishes from varying cuisines, with a special focus on Sicilian. I am also very fond of exploring the vast boundaries of space. Articles on string theory, black matter, and white holes never fail to garner my attention.

“I am immensely grateful to the University of Toronto and the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship for making it possible to expand the scope of my knowledge and experience. At one of the most diverse, all-encompassing international communities that the University of Toronto represents, I hope to build on my insight and expertise as to how our world functions, what its imperfections are, and how to do better as humans to solve those imperfections for a brighter world.”

Hasleen Kaur

Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Business Administration 

Share your privileges wherever you can

“Along with a smiling face and confidence, what I always carry with myself is this teaching of my father.

“Vaheguru ji ka khalsa vaheguru ji ki fateh–I am Hasleen Kaur, daughter of a farmer from Punjab and one of the youngest Hindi language authors in India.

“My hobbies are playing the harmonium and tabla. Singing hymns, I feel empowered and determined to follow the Sikh motto of working for ‘sarbat da bhala’ (wellbeing of all).

“In the past, I have spent my time teaching primary school students from marginalized communities, participated in multiple public speaking events to raise my voice against social evils prevailing in my society, and founded a youth-club to preserve the Gurumukhi script and the Punjabi language. I am also a Sikh history teacher at the local gurudwara and am constantly exploring the business and accounting world through an international accounting internship.

“I derive a lot of inspiration from my father’s life story and hence have always found ways to give back to society. Through my business undergraduate degree at U of T, I aim to improve agricultural marketing in India to benefit the farmers and other stakeholders through my innovative business ideas and work towards ending global hunger.

“I am highly honoured and exhilarated to be a part of the Lester B Pearson Scholars community and am ready to take in its benefits and responsibilities with equal enthusiasm.”

Raon Kim

Raffles Christian School, Pondok Indah Campus
South Korean student in Indonesia

Faculty of Arts & Science, New College, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

“Hi! My name is Raon and I’m Korean. Living in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Korea, I’ve always loved to learn and experience new things: a country’s food, language, nature, education, and much more! The experience of living in various countries allowed me to develop curiosity and the courage to adapt to new environments quickly, which then allowed me to treat the world with an open mind.  I aspire to use my knowledge to solve the mysteries of science and mathematics for the benefit of communities around the world, especially in developing countries, and to build a place where people are not disadvantaged due to an absence of opportunities. I’m very excited to explore the new world at the University of Toronto as a Pearson Scholar!”

Aiden Elias Kong

Miami Palmetto Senior High School
Florida, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Life Sciences

“Hi everyone! My name is Aiden and I am honored to join the 2022 Pearson Scholars. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, an incredibly diverse city with strong Hispanic and Caribbean influences. Hearing other perspectives has shaped my worldview, so I’m excited to listen to the interesting stories that make up U of T’s student body.

“Throughout high school, I immersed myself in science and math competitions, student tutoring, and badminton. I’ve also been involved in Scouts BSA for six years, becoming the Senior Patrol Leader of my troop and reaching the rank of Eagle Scout.

“I have always been interested in STEM, from mixing concoctions in a science kit to building bridges out of basswood. In high school, I became especially interested in biology and chemistry, leading me to apply to U of T for studies in life sciences. In the future, I wish to combine my interests in STEM and service to conduct research on Alzheimer’s disease.

“I am excited to join the University of Toronto community and make the most of the endless opportunities that this school has to offer.”

Andre Lupembe

United World College East Africa, Moshi Campus

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op International Development Studies 

“Hello! My name is Andre Lupembe, I was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I attended boarding school in Kenya at the Aga Khan Academy and then joined the UWC movement thereafter.

“My proudest achievement has been initiating and leading the inaugural TEDx event at UWC East Africa in September 2021 which brought the entire community together for one night to engage in meaningful discourse and be exposed to unfamiliar topics of discussion. I worked with the school, fellow students, and the Moshi community to plan, finance, and execute the event. It is my hope that students and members of the Moshi community will continue to have a sustainable platform to articulate their ideas and experiences across many disciplines. Furthermore, I have been involved in East Africa Model United Nations since the seventh grade where we debate current affairs, draft resolutions, and practice public speaking and diplomacy. I was grateful to be named the Best Speaker and Best Delegate at the annual conferences.

“Aside from my extra-curricular endeavors, I am also passionate about health and fitness. I have been a part of the senior basketball team for 5 years and was honored to serve as the co-captain in the last 18 months. Moreover, I also play badminton, exercise in the gym, and practice yoga. One of the most challenging things I have done was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru. Nonetheless, this experience was breathtaking to say the least. I will never forget the fact that while everyone was happy and taking pictures, I fell asleep on the summit! In my free time, I enjoy playing chess, binge-watching TV shows and movies, and reading articles that range from topics like Pan-Africanism and the plight of post-colonial Africa to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its future phases.

“All of this, I believe, sets the foundation for my passion in igniting change and revolutionizing the way in which the world works, one step at a time. The first step being receiving a world class education at U of T as a Pearson Scholar — to which I am eternally grateful and honored.”

Muhammad Masood

Future World School, DHA Lahore

University of Toronto Mississauga, Commerce

“Hello everyone! I am Muhammad Masood from Lahore, Pakistan. Studying at the University of Toronto has been my dream for years and I am extremely humbled and honored to have received the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship.

“Taking up commerce at Ordinary and Advanced level, and helping out my father in his side business by recording the entries of sales and purchases, I developed a deep interest in the field of accounting & finance and that is what I intend to major in. Helping the underprivileged and playing my part in the betterment of society is an integral part of my life. I have been active in community service for the past 2 years, have organized various projects, and am currently serving as the General Manager of the Accounts department of ‘OED Pakistan’. Apart from this, I am passionate about chess, cricket, theater, and photography. You can discuss politics, startup opportunities, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs with me, but don’t judge me by the fact that I won’t be tired even after several hours of debate.

“I can’t wait to begin a new chapter of my life this fall and meet people from around the world to engage in healthy debates and listen to their experiences. I look forward to making everyone’s time worthwhile at the university and taking initiatives that would bring a positive change to the community.”

Anuka Matei

International School of Bucharest

Faculty of Arts & Science, New College, Life Sciences

“Hi! My name is Ana and I’m a Romanian student finishing my IB studies at the International School of Bucharest. I am extremely grateful and humbled to be one of the recipients of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship and am committed to living up to the values that it upholds.

“Ever since enrolling in an international school in second grade, my academic path towards psychology and towards the person I am today has been moulded by my experiences growing up surrounded by people from dozens of cultures. It could therefore be this instinctual practice of translating myself, of wanting to go beyond the awareness of my own cultural prototypes or beyond my personal interpretation of others’ values and beliefs, which has led me to psychology. I deeply believe we have the ability to tackle any issue we face as humanity through a holistic understanding of mind and behaviour, and am eager to work towards bringing my contribution.

“The University of Toronto answers my aim of applying myself to the study of the human experience in a unique way, allowing me to combine my interests for psychology, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, neuroscience, and biology, all while exercising my learning in a work environment. Being a citizen of the world at heart, there could be no better place for me to find the meaning I am looking for in my studies than through this amazing opportunity at U of T, among exceptional people who celebrate diversity in the most multicultural city in the world.”

Lizramona Lugano Mwakitwange

Naisula School – Kajiado
Tanzanian student in Kenya

Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Life Sciences

“Hi! I’m Lizramona, a ‘STEMinist’ and self-proclaimed poet. At only 12 years old, I decided that my life’s pursuits would be geared toward empowering women across all socioeconomic and cultural spheres.

“By organizing a school exhibition highlighting the challenges and triumphs of women across the world, I quickly recognized that a major obstacle to women’s equal contribution toward a more sustainable future remains to be inadequate healthcare services. From then onwards, I decided that my activism would be channeled through scientific endeavors. It is through platforms including the New York Academy of Sciences and ‘Girls in Science 4 SDGs’, that I was able to build the leadership and scientific skills which will help me improve access to safe and reliable healthcare for women across the world, so they can be active contributors toward the global community’s sustainability, and not just benefactors.

“I am beyond honored to be able to pursue an undergraduate education at the University of Toronto as a Lester B. Pearson Scholar. This prestigious scholarship provides me with the unparalleled opportunities to engage in exceptional biomedical research and connect with an incredible community who are ready, just as I, to work toward peace and equality. This scholarship will also allow me to show the millions of Tanzanian girls that their dreams are attainable and valid, so long as they have a passion to see their dreams realized and to see the world thrive.”

Dayoung Nam

International Community School, Bangkok
South Korean student in Thailand 

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Engineering Science

“Hello! My name is Dayoung Nam, and I am a Korean student living and studying in Bangkok, Thailand. I spent a third of my life in Korea, a third in a small town in Indonesia, and the other third in the beautiful city of Bangkok, Thailand.

“I am a social person who is filled with hobbies and interests. I love playing sports and staying active, traveling to beautiful places with people I love, taking photos, or playing a few songs on my guitar when I am stressed-out.

“Living abroad in countries with wide wealth gaps, the painfully unequal opportunities in our society struck me from a young age. Pursuing diverse classes of broad interests as a teen learner, I realized that interdisciplinary approaches are needed to make a visible impact in our society. Since then, the driving force of my academic pursuits has been the desire to use science and technology to create efficient working solutions for a more equal world.

“I solemnly believe that in order to help other people, I should first be an individual who can stretch-out a reliable hand to hold. My efforts have provided me an opportunity to lead both of my high school’s student governments simultaneously in my senior year. I took this opportunity to make changes outside the borders of my school, such as organizing an unprecedented whole-school service project, and running a year-long vocation training project for the pandemic-impacted jobless community. In my sophomore year of high school, I created the ‘Molecular Science Club’. By senior year, I expanded the small club to arrange a national chemistry competition which provided over 100 individuals from all over the country an opportunity to compete fairly, regardless of their financial or social status. The impact of my experiences has led me to believe that sometimes it is only a small spark that is needed to start the fire.

“Last but not least, I am beyond honored and grateful to receive the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship. My joy in surrounding myself with motivated, intellectually stimulating individuals is met by my passionate desire to make the best out of this opportunity: I would love to become a part of University of Toronto and continue giving back to our society!”

Omina Nematova

Arizona College Preparatory High School
Arizona, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Innis College, Life Sciences

“Hello! My name is Omina Nematova, and I am originally from Uzbekistan but currently finishing high school in the United States. I am a member of Student Government, founder and president of the ‘Future Medical Professionals Club’, and am a thrower on the Varsity Track and Field team.

“Outside of school, I do academic research at Arizona State University and participate in science fairs. This year, I placed first at my city science fair and third at the state science fair.

“I am incredibly grateful and honored to be a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson scholarship. I plan to combine my biology and computer science interests by pursuing computational biology. I hope to use my education to aid in eliminating the ethnic and racial disparities within healthcare. I am excited to continue my academic journey at the University of Toronto and explore the many opportunities a large and diverse city like Toronto has to offer.”

Sarah Oberto Monasterios 

Sant’Anna International School
Venezuelan student in Brazil 

Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Rotman Commerce

“Hello! My name is Sarah Oberto and I am a Venezuelan immigrant currently living in Brazil. I am beyond thrilled and humbled to be a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship this year along with such a well-versed group of students.

“Using my voice and my leadership skills to have an impact in my community has been a passion I have developed over the past several years. I believe this interest came from growing up in Venezuela, a country with leaders of questionable morality that drove millions of people out of their homes. I am the founder and current President of the first DECA chapter in all of South America and this past year I was also elected Student Council and MUN President at my school as well as NHS Vice President. A few years ago, I founded the Astronomy Club at my school and worked with my peers to prepare for the Brazilian Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad, becoming a silver (2020) and gold medalist (2021) in the following editions. Last year I received two full scholarships for programs that foster the growth of exceptional leaders across Latin America. Aside from my academic life, I enjoy playing sports, especially soccer and volleyball, as well as attempting to cook with my friends, reading all sorts of books, cuddling with my dog, and going on adventures with my family.

“At U of T, I hope to continue finding new opportunities to cultivate my passion and to continue expanding my cultural awareness, which will be facilitated by the university’s vibrant community of students from diverse backgrounds. I am extremely excited and honored to have the opportunity of pursuing my academic objectives while being part of the incredible community of Pearson Scholars.”

Boran Ocak

Bahçeşehir High School for Science and Technology

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Industrial Engineering 

“Hello! My name is Boran. I was born and raised in a small town in the north of Türkiye called Giresun which is known for energetic people, and I am no exception. With my never-ending energy, I always strive to be the reason for someone’s smile with my projects or unique sense of humor. I took my energy and projects to the next level when I moved to Istanbul to enroll at Bahcesehir High School For Science and Technology.

“Throughout high school, I had the chance to contribute to millions of people’s lives, especially those in underprivileged areas, through technology and engineering.  My main activities were: being a part of a robotics team that internalized the motto ‘What does technology cater for unless it contributes to lives?’ for 4 years; co-founding the biggest entrepreneurship club in our school; becoming the lead researcher with a patented project on micro plastic filtration systems that won national and international awards; and becoming the leader of the first group of students who wrote and had two curricula legislated by the Turkish Ministry of Education, reaching more than 5.6 million middle-school students and accrediting these curricula into Next Generation Science Standards.

“I am beyond thrilled to become a part of this community and look forward to shining in my own way to be the starlight that shone brighter than the darkest night.”

Nehemiah Amedu Odagboyi

Calvary Arrows College

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Physical & Environmental Sciences 

“I am Nehemiah Amedu Odagboyi, born and raised in Nigeria and an alumnus of Calvary Arrows College, Gboko, Nigeria. I love to meet and interact with people and have served my school in various capacities, including being the president of the ‘JETS’ (Junior Engineers Technicians and Scientists). I attribute my many feats in life to God’s guidance and the wonderful people he brought my way. I can also say I owe much to the society that made me and to Africa at large. To whom much is given, much is expected. The desire to give back to society spurred my return to my alma mater and my joining a STEMi team, where I tutored students in the physical sciences and programming.

“Biochemistry at the prestigious University of Toronto, aided by the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, is another great privilege coming my way. I hope to make the most of it. I see myself as being trained among the best, so I can help improve the health standards in Africa and ameliorate the myriad of life-threatening problems on the global scene through intensive research. You will have a formidable team with Nehhy in your midfield on the soccer pitch and a good melody with him either on the piano or guitar in the orchestra. I also enjoy playing tennis a lot. These are the other sides of me beyond the classroom.

“I am excited to write the next chapter of my story at the University of Toronto and extremely grateful to the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship program for this great opportunity.”

Verona Awino Odhiambo

Association International School
Kenyan student in Ghana

Faculty of Arts & Science, New College, Life Sciences

“Hello! My name is Verona Odhiambo from Kenya and I am beyond humbled and honored to be named a Lester B Pearson Scholar.

“As an IB student, I have grown to develop academic interests in various fields ranging from the visual arts and journalism to chemical and biological sciences. I also play a range of sports from soccer to hockey. Additionally, living in Mombasa, Accra, and Mumbai, and experiencing both Tanzania and Uganda, have enabled me to gain an interest in exploring different cultures and traditions–something I plan to do more of in Toronto given its multiculturalism.

“At the University of Toronto, I plan on pursuing the chemical sciences with the intention of specializing in pharmaceutical chemistry. All with the hopes of utilizing the amazing research facilities and resources at U of T to eventually contribute positively to the pharmaceutical research field.

“I am extremely excited for this journey and hope that the incredible opportunities provided to me by the University of Toronto will not only be of benefit to me but to my community as well.”

Kamsiyochi Davy Onyekere

Trinity College School
Nigerian student in Ontario, Canada

University of Toronto Mississauga, Life Sciences 

‘I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I am changing the things that I cannot accept.’

“These words, spoken by the late civil rights activist and leader Angela Davis, describe the life I have led and hope to continue to lead.

“As one of the cofounders and leader of the ‘Black Student Alliance’ in my school, the word ‘change’ has come to mean something different to me than it meant years ago. While there is the literal definition of ‘change’ which is to make something different, I have always mentally reserved that job for people who I deemed to be older, wiser, smarter. It was not until I came to Trinity College School, that I realized that I had the power to change the things that I could not accept. This newfound meaning of the word ‘change’ gave me courage.

“Besides my love for social activism, I enjoy everything that can be considered a science, from political science and social science to biology and chemistry.  I will be studying life sciences at the University of Toronto Mississauga. I hope to one day become a psychiatrist. Mental health and illnesses remain heavily stigmatized in many ethnic communities and I believe that the first step in de-stigmatization is representation.

“I want to thank my Trinity College School community for their immense support and my family and friends for their unwavering love. I am extremely grateful and honored to be selected as a Lester B Pearson Scholarship recipient.”

Lara Devotto Pimenta

EAC-Escola Americana de Campinas 

Faculty of Arts & Science, University of College, Social Sciences 

“Hello! My name is Lara and I’m currently an IB student in Campinas, Brazil. Having had the opportunity to live in five different countries, my multicultural upbringing has reaffirmed my earnest desire to devote my professional future to conflict resolution and peace.

“At the age of 11, I joined ‘Children’s International Summer Village’ (CISV), a global peace education organization. I have had the privilege of participating in four international CISV programs as a delegate of Brazil. This has enriched my perspective of the world and shown me firsthand the value of cultivating friendships and understanding people of different backgrounds. My academic passion for political science and history has also driven me to participate in Model United Nations. There I started my journey as an enthusiastic delegate and progressed to win awards and become a member of the 2022 Brazil Leadership Team as head chair of the Historical Security Council. Alongside my academic and extracurricular interests that have constantly challenged me to think globally, I have continued to act locally within my reach. This has prompted me to volunteer for and devise a number of community service projects. These have varied from partnering with a local NGO to establish a library for the children it assists, to fundraising to provide food parcels for low-income families, as well as other initiatives aimed at helping the homeless population of my local city and vulnerable youth athletes.

“I am honored and extremely grateful to the University of Toronto for trusting me with this amazing opportunity. Moreover, I am thrilled by the prospect of joining this diverse and innovative community!”

Mahmoud Omary Rashid

The Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Materials Engineering 

“Habari zenu! (Swahili for ‘Greetings!’)

“My name is Mahmoud and I come from Tanzania. Determined, optimistic, and caring are just a few words that describe my personality. As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘In order to have a global impact, one must first be the change and have an impact on oneself.’ I live by this rule and it has profoundly affected the person I am today in a positive way. As president of my school’s student council, I became a voice for the students and assisted them in overcoming challenges. Participating in multiple Model United Nations (MUN) conferences, I became a delegate and collaborated to find appropriate solutions to major problems within a specific country. Furthermore, this life-changing experience has made me more globally conscious, and most importantly, I have realized that our world requires immediate attention in a variety of sectors, particularly those related to the environment. I am extremely motivated to contribute to the development of effective strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and, as a result, global warming. This is why I intend to pursue a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Toronto.

“Singing, bodybuilding, and sports, particularly basketball, are all hobbies of mine. I competed in the 2018 Tanzanian Jr. NBA championship and captained the under 16 team to victory. One of my proudest achievements is the establishment of ‘Rediscover Euphoria’, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness of and assisting in the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). ‘Rediscover Euphoria’ was inspired by my participation in multiple Model United Nations (MUN) conferences during high school.  In our society, we have impacted over 500 orphans and 600 students.

“I am honored and grateful to have been awarded the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship and to be a member of the Pearson Scholars community at the University of Toronto. I want to leave this world a better place than I found it, and I am confident that the University of Toronto will guide and equip me with all of the tools I need to achieve my goal. I’m thrilled to be a member of the University of Toronto’s Class of 2026!”

Sandra Risco Brioso

Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito
Peruvian student in Ecuador 

University of Toronto Mississauga, Life Sciences

“Hi! My name is Sandra and I couldn’t be more honored to join the community of Pearson Scholars this year. I am from Lima, Peru, but moved to Ecuador when I was two years old. These are the two countries I call home, and I look forward to adding Canada to the list soon!

“I’ve always had a deep love for learning, and I am a very curious individual. I never leave a question unanswered or am satisfied with knowing that something “is what it is”. I always look for more and truly like to get to the root of the problem or explanation. I’ve spent countless hours after classes discussing with my teachers topics ranging from the symbolism behind Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby ” to the anatomy of a pea flower. No matter what the topic is or how unimportant it may be for my daily life and future plans, I always want to know more. Science, however, was a subject I could not get enough of, and I look forward to diving in deeper and using it to make my impact on the world.

“One of the driving forces in my life is helping others, and it gives me the greatest joy. This past year I completed one of my favorite projects to date: I had the honor of participating in the construction of three houses and the painting of several schools in Mulalillo, a marginal community in Ecuador. Seeing the smiles and joy of the people we helped gave me the certainty that finding ways to keep that light alive and growing was what I wanted to do with my life. I have had the opportunity to positively impact my country these past few years, and now, the Lester B. Pearson scholarship is allowing me to dream on a global scale, and I couldn’t be more excited!”

Mehakpreet Kaur Saggu

GHG Khalsa Collegiate Public Senior Secondary School

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Life Sciences

“Greetings! I am Mehakpreet Kaur Saggu from Raikot, Punjab. Besides cherishing colossal cups of my mother’s signature tea, I adore adding new literary conquests to my stack of books. This sweet spot is where I discovered my love for the delicate intricacies of the mammalian brain. Through the beautiful blend of neuroscience, literature, and philosophy, I plan to plunge into the emotional learning circuits of the mammalian brain, consequently moving closer to my long-term pursuit of not only developing cost-effective and scalable interventions for neuropsychiatric disorders but also discovering how first-hand emotional experiences arise.

“I feel extremely ecstatic, gleefully glad, and highly humbled to be the recipient of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship this year. I am forever grateful for the unwavering support of my father, mother, brother, relatives, and school teachers who have played an incredibly instrumental role in shaping the individual I am. I look forward to meeting new people, perspectives, passions, and possibilities. Above it all, I can’t wait to have the opportunity to call the lovely University of Toronto my home!”

Eleonora Scognamiglio

United World College – UWC USA
Italian student in New Mexico, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Computer Science

“Hi! My name is Eleonora Scognamiglio. I was born and raised in Sardinia, an Italian island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. During the past two years, I studied at UWC-USA, in New Mexico. There, my identity was enriched by the friendships I built with students from all over the world and where I could grow and learn new values in an international environment. Now, I am looking forward to joining the international community at the University of Toronto as a member of the class of 2026!

“I am intrigued by the world of computer science, particularly by artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction. The brain-teasers and puzzles of my childhood translated into my love for mathematics and creative problem-solving. Other than being passionate about science, I am interested in its accessibility, that’s why I co-founded ‘Lista’, a student organization at my school that aims to bridge the gender gap in STEM. In my free time, I love reading, playing soccer, and connecting with nature through recreational activities, such as rock climbing and backpacking.

“I am immensely grateful, honored, and excited to join the community of Pearson Scholars at the University of Toronto. I can’t wait to start this new adventure!”

Paramvir Singh

St. Theresa’s Convent School, Karnal

University of Toronto Mississauga, Management 

“Hello! My name is Paramvir Singh, and I am a student from India with a deep interest in business studies, economics, and unfolding the complications that lie in the subject of management.

“Outside the classroom, I love to play soccer, socialize, read novels, and engage in community service. My most recent and highest achievement is organizing a world record for the longest webinar, part of my campaign against drug and child abuse. Through the vast opportunities available at the University of Toronto, I aim to continue exploring my interests while trying to create a positive impact on society.

“I’m highly honoured to be a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, and I look forward to starting my journey at the University of Toronto.”

Karolina Slominska

Liceum Ogólnokształcące nr V

Faculty of Arts & Science, New College, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

“My name is Karolina and I am from a small town in Poland. I am an avid moviegoer and a food lover. I am interested in many areas of science, but I intend to study chemistry at the University of Toronto. It will allow me to do my research in later years, and my findings could hopefully impact the plastics industry or polymers in biomedicine.

“The world of science has always sparked my interest, and that is why I participated in a ‘STEMinist Sisterhood’ project, which aimed to combat the stereotypes about women in STEM areas, advocate for girls in science, and encourage them to pursue careers in those fields. Due to the conducted interviews with women working in various areas of science and highly-educated female professors, our project has been valued and appreciated by many associations and newspapers, and it has been included in the list of 100 Polish Women of the Year 2021 according to ‘Forbes Women’.  Moreover, the discussions with women working where I dream of working in the future roused me to become a chemist and seek my science profession. I also participated in other social initiatives such as ‘Not to waste is in good taste’, aiming to reduce water overuse and minimize waste, and in ‘Everybody different, everybody equal’ where I publicized discrimination issues in Poland and realizable ways to reduce and combat them. 

“The community of Pearson Scholars is comprised of splendid and unique characters who are eager about enhancing the world for it to be more equal and sustainable. I will be dedicated to honorably representing the Pearson Scholarship program and I will doubtlessly continue my devotion to science and the continuous endeavor to raise awareness about global issues.”

Cynthia Umuringa

Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology

University of Toronto Mississauga, Psychology 

“Lotus flowers bloom from the mud but still manage to keep their beauty and attractive smell that lures insects.  Just like lotus flowers, my ultimate goal is to use my challenges to flourish.

“Hi there! My name is Cynthia Umuringa and I’m from Rwanda, a country of a thousand hills.

“Growing up I have been told of the devastating history that my country had been through, the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. The psychological toll of the genocide against the Tutsi still encumbers Rwanda. Though an irreversible situation, it can be improved, and I want to be part of that evolution. With costly psychiatry services and a shortage of psychiatrists, I saw an opening to offer my assistance. I believe the University of Toronto’s challenging yet engaging environment will provide me with the ideal home in which to nurture my dreams. I can’t wait to see my future aspirations turn into reality all thanks to the Lester B Pearson Scholarship. I’m incredibly grateful to have received it.”

Alankrit Verma

Satya Mohan Senior Secondary School

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Computer Science

Namaste, World!  I am Alankrit Verma, a native of the small Himalayan town of Kullu, India.

“Computers have always been close to my heart, from the time I used to just stare at them at age 3 to now when I actually work on them the whole day long. Computer Science is a field that has long fascinated me, and I now want to explore it further at the University of Toronto. In my free time, I use my computer skills to create purpose-driven projects. One of my recent creations was a web-based application called ‘Covido-Saviour’ at the ‘HackOn’ hackathon, which connected people in need, based on their location during the COVID-19 pandemic. My second passion in life is mathematics. Along with teaching mathematics to students in a local orphanage, I was one of the global rankers of the ‘CEMC Euclid Mathematics Contest’ and the ‘Canadian Senior Mathematics Contest’. I have also been a leader throughout my school life where my most notable work was improving and rebuilding the entire school website from scratch. I also love playing e-sports and have won various laurels.

“Being from a relatively isolated community, I understand that even to this day, it can be difficult to fully connect with people globally. Thus, my main aim is to better connect people by researching and implementing emerging technologies, including the metaverse, extended reality, and AI, from even the most remote parts of the world, keeping in mind their cost-effectiveness.

“I am honoured to be chosen as a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, and I am extremely grateful to the University of Toronto for considering me a worthy recipient. I am determined to make the most of this opportunity and create a positive change in the world.”

Muhammad Qasim Virk

Kaizen High School

University of Toronto Mississauga, Humanities

“Hi, I’m Qasim! I’m both proud and honoured to be selected for the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship this year.

“I’m from Lahore, Pakistan, a city and country that have a splendid amount of culture and history packed into them. Oh, and the food definitely turns everyone there into a foodie, thus my extended love for food that transcends the barriers of specific cuisines.

“I’ve personally had a great interest in policy making and its workings in the social sphere, having worked closely with the Attorney General’s office to enact policy implementation and collaborated with private firms to write academic papers on the legal loopholes within child protection policies in South Asian regions.  I’ve also been an advocate of accessible and quality education. Recognizing it as the catalyst for greater change, I’ve worked in underprivileged regions to help develop holistic curriculums that focus on social sciences while setting up and promoting vocational training centers for the economic elevation of these areas.

“As an avid ‘MUNner’, I’ve come to prize the global perspective; I’m excited for the opportunity to learn extensively through discourse and use the diversity of both the experiences and the people at the University of Toronto to broaden my academic and personal horizons.“

Ginnie Ai Lee Wee

Hwa Chong Institution 

University of Toronto Mississauga, Psychology 

“Hi! My name is Ginnie and I am from Singapore. As an aspiring clinical psychologist, learning about our mind and behavior absolutely fascinates me. While the brain solves problems, the brain itself has many unsolved mysteries that fuel my desire to research, understand, and solve.

“This past year, I was a part of Hong Kong University’s Junior Neuroscience Academy, where I learned about topics like brain anatomy and mental conditions. I was also a mentee in the ‘1000 Girls, 1000 Futures Program’ with the New York Academy of Sciences, where I was matched with women in STEM globally who mentored me on skills like communication and ethics in STEM. After higher education, I hope to use my knowledge in areas of research and psychological support. Beyond mental health, I am also passionate about advocating for gender equality and encouraging girls to pursue their interests in STEM. As founder and president of ‘Girl Up Singapore’, I interviewed over 70 women in STEM from all around the world, to share their experiences and advice. I also started ‘Project Kidzread’, where I wrote and illustrated a series of 10 e-books for children in hospitals during the pandemic.

“My goals at U of T are to grow as a leader and to contribute to an inclusive, accepting, and supportive community. I am honored to be a Lester B. Pearson International Scholar and grateful to everyone who has supported me. I can’t wait to be a part of U of T’s diverse intellectual community!”