Meet the 2023 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 2023 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 

Sayed Ahmad Jilani Ameer Meea

Royal College Port Louis

Faculty of Arts and Science, Innis College, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

“Hi! My name is Jilani, and I hail from the beautiful island of Mauritius, nestled in the Indian Ocean. Growing up on this incredibly diverse yet equally tiny island has instilled in me a deep appreciation for different cultures and ways of life.

“I have an overwhelming passion for mathematical and physical sciences, and absolutely love sharing my knowledge and learning from others through intense discussions. Teaching has become a natural extension of this passion, and I have been fortunate enough to do so both voluntarily and professionally for the past five years. During this time, I have been involved in peer tutoring and various organizations, and I even set up my own tutoring program in mathematics, which was both a stressful and rewarding experience.

“My high school experience at Royal College Port Louis was instrumental in shaping me into the individual I am today. Since 2019, I have served as a member of the student government body, holding executive positions and leading the school’s math and science club as its president. Additionally, I have received numerous academic awards at the school, national, and international level, primarily for my performance in math and the natural sciences.

“I am deeply honored and immensely grateful for the unparalleled opportunity to study at the world-class institution that is the University of Toronto. As a 2023 Pearson Scholar, I am determined to make the best use of the resources provided to me to better myself and contribute to the global community.”

Eeman Amir

Beaconhouse College Program Margalla Campus

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Track One Engineering

“My name is Eeman and I am from Pakistan. I am honored to have the chance to pursue Engineering at the University of Toronto, one of the most prestigious universities across the globe.

“I describe myself as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and have witnessed the challenges faced by people with disabilities firsthand, especially in under-developed nations like mine where resources are scarce and technology is growing at a far slower pace than that in developed countries. This is what spurred my interest in the field of technology to assist people with disabilities in daily living challenges by utilizing technological advancements.

“As my first project, I attempted to build a desktop-based app that converts text to sign language. Through my research, I examined the far-reaching repercussions of stagnated technologies, including the negative impact on the economy, and came to understand the issue of discrimination against people with disabilities from several perspectives. With my perseverance and passion for this issue, I am committed to making the world more inclusive for people with special needs.

“On a lighter note, my experience as Head Girl, where I liaised between a community of 1100+ students and the campus administration, has helped me strengthen my leadership potential. As someone who loves to engage in sports, is an active member of the community, and possesses a multifaceted personality that puts others at ease, I am eager to bring my energy and enthusiasm to the U of T community!

“I am eternally grateful to the University of Toronto for allowing me to pursue my dreams and for awarding me the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship. I do not take this privilege for granted and will do my best through my academic and co-curricular endeavors to surpass the expectations affiliated with being a Pearson scholar.”

Kushi Anand

Dubai International Academy Al Barsha
Indian student in the United Arab Emirates

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

“Hey everyone! My name is Kushi, and I am beyond thrilled to join the pioneering and unparalleled U of T community!

“I was born and raised in Dubai, home to an ever-expanding number of cultures, cuisines and year-round sunshine. Encouraged by the mosaic of diversity around me, I decided to study at an IB school which helped me realize the importance of being a global citizen and contributing to the community around me. I started this journey by engaging in leadership positions, such as becoming the deputy head girl at school to try and implement changes for students that would’ve helped me when I was younger.

“Outside of school, I love theatre and have obtained the grade 6 qualification in the Trinity Acting Solo examinations. I have worked at spring and winter acting camps for children aged 5-11 to further spread this love for acting. In my free time, you can catch me binge-watching sitcoms or listening to Taylor Swift.

“I want to pursue a career in architecture to constantly challenge myself and solve important real-world problems while witnessing the positive impact that my work will have on the community around me. Being a global citizen at heart, there is no better location than U of T to facilitate widening my cultural awareness and find new opportunities to advance my goals, all while having the honor of receiving this award.”

Elias Alexander Gabriel Barsa

Munich International School

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Engineering Science

“Hi and hallo to everyone! My name is Elias, and it is a great honour for me to join the community of Pearson Scholars in 2023.

“I come from German and Syrian roots and was educated at IB schools in both the Middle East and Europe. I am currently attending Munich International School in Bavaria. These nurturing transnational communities and experiences made me the person I am today and brought my interest for natural sciences in a socio-political perspective relating social justice and human security to sustainable engineering. I want to ensure that technological innovations benefit communities regardless of class, identity and nation. I took the first step towards this goal by co-founding and developing the ‘Photon’ app to expand the insufficient public charging network by making private charging ports accessible to everyone. The Photon digital platform strengthens the ‘EV community’ under the motto: Democratizing Sustainable Mobility.

“I want to contribute to an academic community where cooperation in the field of engineering is carried out on eye-level and beyond the limits of nationalities or languages to actively heal harm and sustain social justice. Studying Engineering Science at U of T under the umbrella of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship program is an amazing starting point for me. I am really looking forward to innovating together.”

Kalash Pankaj Bhaiya

L. H. Patil English Medium School, Jalgaon

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Computer Engineering

“As two bundles of energy in the universe, we have just connected through the conventional words and meanings; cognition and intelligence. Transfer of information through such connections has fascinated me since childhood.

“In my excited state, I introduce myself as Kalash, hailing from Jalgaon, a small town in India. With a scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Singapore, I spent a year studying in Singapore, where I developed an interest in exploring mathematical patterns in relations between society and people. Currently, I am focused on exploring intelligence within humans and society, and I hope to apply this knowledge and enthusiasm to use natural and/or artificial intelligence for the betterment of humanity through the University of Toronto’s world-leading Computer Engineering program.

“Together with a team of amazing volunteers, I work with our nonprofit ‘Fun Learning Youth’ to reduce dropout rates among underprivileged middle-school students in India. I have explored various fields of study, including rationality at Oxford, marketing through an international fellowship, and art by playing Indian classical music on a guitar, all in the pursuit of knowledge and curiosity to positively impact the world. With the Pearson Scholarship at the University of Toronto, I look forward to continuing this quest for exploration.

“The scholarship provides me with an excellent peer community, seniors, and alumni whom I admire. It also eliminates financial restrictions and allows me to focus on my work. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and hope to make the most of it by using my skills to positively impact society.”

Zainab Bilal

Lahore Grammar School International

Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Kinesiology

“Hello there! My name is Zainab Bilal, and I am currently pursuing the IB Diploma at Lahore Grammar School International. As a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and passionate individual, I have actively contributed to my school’s student council, holding multiple leadership positions such as Head Girl and Community Representative.

“Giving back to my community has been a lifelong priority for me. Since middle school, I have been involved in various volunteer projects such as organizing food and clothing drives, bake sales, and volunteering at animal shelters. However, one of the most fulfilling projects I have worked on was raising Menstrual Awareness in my paternal village. It was disheartening to witness how a lack of education and resources was affecting women’s health and lives. To tackle this issue, we distributed sanitary kits and conducted hygiene seminars, breaking the stigma surrounding menstruation.

“My friends often joke about my love for biology, but it is a passion that I take very seriously. I am particularly drawn to the fields of neuropsychology, physiology, and orthopedics. By combining my enthusiasm for these areas of study with my desire to give back to the community, I plan to pursue a career in medical and health sciences. My ultimate goal is to become a healthcare worker.

“I am humbled to receive the Pearson Award and am thrilled about the opportunities this recognition will bring. I look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on my community and beyond.”

Enkhjin Byambaa

Shine Mongol High School

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Business Administration

Sain baina uu! (‘Hello’ in Mongolian). My name is Enkhjin, born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. As an individual from a nomadic ethnic background, I am honored and privileged to be a part of this exceptional community.

“While volunteering to help those in need in my country, I have come to realize one thing that made me deeply concerned – our future. It’s truly painful that though only three million of us call the vast, beautiful country of Mongolia our home, most live in poverty, and their children are academically malnourished. The direct correlation between poverty and education is as clear as day. A noble goal in my life would be to help those who are also growing to be the future of Mongolia. Therefore, I am excited to pursue a management program with CO-OP at the University of Toronto Scarborough to become a leader who can positively inspire those who will follow my footsteps.

“Being a Student Council president representing 400 students and a member of the Eco and Interact Club of Shine Mongol has given me a chance to spread awareness and listen to the voices of over 1000 students regarding current issues–poverty and the environment. These activities are the reason I persevere during difficult times, and encourage myself to surpass yesterday’s Enkhjin through hard work and determination.

“Of course, as a teenager, I have my fair share of hobbies: playing volleyball, singing, and playing the piano. Through these hobbies, I gained valuable virtues that helped me build my identity and goals. I am also thrilled to continue my hobbies at U of T.

“I want to thank the University of Toronto for offering me this marvelous opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what my journey here has in store for me.

Ali Emanuel Castillo Armijos

Unidad Educativa Integral Del Pacífico

Faculty of Arts and Science, Victoria College, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

“Greetings! My name is Alí Castillo and I am an Ecuadorian student from a small city called Machala. I consider myself a very curious person with diverse interests from an early age, some of which I still practice today such as piano, chess, reading, puzzles, cooking, and swimming, among others. Since I was very young, I have had a deep fascination with numbers which is one of the reasons I will pursue studies in Math and Physical Sciences.

“I love to be involved in activities outside the classroom setting and create service communities for initiatives that matter, such as being the founder of a fundraising initiative for local artists in my city back home. I consider everything I have done to be the perfect representation of my goal in society. In high school, I had the privilege to represent my school in the International Debate League of the Atlantic competing with students from various countries; I was a finalist in the Ecuadorian Math Olympics; and I was awarded ‘Chasqui de Plata’ during the National Contest of Debate and Speech organized by the Chasquis Foundation.

“I have no words to describe how highly honored I feel to have been given this opportunity and I look forward to this amazing journey as a Pearson Scholar at the University of Toronto and to being a part of the school community.”

Alisa Chichvarina

Lyceum No. 100 “Podil”

University of Toronto Mississauga, Commerce

“Hello! My name is Alisa, but friends call me Alice. Yes, like Alice in Wonderland. Except that my Wonderland, where I was born, is called Ukraine. I used to travel a lot with my family since childhood, but due to the war in my country I was evacuated to Poland and then I moved alone to Australia, where I had been taking my gap year. All these changes as well as obstacles in my way have hardened my character and gave me the opportunity to fight for my future and life by understanding in the first place one crucial thing ‘I am not a survivor – I am a warrior’. I spent my high school years participating in different national academic Olympiads and was awarded the Silver Medal for Academic Excellence. Starting from 2014 I volunteered by providing food, toysm and clothes to kids who were affected by the war in the Eastern territories of Ukraine. From March 2023 I helped as an interpreter in volunteering centers for Ukrainian refugees. My friends called me “energizer” because I managed to be a team player in sports competitions at school, a leader, a soloist of a dance group ‘Sokoliata’ where I had been training for 12 years, and an active participant of different social events.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship and hope that the University of Toronto will become my second home for the next 4 years. Thankfully to this scholarship I have now an opportunity to study a Bachelor of Commerce to become an investment banker in the future and contribute to the economic recovery of my motherland,Ukraine, and consequently, facilitating a process of the Ukrainian post-war restoration not only at the state level, but also on the international scene. Although I am only a teenager, I know for sure that I can help my country by becoming a full-fledged specialist in finance and economics fields who is ready to contribute to a better future and prosperity for Ukraine.”

Jennifer Ru Chiou

American Heritage Schools, Broward Campus
Florida, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, New College, Computer Science

“Hi! My name is Jennifer and I’m from the city of Parkland in South Florida. I love painting, poetry, gymnastics, math, and coding, and I’m excited to be studying Computer Science at U of T!

“For me, computer science is logical, creative, and empowering all at the same time. I love every aspect of software development––whether I’m laughing hysterically with new teammates during late-night hackathons, learning Flutter iOS development to create a full app prototype in four months to pitch to investors, or working with organizations like Kode With Klossy and the Association for Women in Mathematics to promote inclusion and equity in STEM. My favorite part about programming is that there is always more to learn, both inside and outside of the field of computer science. I love exploring subjects ranging from AI to web development and working with people from interdisciplinary fields to build solutions that have the potential to make boundless impacts.

“I’m also deeply passionate about fostering encouraging spaces for marginalized individuals in STEM that welcome and uplift diverse perspectives; that’s why I co-founded Compsivity, a nonprofit seeking to expand accessibility to computer science by teaching the fundamentals of code to children regardless of their socioeconomic background or ability status. I also helped organize the first annual AWM Invitational Math Competition for elementary-aged girls and gender minorities all over Broward County in order to encourage young students interested in math.

“I’m incredibly honored and grateful for the opportunity to join this community of Pearson scholars, and I look forward to meeting new people, gaining new knowledge, and making the most of new opportunities at the University of Toronto.”

Deniz Direk

Necat British College

Faculty of Arts and Science, University College, Life Sciences

“Hi! My name is Deniz and I am half Cypriot and half Turkish. I currently live in Northern Cyprus; a region within the beautiful island of Cyprus, located amidst the Mediterranean Sea with a rich and extensive history. I am extremely grateful to have been presented this opportunity and am thrilled to become a part of the U of T community.

“During high school, I took part in various Model UN and European Youth Parliament conferences which helped bring me closer to my peers within this divided nation. As such, the exchanges I experienced and the bonds I built encouraged me to be a part of the organization of the first ever Intercommunal Youth Diplomacy Conference (ICYDC). The conference, sponsored by UNFICYP, successfully connected students from all across the island. It was a significant step towards a future of unity and harmony between Cypriot youth. Having keen interest in being an active community member, I also volunteer in Zero Food Waste Cyprus – an initiative with the aim of preventing food waste through the collection of quality, left-over produce from the weekly bazaar, and its distribution to those in need.

“In academics, I discovered my passion towards molecular biology. This interest further led to my participation in numerous programmes and seminars such as the Yale Young Global Scholars programme, in which I learned more about Innovations in science and technology, as well as the Bath International Summer School.

“Additionally, I have loved dancing for as long as I can remember! I currently specialize in hip-hop as well as modern dance. During my free time, I enjoy reading and listening to music.

“I hope to spend the following 4 years in pursuit of knowledge and experience; learning from my peers and my mentors. I am deeply thankful for being selected for the prestigious Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, and will use this opportunity to work towards fulfilling my ambitions while growing as a person and becoming an admirable and reliable member of the community.”

Jana Bassem Elghobary

British International School Riyadh
Egyptian student in Saudi Arabia

University of Toronto Mississauga, Social Sciences

“Hello everyone! My name is Jana Elghobary and I am an Egyptian national living and studying in Saudi Arabia.

“The motto, ‘to expand your horizons’ is one that I carry with me throughout my life. Knowledge is infinite and abundant and thus, the journey of learning is endless. Having studied the multidisciplinary subjects of history and politics during my A-Levels, my eyes were opened to the richness and beautiful complexity of our world and I discovered within myself a desire to learn more about the intricate and varied rules and institutions that govern our day-to-day lives. This has been a constant motivator for me and what has ultimately driven my passion for political science and economics with a particular interest of these interlocking disciplines in the context of the Middle East. Through my position as Secretary General at my school’s MUN and as an avid MUN-er, I have been able to embark on this journey of greater global awareness!

“During my time at the British International School of Riyadh, I constantly sought to play an active role in my community – after years of being guided, I wanted to give back. As the Well-Being Representative of my school and a member of the Student Leadership Group, I worked to nurture an environment which encouraged emotional intelligence and prioritisation of mental health by organising both workshops and events throughout the year. One of my proudest achievements was my participation in a TEDx event where I gave a talk on the topic of perfectionism in front of my school and a group of other esteemed speakers, each with their own insights and experiences to share. I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak further on the topic on the ‘Infinite Learners’ podcast.

“I am beyond grateful to the University of Toronto and honoured to be selected as a Lester B. Pearson International Scholar for this year, and I look forward to fully immersing myself in a community of the brightest minds. Thank you for the opportunity!”

Sokheng Em

Liger Leadership Academy

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Business Administration 

“As a young Cambodian, the Khmer Rouge genocide affected my family greatly. With fewer educational opportunities to find employment due to a lack of literacy, my family faces significant economic struggles. After witnessing this difficult reality, I seek to elevate my management expertise to enhance my country’s business, economics, and education sectors to financially secure my family, community, and country.

“Studying at Liger Leadership Academy has prepared me for the upcoming challenges at the University of Toronto because I have been in a project-based learning environment where I applied my learning to real-world situations. I wish to involve myself in experiential learning to continue impacting the world around me. One of the most impactful projects I took part in was called Liger Marine Research Team, where I led a group of my peers to research and construct a marine life aggregation device to tackle the issue of marine destruction and green-lipped mussel growth in Cambodia.

“I aim to inspire positive and creative mindsets, to bring peace to a world where everyone can live to their fullest potential. Effective education can change the future of Cambodia, so I am honored to receive the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, an opportunity that will be a life changing experience for me and my country.”

Sneha Gangwani

Maheshwari Public School

University of Toronto Scarborough, Journalism

“Hi! I am Sneha Gangwani from India. You will find me in every type of activity happening around, whether it is a sport, dance, music, theatre, debate, or an environmental protection campaign. I find every type of activity interesting and so I never miss a chance to be a part of it.

“My passion for sharing relevant information with people who can be benefitted from it brings me close to Journalism. This passion also motivated me to share my knowledge with the children of construction-site laborers who couldn’t attend school due to their parents’ temporary jobs at a particular site. Teaching such children gave me the purpose of my life which is to give my part in making this world a little better each day.

“I also served as my school’s Head Girl in Grade 12 which provided me with a variety of unique opportunities. I wish to contribute similarly at U of T. I am extremely honored and grateful to be a part of Lester B Pearson Scholars cohort. I can’t wait to spend my next 4 years at an institution that will provide me with a life-changing experience.”

Dila Gulmez

Notre Dame de Sion Lisesi

University of Toronto Mississauga, Life Sciences

“Hello! I am Dila Gulmez from Istanbul, Turkey. I am thrilled and grateful to join Pearson Scholars.

“I was born in the city of Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and moved to Istanbul to attend secondary school at Notre Dame French High School. Life in Istanbul – a vast, multicultural metropolis of 15 million – was a little overwhelming at first, but it also presented me with wonderful opportunities to pursue my love of learning. I attended courses, workshops, and seminars on medicine, engineering, and sciences while enjoying the many cultural attractions this amazing city offers.

“I love learning new things, and I am passionate about math and sciences. If something piques my curiosity when I read a book or watch a documentary, I dig into it until I learn it to the tiniest detail. And, among all the sciences I have explored, nothing captivates me as much as the life sciences, which I will study at the University of Toronto Mississauga. I also enjoy drawing, sewing clothes, creating short animations, and making sculptures out of ‘trash’ people throw away – toilet paper rolls, glass bottles, old toys, and such. I believe we can all repurpose things we no longer use to express our creativity and help protect the environment.

“My decision to study life sciences and become a research scientist has as much to do with my concern for the environment as with my curiosity and fascination with life on Earth. Someday, I hope to work on projects to unravel the mysteries of organic molecules and use my knowledge to contribute to a more sustainable future.”

Amna Habiba

East Lansing High School
Pakistani student in Michigan, U.S.A.

University of Toronto Mississauga, Life Sciences

“Growing up, I saw my mom teaching and volunteering for at-risk youth, instilling a love of volunteering in me. During the pandemic, she introduced me to the world of MOOCs, which allowed me to complete 200+ learning experiences and gain various skills that I used to give back to my community. I founded BloomED Inc, a social development initiative designing safe virtual events for marginalized female youth, helping them build a better future.

“For my work, I have had the honor of being a finalist for Chegg Global Student Prize, a 2022 Global Teen Leader, an international speaker with 7 million views, and a recipient of multiple awards, scholarships, and microgrants.

“I want to pursue my interest in breast cancer research, specifically at the intersection of science and technology. The experiences at U of T will allow me to develop a greater understanding of breast cancer and I hope to continue working at this intersection to contribute to finding a cure.

“I am highly grateful to my mom for always believing in and supporting me. I want to dedicate my life to empowering women globally through education and scientific research. I am immensely honored to be awarded the Lester B Pearson scholarship and grateful to the University of Toronto for believing in my potential.”

Kabeer Lakhani

Generation’s School Karachi

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Life Sciences

“Hello! My name is Kabeer Lakhani, an A Level student from Generation’s School. Born and raised in Karachi, the most ethnically and religiously diverse city in Pakistan, I got the chance to appreciate different perspectives and get involved in community service.

“Attending international camps and exchange programs gave me a unique view of the world and also instilled in me a resolute desire to study neuroscience and understand the brain. STEM summer school further compelled my interest and gave me a broad understanding of the current research. I aim to make valuable contributions to the field of neuroscience and work toward developing cures for some of the most critical neurodegenerative disorders.

“Apart from my academic endeavors, I am also passionate about history, politics, philosophy, and rock music.

“I am incredibly grateful and honored to be a recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship and can’t wait to embark on this new journey at the University of Toronto.”

Andrés López Avelar

Centro de Desarrollo Integral Arboledas (CEDI)

Faculty of Arts and Science, Woodsworth College, Life Sciences

“Hi! My name is Andrés, I am an 18-year old Mexican student and, thanks to the University of Toronto and the Pearson Scholarship Program, a soon-to-be Neuropsychologist. I am incredibly grateful to have been selected a Pearson Scholar and I am really excited to have this amazing and unique opportunity.

“I love helping others; in the past years I have created and managed two social projects and, through them, I have helped people from different vulnerable groups in my city: people in grief, women victims of violence and abuse, immigrants, refugees, low-income families and adolescents in emotional vulnerability. At my school, I was responsible for multiple recycling and suicide prevention campaigns. I have also been a volunteer at an equinotherapy center, where I have helped and accompanied kids with disabilities for almost three years.

“It might sound impossible to change the world at a young age, but I love to think that every mind is a different world, so why not try to change it one person at a time? I am sure that the University of Toronto will help me to obtain the tools for serving others in a more professional and impactful way. I cannot wait to start this life-changing journey!”

Lianne Ohayon

Stuyvesant High School
New York, U.S.A.

Faculty of Arts & Science, Trinity College, Humanities

“Hello! My name is Lianne and I’ve lived in New York City my entire life.

“I love learning about anything and everything. From chemistry to creative writing, I am curious about the world we live in. I also strive to make a difference in my community. I founded Stuyvesant Girl Up (a chapter of the Girl Up Foundation) after years of gender equality activism, emphasizing my passion for advocacy. I expanded the scope of my activism to all of New York City and became the Co-Lead of the Girl Up NYC Coalition. I connect with youth in peer mentorship programs, write for wellness blogs and my high school newspaper (The Stuyvesant Spectator), and produce original musicals with over 200 participants.

“After shadowing physicians and research coordinators at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, I have been inspired to continue helping others by getting involved in health studies. I look forward to conducting research alongside revolutionary professors, connecting with aspiring medical students, and promoting more efficient healthcare systems.

“In my free time, I love reading, singing, acting, and strumming on the guitar.

“I am so excited to be embarking on a new chapter at the University of Toronto and am honored to be a 2023 Lester B. Pearson Scholarship recipient.”

Paris Asaad Ouma

St Andrew’s School, Turi

University of Toronto Mississauga, Social Sciences

“Hi! I am Paris Ouma, and I’m from Kenya. I’m honored to be one of this year’s Lester B. Pearson scholars, as it presents me with an opportunity to not only become a better version of myself but to stretch myself even further.

“Whenever I mentioned that I studied art, history, and math in high school, people would often comment that this was an unusual combination and go on wondering what kind of work I would be qualified for. I always replied, ‘I chose subjects that I liked.’ It was true, and it still is. When I was deciding what degree path to take, I knew it would have to include all three of my subjects because there was no way I would let them go. After all, no amount of math would give me the same sense of accomplishment as when I finish a painting, and no amount of painting would give me the same sense of relief as when I finally figured out a math problem after spending hours stuck on it. Either way, I had to see through the vision of being an investment banker who paints on the side.

“Apart from that, I enjoy mentoring younger students. Recently, I have had the privilege to mentor prep school students by encouraging them to be proud of speaking their native languages as well as foreign languages and helping raise the profile of foreign and native languages at my school. Following that, I mentored two year 11 students, guiding them through their IGCSE exams and resulting in great academic results. It’s always a joy to see the people I’ve helped prosper, and I hope to continue this at U of T and in other areas of my life.

“U of T allows me to pursue all my passions, and I am so thrilled to start this journey of exploration.”

Maneli Panahandeh

Century Private School
Iranian student in Ontario, Canada

Faculty of Arts and Science, Trinity College, Social Sciences

“Salam! My name is Maneli Panahandeh, and I am honoured to be a recipient of the prestigious scholarship from the esteemed University of Toronto. Although originally from Dubai, I have spent a portion of my life in my home country Iran, where I witnessed firsthand the struggles faced by individuals who cannot afford basic necessities. Watching children as young as five selling tissue boxes in the streets, only to have their hard-earned money taken away by avaricious individuals, made me realize the stark contrast between the world I knew and the harsh realities that many people face. It was this experience that sparked my passion for advocating for human rights and raising awareness about the injustices faced by people across the world. As Martin Luther King once said, ‘A right delayed is a right denied’, and I believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

“As I embark on this exciting new chapter of my life, I am honoured to have the opportunity to learn from the brilliant minds at the University of Toronto. I am grateful to the University of Toronto for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. As an aspiring lawyer, I hope to use my education to make a positive impact in the world and inspire others to join me in the fight for justice and equality. Together, we can work towards a brighter future for ourselves and generations to come.”

Thoai Diem Quynh Phan

Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute
Vietnamese student in Manitoba, Canada

Faculty of Arts & Science, Woodsworth College, Life Sciences

“Hi! My name is Quynh Phan, and I was born in a beautiful coastal city called Vung Tau in Vietnam. Despite growing up in a small city, the idea of studying abroad captivated me from a young age. Moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 2019 as an international student, I have had an opportunity to experience the quintessence of education: multicultural experiences intertwined with meaningful social connections. Studying abroad has also shaped my character to be an independent, open-minded person who strives wholeheartedly when presented with any opportunity.

“My passion for science has been growing, not just from school courses, but also from the awareness of protecting the ecological balance that sustains the world. Through the opportunity of working with experts, as well as students in global and local programs, I am immensely intrigued by the compelling application of science. As a pioneer in the field, I believe the University of Toronto will provide me with a foundation of knowledge and allow me to collaborate and foster innovations toward a healthier future.

“I am humbled and thrilled to be selected as a 2023 Pearson Scholar. I believe all recipients of the Pearson Scholarship are unique and inspiring people and I’m tremendously excited to build a community together and enhance our global future in the most prestigious university in Canada.”

Arnencha Pradabkaew

Triam Udom Suksa

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Business Administration

“My name is Arnencha, but in Thailand, we often use nicknames instead of official names. So you can call me Kok or Tonkok, which means papyrus in Thai. I have lived in Bangkok my entire life, except for the year I spent studying abroad in France in 2019. I like to play the violin, paint, design UI and brew drinks in my free time. I also enjoy travelling abroad solo, discovering new places, and meeting new people from all over the world.

“I have been part of Thailand’s debate circuit since 2016 as a debater, adjudicator, and coach. With the help of my community, I formed and guided debate clubs in several institutions, coaching over 50 middle and high school students and published a debate guidebook to make debate classes more accessible.

“Using my experiences to provide others with access to the same growth opportunities that I have received became one of my aspirations as I continued to do so in other areas, such as in case competitions. I founded and organized my own competitions, accommodating 1500 students nationwide, with the help of my ambitious team and knowledgeable partners. I hope to continue to fulfil my initiative tendencies and go further beyond as a student at U of T.

“Receiving the Lester B. Pearson scholarship is an incredible honour and a chance for me to initiate even more impactful projects and connect with outstanding peers. I’m excited to contribute to the growth of the university and the community in the same way that they will contribute to mine. I cannot wait to take the next big step towards my future!”

Isa Alexander Ramdath

Naparima College
Trinidad and Tobago

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering 

“Hey! My name is Isa Ramdath and it is an immense honor to be selected as a Lester B. Pearson Scholar. I hail from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago and aspire to become a Mechanical Engineer.

“From a young age, I have been fascinated with the world around me and have been particularly enamored by STEM. Learning about new technologies captivates me and my innate curiosity drives me to explore and research new scientific concepts and principles.

“It is through that pursuit that I found a passion for robotics and mechatronics. I started my journey in robotics when I became a founding member of my secondary school’s FIRST LEGO League robotics team and eventually became its Co-Captain and then Mentor. As I delved further into the rabbit hole, I undertook personal projects of increasing complexity and design, learning new skills and techniques in areas such as artificial intelligence and mechanical design and creating my own opportunities like being one of the first few hobbyist 3D printing enthusiasts in my nation. This culminated in my undertaking of a mechanical engineering internship at Qualitech Machining Services, where I learned about mechanical drafting, CNC machining, and industrial robot programming and operation.

“My local communities molded me into who I am today, and as I learned I have always sought to apply my knowledge and experience in projects that return benefit to my community. Through this ethos, my peers and I reestablished and managed the Naparima College Big Brother Peer Tutelage Program. We worked with the goal of channeling our past academic experiences and difficulties to advise and tutor our younger schoolmates to help them achieve academic success.

“With a similar mindset, I worked with the ‘Restore a Sense of I Can’ (RSC) organization to author and design a course that was used to introduce Caribbean youth to 3D Printing to get youth interested in engineering and expose them to basic STEM principles, hopefully inspiring another future generation of Caribbean Engineers.

“With Trinidad and Tobago being one of the few nations that can boast of possessing nesting sites for a variety of sea turtle species, I also sought to use my engineering and analytical capacity to help in local conservationist efforts whilst working with the Turtle Village Trust by helping design custom rehabilitation equipment and taking volunteering in coastal erosion beach profiling studies.

“It is these experiences that have led me to pursue Mechanical Engineering, I look forward to joining my peers in the class of 2027 as I hope to contribute my unique perspective to the University of Toronto community.

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to join this year’s cohort of Lester B. Pearson Scholars and am looking forward to learning and growing with my peers at the University of Toronto.”

Giulia Rocca

United World College of the Adriatic

Faculty of Arts and Science, Victoria College, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Ciao! I’m Giulia, a Milanese with an Italo-Swedish background who attended UWC Adriatic. In my TEDx talk, I challenged the notion that plants are selfish organisms and mere objects by highlighting their complex adaptable nature and ability to form intricate mutual relationships. Unfortunately, this notion has justified the exploitation of forests and unsustainable farming practices. Additionally, through co-leading a sustainable agricultural project in Maharashtra, India, funded by the “Go Make a Difference” grant and crowdfunding, I gained a deeper understanding of the value of local and indigenous knowledge in restoring ecological balance. I’m excited to attend the University of Toronto to learn more about nature’s mechanisms and gain insights into Reconciliation and indigenous knowledge systems, which are crucial to rebuild a symbiotic relationship between humankind and the natural world.

“I’m passionate about community service and have organized many initiatives and projects, including an afterschool program in Milan’s Chinatown, Peace One Day shows, and protecting endangered turtle nests on my local beach in Sicily. As the elected Student Representative at UWC Adriatic, I focused on improving communication and implementing structural change on sustainability, mental health, and nutrition. Furthermore, I enjoy climbing, sailing, and exchanging contrasting opinions.

Sophia Isabel Llana Salvador

British School Manila

Faculty of Arts & Science, Victoria College, Social Sciences

“Hi, my name is Sophia, but my friends call me Zoe! I spent most of my schooling in Colegio San Agustin Makati, and later completed the International Baccalaureate program at the British School Manila (BSM).

“I center my life around the values of compassion and empathy, and I strive to embody these qualities in all aspects of my education. One of my proudest moments includes co-founding a non-profit organization (Eunoia Philippines) which united over 70 Filipino students to serve underprivileged communities. Together, we’ve held programs such as book drives to augment libraries of several rural schools in the Philippines and fundraisers for those facing social and economic disadvantage. I’ve had the privilege of heading BSM’s Service and Sustainability department, founding the school’s first podcast club, hosting an episode with a Nobel Prize Winner (Maria Ressa), and serving as Head of Speakers for our TEDx conference. I’m also grateful to have been awarded “Outstanding Individual” for publishing international research on Gender Equality under Youth Research Vox through which I spoke at Utah Valley University’s “Why it Matters” conference.

“Apart from my academic pursuits, I love being tossed in the air by my cheer team, and I try not to break any bones practicing gymnastics. I also spend time with my dog, who has been a constant source of comfort in my life. He even witnessed the moment I found out I was selected as a Pearson Scholar!

“I want to thank my family, friends, and teachers as I embark on this journey. I aspire to highlight the potential of Filipinos, who I believe are assets to the global community, and use this extraordinary opportunity to contribute to sustainable development and social progress in the Philippines and beyond.”

Sofia Shcherbakova

Romanov School

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Business Administration 

“Hello! My name is Sofia Shcherbakova and I am from Moscow, Russia. I am incredibly grateful to be awarded the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, and I believe that studying at the University of Toronto will allow me to gain crucial knowledge and skills to contribute to the development of the world economy.

“My family’s upward socioeconomic mobility has allowed me to note the differences in citizens’ quality of life across Russia. I lived in economically developed Moscow, traveling to other regions of Russia where I met poor education, terrible environmental conditions, low salaries and pensions, and a lack of career prospects. Such inequality made me concerned with the socioeconomic factors affecting Russians’ standard of living and mentality.

“At school, I was mostly focused on studying social sciences and foreign languages. I have always been eager to learn more about the past and contribute to a better future by volunteering for different organizations. For instance, volunteering for the Sakharov Center and the International Memorial allowed me to research deeper the topics of repressions and violations of human rights under Stalin, the Gulag, and workers’ protests. By volunteering for the Committee Against Torture I contributed toward the fight for human rights in modern Russia and internationally through my involvement in Amnesty International Eastern Europe & Central Asia.

“At first, I encountered business while studying in the Business Management HL course at the IB Diploma Programme, where I built a foundation in finance, HR, marketing, and operations management, helping me in business case analytics in the classroom and beyond. Then, I applied my knowledge through my involvement in different tech startups and business programs, where I had opportunities to immerse myself in venture investments, startup development, and strategic management.

“My life motto is Nelson Mandela’s quote: ‘May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.’ My hopes for the best are my guideline in today’s turbulent realities, helping to believe in the end of cruel wars and violence, the triumph of social justice, equality, and human freedoms.”

Seemal Akhtar Sheikh

Lahore Grammar School Defence Phase I

University of Toronto Mississauga, Social Sciences

“Hey! My name is Seemal Akhtar, and I’m an A-levels student from Lahore, Pakistan. I’m interested in the intersection between public policy, gender studies, and international affairs.

“I’m passionate about gender equality and have advocated for women’s empowerment. My manifesto for anti-harassment policies in schools has been implemented throughout schools in Lahore. I also co-authored a children’s storybook to raise awareness about bodily autonomy and protection against street harassment. Through my experience of working to ensure Afghan girls gain access to educational resources, I’ve realized how the shackles of patriarchy and pseudo-religious values that curtail women’s rights are observed universally. With the Pearson community, I am determined to join hands with like-minded individuals to advocate for intersectional approaches to equality for women who cannot access their civil rights.

“I’m incredibly honored to be awarded the Lester B Pearson Scholarship, and I look forward to ranking iced hazelnut lattes across Mississauga this fall!”

Narayan Srivastava

City Montessori School Aliganj Campus 1

University of Toronto Scarborough, Social Sciences and Humanities

Namaste everyone! My name is Narayan Srivastava and I’m a former student of City Montessori School Aliganj Campus 1, where I pursued political science, history, and sociology with psychology.

“Serving as the co-founder of ‘The Bhoomi Initiative’, which is a student-led environmental and social welfare organization, I have been able to integrate awareness with direct ground-level action undertaken entirely through student fundraising and have successfully planted over 6,000 trees and impacted over 1,000 lives in four years. As a TED-Ed speaker, I used the platform to give my insights on the psychology of the human mind and manifestation in 2021. At school, I am currently serving as the Head-Boy of the Senior Student Council where I look after the welfare of over 7,000 students of my campus. I also serve as the Head of Operations at ‘Antiquity – The History Club’ where I organized ‘The Relic International’ – a cultural fiesta that hosted over 160 participants from over 22 countries.

“As the recipient of the ‘School Topper’ award in 2021, I try to combine my academics with real-life educational experiences and won the ‘Best Oralist Award’ in IMS state-level Moot Court. My passion for political science and international relations began with my Model UN journey in 2019 which truly transformed my perspective and I now use my experience to train and teach young kids entering the conferences that I’m chairing.

“While I also prepare to serve as the Secretary-General for the second edition of CMSMUN in the coming weeks, I am beyond excited to bring the diverse culture of my country to Scarborough. I’m incredibly grateful to be starting this new chapter of my life at University of Toronto as a Lester B. Pearson Scholar and I’m certain that this opportunity will help me stitch my passion with a life of purpose.”

Daria Synelnykova

United World College Costa Rica
Ukranian student in Costa Rica

Faculty of Arts and Science, Trinity College, Social Sciences

“Hi! My name is Daria and I am from Kyiv, Ukraine but I am currently finishing my second year of the International Baccalaureate program at UWC Costa Rica. I am extremely delighted and honored to be receiving the University of Toronto Pearson Scholarship.

“Throughout my high school experience in Ukraine and Costa Rica I explored my interest in international relations and politics through national and international debate tournaments, intercultural diplomacy courses in the European Union, Model UN conferences, mock trial competitions as well as peace and conflict courses. I engaged in volunteering work with diverse groups of indigenous peoples, rural communities, and migrants in Costa Rica. As a Ukrainian student abroad, I created and supported various educational resources aimed at informing the international community about the war in Ukraine and its implications for the global political system. At the University of Toronto, I aim to obtain a degree in international relations with focus on international law and human rights to later work in this field and contribute to building an efficient global framework of justice and enforceable human rights protection of the vulnerable communities.

“Apart from international relations, I am interested in acquiring a more holistic perception of human diversity which is why I am planning to continue learning anthropology, sociology and Spanish as parts of my degree. Outside of academics, I have spent years of my life pursuing various dance styles as well as playing the piano and the violin so I am always open to engaging in various artistic activities.”

Emilia Abidemi Taiwo

Deeper Life High School, Abuja

University of Toronto Mississauga, Life Sciences

“My name is Emilia Abidemi Taiwo, and I am proud to hail from Nigeria. I am grateful to God to have been selected as one of the erudite awardees of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship Programme for 2023. I am humbled by the honour, and I thank the team of assessors at the Programme who deemed me worthy of the award.

“As an avid student of the sciences, I have always been intrigued by the functions of biological entities, from single-celled bacteria and multicellular yeast to the more complex systems in humans. I am fascinated by how chemical formulations can miraculously change an individual’s health status and improve their quality of life. As someone who is passionate about helping underprivileged women and children, my goal is to become a physician of repute and care for the whole person – spirit, soul, and body – bringing renewed hope and joy to families.

“I also have a keen interest in women’s fashion and business, which some might find surprising given my scientific focus. However, I believe that my unique purpose is to serve humanity in these three areas. I am convinced that the University of Toronto is the best place for me to be wholly equipped to become the best blessing I can be to mankind.”

Natran Ambaye Tewoldemedhin

School of Tomorrow, Addis Ababa

University of Toronto Mississauga, Management

“My name is Natran Ambaye Tewoldemedhin. I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Having my own business has always been an aspiration of mine. To fulfill my childhood dream, I intend to major in management. Along with business-related topics, environmental sustainability is another area of interest for me. Since I started initiatives to recycle plastic, I am one of the well-known environmental campaigners at my school. I intend to keep up my advocacy while attending the university as well.

“I feel incredibly humbled and delighted to have received the Pearson Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship will enable me to thrive in the vibrant intellectual atmosphere of the University of Toronto. Being able to attend one of Canada’s finest universities and acquire a top-notch education is a dream come true. I want to express my gratitude to the admissions and awards committee for giving me the chance to join the Pearson Scholars community. Additionally, I want to thank my teachers, family and friends for their encouragement.”

Lillian Shang Wei Toe

Asia American International Academy

Faculty of Arts and Science, Trinity College, Humanities

“Hello! My name is Lillian Shang Wei Toe, a Taiwanese student at Asia American International Academy in New Taipei City, Taiwan. I am so thrilled and grateful to have been selected for the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship this year!

“Throughout my time in high school, I was deeply involved in the student community as a House Captain and the leader of several clubs. I founded and headed the Badminton and Decathlon Clubs. I also launched the Balloon Club which used balloon modeling to decorate school events and help fundraise for local orphanages. As editor-in-chief of my school’s literary journal, I organized an annual creative arts competition and oversaw the publication of each year’s Liontales magazine. My passion for international relations helped me become the Secretary-General of the MUN Club, where I initiated the first annual NTMUN conference. As an aspiring writer, my work has been published in the Teen Ink and 12 Point Font magazines, and I was involved in several writing competitions and programs. Outside of school, I was a volunteer at the Taoyuan Legal Aid Foundation. That and my legal internship with the Australian Multicultural Education Centre helped me develop an interest in law and legal aid work.

“In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, balloon modeling, playing badminton, biking, and K-Pop. My lifelong goals are to publish a novel and empower underrepresented voices through a career in law and creative writing. I am incredibly excited to begin my journey at the University of Toronto this year.  Thank you so much to the scholarship admissions team for this amazing opportunity!” 

Nikolai Walter Van Niekerk

Asheville School
South African in North Carolina, U.S.A.

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

“Hello, my name is Nikolai van Niekerk. I am a dual citizen of South Africa and United States of America. I was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa and grew up there before moving to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2019.

“From my time in high school, I deeply value close teacher and peer relationships; some of my most meaningful experiences are when my peers and I discuss topical issues in the arts and humanities. We are caught in a sense of camaraderie and discover far greater insights than we could have achieved alone. I experienced this most profoundly through leading my school’s philosophy club. Similar to my humanistic pursuits, I enjoy capturing a narrative or impression of a particular subject matter in my art. I gain the most fulfillment when I, the artist, step away and the artwork itself questions others to think and reflect.

“Moving from South Africa to America naturally brought an immense culture shock. The adjustment to the difference in culture taught me to further appreciate multiple perspectives, continuing to apply the values and lessons I had learnt in the Rainbow Nation. These interactions and dialogues led me to realize how valuable one’s culture and lived experiences are to one’s identity.

“I am thrilled to be enrolled in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, where I am specializing in architecture while also double majoring in history/philosophy through the Faculty of Arts and Science. I look forward to living and studying in Victoria College. I am honoured and grateful to be a Pearson Scholar through which I envision cultivating a sense of civic discourse through humanist discussions and artistic design. I am keen to meet my fellow international students and to explore the beauty of Canadian culture. Moreover, I seek to fully utilize the opportunities the Pearson Scholarship offers and to contribute to the U of T community through service leadership, drawing upon my mixed cultural heritage.

“Go U of T and go Blues!”

Erick Gabriel Vargas Gonzalez

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

University of Toronto Scarborough, Co-op Business Administration

The greatest projects must start in the simplest way’ Eugenio Garza

“Hey there! I am Gabriel Vargas, proudly Mexican, currently a student at Tecnológico de Monterrey, entrepreneur, leader, creative, but above all, passionate about impacting other people.

“Since I was little, I had multiple passions: from playing the piano to the Marimba, singing, dancing Mexican folk music, composing contemporary music, and so far, producing cinema, leadership, entrepreneurship, and social impact.

“During high school, I had the opportunity to exploit my leadership to the fullest and use my voice to make changes in my community. From having the honor of being the president of the High School Alumni Society and starting several high-impact programs for my student community, such as Tec Talks Women and Society, the Winter Dance, Trenzatón, and Participation Panel–to being in different MUNs and a “Tec Ambassador”, which are scholars that represent our school for their outstanding achievements and transmit their passion for leadership to national and international juniors.

“Entrepreneurship, another of my passions, has driven me to grow and I have had the opportunity to be in a business incubator at my high school where I founded my own film production company with social impact. Also, given the worrying situation of Covid 19, I founded my own creative agency “Vayyond”, which focuses on helping businesses resurface through digital tools such as websites, applications, YouTube, social networks, etc.

“I am very thankful to my family, my friends, my teachers, mentors, and all the people who have believed in me and have accompanied me during these 18 years; since without them I would not have achieved anything I have done so far.

“Furthermore, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a Lester B Pearson Scholar and I am very honored that the University of Toronto gives me this opportunity to grow, learn, but above all, start and allow others to start many more simple projects that end in great things.

Olive Mwea Wachira

Brookhouse School, Karen Campus

Faculty of Arts and Science, Innis College, Life Sciences

“Hi everyone! My name is Olive and I am from Nairobi, Kenya. Growing up here, surrounded by such rich heritage and diversity, has taught me to be an adventurous soul both in academics and in life in general. One of my proudest moments was when I stood at the peak of Mount Kenya after nearly giving up several times. Yet, despite the struggle, the journey was fulfilling in the end.

“I think it’s safe to say that I’ve always been interested in the STEM subjects. Science was my favourite subject in primary and I saw highschool as my opportunity to branch out by participating in various maths and science competitions which further catalysed my passion; a highlight being when I led my team to victory in my school’s annual Expo where we created a carbon footprint calculator.

“My hobbies include reading, swimming and crocheting to name a few, and I am also passionate about giving back to my community. With my degree in Biology from U of T, I hope to help improve the health sector in my country. I am excited and grateful to begin my adventure at the University of Toronto!”

Yik Hin Duncan Wan

Chinese International School
Hong Kong

Faculty of Arts and Science, Trinity College, Rotman Commerce

“Hi everyone! My name is Duncan, and I’m from Hong Kong. I am beyond honored and grateful to be selected as a Lester B Pearson Scholar.

“From collecting old newspapers in exchange for money to selling rainbow loom bracelets at 9 years old, my interest in entrepreneurship and business began. Combining this with my passion for strengthening communal ties, I realized a business career would fulfill my diverse interests. At U of T, I aim to further my understanding of ESG and business to prepare myself for the future where I hope to become a leader in the intersection of social impact and business in order to promote community-based business practices.

“As much as I’ll miss my beloved city of Hong Kong, I am excited to embark on the next chapter of my life in such a multicultural and international city where I’m sure my passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion will only be furthered. I look forward to immersing myself in the diverse student body and the local Toronto community to expose myself to new experiences and further discover myself.

“Outside of school, you’ll find me hiking around Hong Kong and catching sunsets, attempting to improve my amateur cooking skills, or indulging in a nice long nap.

“I can’t wait to collaborate with like-minded individuals and learn about their perspectives and experiences growing up all across the globe!”

Violet Clare Wilson

Joseph A. Foran High School
Connecticut, U.S.A.

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

“Hello! My name is Violet Clare Wilson. I come from Milford, Connecticut in the United States.

“My fascination with the law is only surpassed by my interest in mathematics. Besides dance and D&D, I enjoy listening to US Supreme Court oral arguments. Observing injustice in criminal procedure, I was inspired by my studies to research the intersection of science and the law. This sparked my passion to improve scientific literacy in the courtroom and to apply statistical and scientific principles to create accountability in the legal system.

“I discovered my love of STEM in high school, when I jumped at the chance to be a part of my city’s first robotics team. My time on FRC team 8085 has been invaluable, and I was honored to become its technician and co-captain. Our team had the incredible opportunity this year to go to the World Championship, where we won our division and advanced to the Einstein finals. My interest in coding led me to win the Congressional App Challenge alongside my project-partner. In my free time, I volunteer for ENGin, a peer-to-peer ESL program for Ukrainians, and participate in Model UN.

“It’s been a dream of mine for years to study at the University of Toronto, so I am incredibly humbled to be one of the recipients of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship. I plan to study mathematical and physical sciences before continuing on to law school. The more I learn, the more I feel I’ve only just dipped my toes in — there’s an ocean out there I’m excited to explore.”